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Key roles for our community

Opinion Piece
by editor Jeremy Muir
Jeremy Muir

Do you think you or someone you know has the governance skills and experience to help steer this region's community wealth and wellbeing?

Two of the district's most important boards — Trust Tairawhiti and Gisborne Holdings Ltd — have vacancies they and the council are seeking to fill, with applications closing on Monday afternoon. See the advertisements on pages 22 and 23 of today's paper.

Councillors are responsible for appointments to both the trust and GHL, and will be hoping to have a slate of high-quality candidates to choose from. In this new world of Covid-19 response and recovery, it is more important than ever that we have wise heads, diversity of thinking and clear leadership from these boards. So if you have the right attributes and are considering an application, go ahead and do it.

At last count Trust Tairawhiti has total assets of $666 million and equity of $333m — dominated by its ownership of key regional infrastructure, energy and logistics business Eastland Group Ltd.

EGL has its own board to oversee its operations but also reports to — and is accountable to — its shareholder. Trust Tairawhiti (formerly Eastland Community Trust) has plenty else to focus on as well, deciding on community distributions of $10m a year — and saying last year it will distribute up to $100m over five years — and having incorporated the region's economic development, tourism and city centre (formerly Heart of Gisborne) agencies in recent years.

Renamed, rebranded and on a drive to lift community wellbeing, it is the sleeping giant of the Tairawhiti. It has two trustees retiring, one of whom is seeking re-election.

(A request this morning to confirm who these trustees are was not answered, but your editor understands Te Rau Kupenga is retiring, and the trustee seeking re-election is Dr Jillian Chrisp.)

GHL is the council's trading arm and at last count it had total assets of $123m and equity of $99m — dominated by Tauwhareparae Farms Ltd. It also owns and operates the Waikanae Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, Gisborne Vehicle Testing and commercial property that includes the council offices; and it manages some other council assets, including its community housing, forestry and airport lease.

Long-time director Peter Reeves is retiring, having served more than the maximum allowed under council policy adopted in 2018. Ming Lim-Pollard is retiring by rotation and seeking re-election.