Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get relating to the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust
Who is Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust?

Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust is the organisation that owns the shares in Unison on behalf of the power consumers of Hawke’s Bay. Community or consumer ownership of local electricity network companies is common throughout New Zealand.

What is Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust?

It is a consumer trust, set up to own the shares in Unison on behalf of Hawke’s Bay power consumers, and to represent their interests. The HBPCT trust deed outlines how the trust will operate, what the duties of the trustees are, and other administrative matters relating to the operation of the trust.

Who are the trustees?

Trustees are elected for a three year term by power consumers, and their duties and responsibilities are outlined in the trust deed. The trust deed permits five trustees, and they currently are: Diana Kirton (Chair), Barbara Arnott, Jeff Farnworth, David Pearson and Kirsten Westwood.

How is the Chair of the trust elected?

Trustees, once elected, then decide who will be the chair of the trust. HBPCT Chairs are elected for a period of 12 months.

Who gets to vote in the Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust election?

Power consumers, with one vote per power account (or ICP).

How do I register as a candidate for the next election?

The elections are run by the Electoral Commission via an independent process. There will be information made available by the returning officer closer to this year’s election (October 2024) that informs intending candidates about the process. Schedule 1 of the HBPCT Trust Deed outlines the process for elections.

How can I be eligible to vote in the next Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust election?

You must be a power account holder, connected to Unison’s network in Hawke’s Bay.

I’m not a power consumer – does that mean I can’t vote in the election?

Only Hawke’s Bay power consumers can vote, so if the account is not in your name, you will not be able to participate in the election.

When is the next election?

October 2024.

How can I learn about the candidates in the next election?

The returning officer will publish information about who the candidates are, and candidates may also run their own campaign for votes.

Are there rules around how long trustees can hold office for?

Trustees can hold office for three consecutive terms – that’s nine years. Then they must stand down. They may stand as a candidate again, and if elected can serve another nine years.

Who does the Trust and Trustees represent?

The Trust and Trustees represent the power consumers of Hawke’s Bay. Collectively they oversee the Trust’s shareholding in Unison, for the benefit of power consumers.

How long is the trust established for – does it have an expiry date?

The Trust was established in 1992, and has an expiry date of 1 July 2072.

How does the Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust benefit power consumers?

The Trust and Trustees represent the interests of power consumers as both shareholders in Unison and as power account holders. Trust ownership (of Unison) ensures the long-term focus of the Company remains on delivering economic benefits to its power consumer customers and community shareholders. Because Unison is community owned, by power consumers, anything that benefits shareholders, also benefits the community. Trustees believe that if Unison wasn’t community owned that the needs of shareholders would be prioritised ahead of community outcomes. Trustees are in a sense, watchdogs. Overseeing Unison and its performance on behalf of power consumers. Unison and its Directors are answerable to HBPCT as the owner of the company.

Key tasks of the Trust are to:
  • Act in the best interests of power consumers
  • Exercise its rights as shareholder of Unison on behalf of power consumers
  • Appoint Unison’s Board of Directors.
  • Monitor the performance of Unison and its board.
  • Approve Unison’s annual business and financial goals (Statement of Corporate Intent).
  • Determine annually the amount of Trust funds to be paid to power consumers (as a dividend or in other ways.)
  • Manage the financial affairs of the Trust.
  • Report to the public each year (via public meeting) on the operations and financial performance of the Trust.
  • Periodically review Unison’s ownership structure.
What value does the Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust ownership structure add?

The key value is to ensure that the interests of power consumers are represented, and prioritised.

Trust ownership also:
  • Allows Unison to focus on operating excellence initiatives rather than primarily shareholder returns;
  • Supports the investment in long-term assets for the benefit of current and future generations (including investments for network growth and investments for improved resilience and reliability);
  • Has direct financial benefits that flow to power consumers.
  • Provides Unison with a consistent strategic majority shareholder.
What is the coverage area for the Trust

Essentially the same as Hastings District Council and Napier City Council catchments.

Where can I find out more about how the trust operates?

You can read the Hawke’s Bay Power Consumers Trust Deed – click here

As a shareholder in Unison (via the Trust) do I get a dividend?

Yes. Providing Unison declares a dividend, and you are a power consumer at the time the dividend roll is struck.

How do I find out more about the dividend process?

Check out our dividend information page.