16 Oct, 2016
Members triumphant at
Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust
Years of pent up member frustration surfaced at this year's PNBST Annual General Meeting, turning a normally restrained hui into a five-hour marathon.
More than 200 members from Taranaki, Whanganui, Hutt Valley, Wellington, the Kapiti Coast and Te Tau Ihu, turned out for the hui at Pipitea Marae in Wellington, on Saturday 15 October.
From the outset, there was clear grievance and anger from members surrounding the Trustees' actions, management, lack of trust, poor communication, the (stated) 23 breaches of the Trust Deed, failure to maintain an adequate members' register, unacceptable delays in approving registrations, the proposed sale of Shelly Bay and the previous sale of Waiwhetū School.
As emotions boiled, a concerned member posed an important question to all attendees, asking them to "please stand if they disagreed with the proposal to sell (in what ever way) Shelly Bay without the approval of the members".
Without hesitation, an overwhelming number of members were standing to attention - a clear indication they were opposed to the current Shelly Bay proposal.
As Shelly Bay discussions continued, another member sought a formal resolution that the commercial arm of the Trust (Taranaki Whanui Ltd) and its directors, be dissolved (meaning all negotiations regarding Shelly Bay would cease). However, trustee Sam Kahui, stated that it was the role of the commercial board to present their options to the Trust, and it was the job of the Trust to decide what actions (if any) should be taken. This resolution failed.
With clear determination, members continued to fight back on the Shelly Bay argument with another member moving a formal motion, proposing:
- All Shelly Bay negotiations and discussions to cease, until further notice.
- The Trust shall discuss all Shelly Bay options with its members first, allowing members to determine the future of Shelly Bay.
The Trust Chairman put the motion to the floor for voting, which resulted in an astounding majority vote "in favour".
As the motion was passed and carried, the room suddenly filled with triumphant cheers, followed by congratulations and a sigh of relief from many members.
In accordance to this ruling, the Trust must now cease all negotiations and consult with its members, seeking their input and opinion on the future of Shelly Bay.
Finance & Operations
Grievances continued throughout the day, with various members highlighting several discrepancies relating to the Financials and Operational Management of the Trust.
Another motion was formally moved that:
- There be an independent audit review of the Trust's operations, from 2009 to the present
This motion was put to the floor, passed and carried.
Taranaki Whanui Ltd
Mr Toa Pomare, Chairman of the commercial board (Taranaki Whanui Ltd) delivered a verbal version of his written report.
However, Mr Pomare's closing summary was met with outrage from members as he inappropriately made accusations of fraudulent activities, directed at certain individuals. Several members then leapt to their feet, shouting in protest and demanding "point of order".
As Mr Pomare clearly ignored their requests, the members then turned their backs to the Chairman in protest, demonstrating their disgust.
When Mr Pomare sought members' approval to accept his report, there was significant protest once again. Members then requested that his inappropriate comments be excluded from the record.
Mr Jason Fox, CEO of Taranaki Whanui Ltd delivered his verbal report, with members expressing skepticism with some of the proposed projects. At the conclusion of his report, a concerned member beckoned everyone's attention to the last paragraph of the CEO's written report (page 15). This paragraph referred to only six (out of the eleven) trustees whom Mr Fox felt privileged to serve, under their leadership.
When questioned why he omitted the other five trustees from this paragraph, Mr Fox stated there was both an 'A and B' Team of trustees. Further explaining the A Team comprised of the leaders, whilst the B Team comprised of a minority of objectors. This statement caused further frustration and concern from members, highlighting there was an obvious division between trustees which may explain the nature of the Trust's recent actions.
Trustee Mr Kura Moeahu, was quick to intervene, stating the trustees are one team and disputes any innuendo made by Mr Fox, that the trustees were divided.
Voice's echoed in the auditorium with a sense of relief, as members realised they had finally reclaimed ownership of their Trust and successfully laid down clear expectations, to both the trustees and commercial board.
At the closing of the AGM, there was an air of confidence and triumph.
It was clear the members would continue to support the Trust in its development and look forward to a better future, with the appointment of newly elected trustees.
Please click the link below to download the full PNBST Annual Report.
Annual Report 2016
As there are many issues still yet to be resolved, we shall continue to liaise with the new PNBST Board of Trustees on behalf of our members. We will report back to you in due course.
Taranaki Whānui E Tū
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Copyright 2016. Taranaki Whānui E Tū