Tue, Mar 19, 2024 4:00 PM

In the spotlight: MEPT Elections


William Woodworth

The Marlborough Electric Power Trust elections are underway. Here, the eight candidates explain how they will make a positive change if elected.

Vote until the 25th of March at Marlborough Electric Power Trust (mept.co.nz)


Belinda Jackson

The MEPT holds 100% of Marlborough Lines shares on behalf of the beneficiaries - the people of Marlborough - and its role is to act in their best interests.

Together with my colleagues, Simon and Brendon, I will bring transparency and accountability to ensure every decision is in the best interests of the community, both as a power supplier and as a community-owned investment.

We will prioritise wise allocation of investment capital and paying down debt to restore business profitability. We will not over promise and underdeliver, as has happened in the past.


Brendon Burns

Current trustees approved/support the Yealands investment with the failed promise of a month’s free power, so important to battlers in our community.  Yealands ongoing $90m debt makes life difficult for us all.

That includes Marlborough Lines where it puts pressure on its ability to fund upgrades, keep lines charges down and develop solar and wind options.  At best, some current trustees may have sought change but didn’t have the numbers to represent our interests as owners and ensure directors comply.  

That’s why you need to vote for all three of us– Brendon Burns, Belinda Jackson and Simon Bishell.


Brian Nicholas

Vote Brian Nicholas for reasoned, transparent, informed decision making.

Electricity is critical to everyday life as we know it. A reliable, resilient electricity network providing cost effective energy to as much of our region as practicable is vital to our continued quality of life, and regional growth.

I support innovative alternate clean energy options. MLL’s move into green energy generation will help provide reliable, resilient, cost-effective electricity supply to Marlborough.

I support the Yealands investment to provide for long term consumer rebates. Investment decisions require strong information, cool heads, and impartiality. Careful governance will soon see this investment paying off.


Cathie Bell

I moved to Marlborough 12 years ago, and I’ve immersed myself in the community and worked hard  to contribute in tangible ways. I bring that community focus and a strong voice to the Marlborough Electric Power Trust.

A reliable, safe electricity system is vital, and I’m helping make sure that Marlborough Lines is meeting current needs of our community and ready for the future needs through new generation, maintaining lines, and renewables.

The company is in a good position to meet demand, and can afford to build the revenue-generating assets that will see us into the future. Re-elect Cathie Bell.


David Dew

I am standing for the Power Trust to create change.

I spent many years as Chair of Marlborough Lines so have a complete understanding of the Company.

I am a Lawyer by occupation and well qualified on administering Trusts and the role of a Trustee.

The main change I would seek to bring about is an emphasis on recruiting young Marlburians for both training and appointment to the Board. We owe it to our future leaders to find them and back them.

Marlborough Lines needs to improve its investment outcomes also once again by backing the right people with skills.


Nicki Stretch

I’ll continue to ensure Marlborough Lines is successful, helps our community and benefits our consumers.

  1. Last year Marlborough Lines gave $11.4 million in discounts and dividends to consumers.
  2. Local community received over $400,000 in sponsorship and scholarships.
  3. The value of our shares has doubled in 9 years, reaching $516.7 million.
  4. The network is safe and reliable, supporting our region’s growth.
  5. New investments in renewable energy support a greener future and good returns.

As a current trustee, I represent your interests.  I’ll keep working to keep things affordable and ensuring Marlborough Lines is a company we can all be proud of.


Philip Taylor

My reasons for standing are as follows:

1. To ensure the continuation of the current discount scheme which is credited to customers accounts each year.

2. To make sure that Marlborough Lines remains 100% owned by the Trust for the benefit of consumers.

3. To encourage the Trust and Marlborough Lines to pursue alternative energy sources such as solar energy, wind power and to install more electric vehicle charging stations.

4. To continually upgrade our transmission lines using latest technology which will improve supply and reliability of our network.

Please vote for me Philip Taylor, your independent candidate.


Simon Bishell

I am standing for MEPT due to concerns about financial pressures being placed on Marlborough Lines, resulting from the chronic underperformance of its investment in Yealands Wine Group.

When Yealands was bought, unrealistic promises were made to consumers regarding profits. Not only are you missing out on meaningful distributions off your power bill, a lack of cashflow back to Marlborough Lines means it now must fund some network maintenance with bank debt, to keep your lights on.

Along with Brendon Burns and Belinda Jackson, I will fight for consumers to ensure Marlborough Lines Directors have beneficiaries’ interests first and foremost.

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