A local group advocating for people to support the TECT proposal says it would be like the city ‘winning Lotto' every month.
TECTyes has taken out several full-page ads in local newspapers encouraging consumers to make a submission in favour of the proposal by TECT trustees to turn the trust into a solely-charitable venture.
TECTyes spokesperson Michelle Whitmore, who has served on a number of charitable boards, says the group is made up of ‘community-minded' people who wanted to respond to the chorus of ‘noes' directed at the proposal.
“We decided we needed to have a voice and present both sides as respectively as we can. We know there are different views, and we want to enable a respectful conversation about it. If someone doesn't have the same view as you, that's okay.”
That being said, she says they obviously want the ‘yes' vote to win.
“We think it's a good deal for consumers today, and a great way to protect the assets for the good of the community for the future.
“Obviously the TECT trustees have done a lot of research – I can't imagine any of them doing this lightly. They have to be accountable for the proposal. They're an intelligent group of people, and we voted them in, so obviously there's a lot of people who believe in them.”
She says anyone on a charity board knows how hard it is to get funding, and sees this as a great opportunity to grow Tauranga.
“If we can put away that amount of cash for our future, it's essentially $2 million a month – it's like winning Lotto every month as a city. It's mind-blowing the opportunity when you break it down like that.”
The ads, which have been produced in-house by Michelle's company Metro Marketing, have raised some questions in the community in regards to who is paying for the campaign. But Michelle dismisses claims they might be backed by Trustpower's competitors.
“We're not funded by TECT or anyone else. It's just a group of us pooling our collective resources.”
Another advocacy group has also been active on Facebook opposing the TECT proposal. The ‘Protect The Cheque' page has more than 3800 likes and regularly posts updates encouraging people to vote ‘no'.
SunLive contacted the page to find out more, and was told it was started by ‘a few' people who ‘thought the TECT proposal seemed like a bribe with so little information it just didn't make any sense'.
Former Tauranga city councillor Murray Guy, who was an early supporter of the ‘Protect The Cheque' movement, says he's been surprised to find out who is opposed to the proposal, and thinks many of them would prefer to remain out of the spotlight because of personal or professional relationships with TECT trustees.
“Some of the people who have expressed abhorrence at the TECT proposal are those I would associate with the ‘movers and shakers' of the city. So I surmise they would prefer to remain anonymous, because it's a small town.”
He also says TECT Bill Holland came to see him the day the news of the proposal broke.
“The trustees may have identified people a little more outspoken than others to bring them up to speed. I guess they might have hoped I would share their view of life, which I certainly reject.”
Submissions on the TECT proposal closed on Thursday at 4pm.
Consumers who have requested to speak to their submissions will be heard from next week. The dates for the hearings are:
Wednesday, March 7, 3-8pm
Thursday, March 8, 9.30am-1.30pm
Friday, March 9, 9am-5pm
Monday, March 12, 10am-4pm
More sessions may be required depending on final numbers of those wishing to speak. These times will also be advertised if required.
All hearings will be held at the Village Theatre, Historic Village, 17th Ave, Tauranga. Any consumer can attend the hearing, but only those who have requested an opportunity to speak will be allocated times.