In 2009 I naively stood as an independent in the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election. I thought the election would be about electing the best possible candidates to be Trustees. I presumed there would be media coverage of the election issues, discussion of candidate policies and a fair chance of success if my skills and experience stacked up against what the other candidates had to offer.
Unfortunately (or fortunately- because if I had known I would never have bothered) I had absolutely no idea that there was no chance that I would be elected because everything was stacked against me. I wrote about my experience here.
The incumbent C&R trustees had a very simple strategy:
- pay the dividend of $320 just before election day
- send out a letter to a database of 50,000 and put up hoardings claiming credit for the dividend payment
Then sit back and rely on no media coverage of the election and low voter turnout (less than 17% in 2009) to return them once again to a role that pays between $63,000 and $90,000 in fees. So of course they have taken exactly the same strategy for the 2012 election.
However things aren’t quite working out as planned – the dodgy practices of the AECT election are finally being exposed. Matt McCarten summed it up today here in the Herald on Sunday.
I’m supporting the YOUR POWER TEAM candidates. They have a range of well thought through policies that includes paying the dividend. They will bring long overdue fresh thinking to the role of trustees.
I want to see change at the AECT. I don’t think it is healthy for democracy for the incumbents to go unchallenged any longer.