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Thursday, July 13, 2017
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THREE members of the recently formed
TLC Action Group have declared their in-
terest to become Waitomo Energy Services
Customer Trust (WESCT) trustees.
The trust has six members and holds all
the shares in The Lines Company Ltd (TLC)
on behalf of the owners, being the customers,
as defined in the trust deed.
Three of the six trustees are elected by the
customers, who then have the right to appoint
a fourth while the other two are appointed by
Nominations for the customer-elected
trustees were advertised last week and three
TLC Action Group members have thrown
their hats in the ring.
They are Erin Gray of Piopio, William
Oliver (Rangitoto) and Nigel Chetty (Otoro-
The action group was formed in March
after Mrs Gray organised public meetings
for TLC customers to discuss impending
The group aims to advocate on behalf of
TLC customers and Mrs Gray says the trust
is the perfect platform to do so.
“It’s crazy to me that they [WESCT] are
dealing with millions and millions of dol-
lars and we don’t even know who they are,”
“But yet they make the decisions for us on
what our lines bill is going to be.
“We know who the Prime Minister of New
Zealand is and that his party helps to govern
what the policies are going to be – well this
is exactly the same thing.
“We all want to know that when we turn
on our switch who is going to help us to
make sure that what we use we are actually
able to afford it.
“And when you peel it all back, it comes
right from the top.
“ The Lines Company can’t make any
changes until the trust makes them make
Mrs Gray stresses the importance for the
community to vote and that the three nomi-
nees are committed to make a difference for
all TLC customers.
“I’d like to see a board that is a better reflec-
tion of what our community is made up of in
terms of our demographics and ethnicity,”
“I’d also like to make lines charges af-
fordable for everybody because power is the
number one utility for every household.
“So it’s about educating the customers
about how we can decrease the demand on
the network overall, and establishing a better
communication stream between the consum-
ers and The Lines Company.”
Mrs Gray say her ultimate goal would be to
find a “happy medium” between the company
registering a profit and every customer being
able to pay their bill.
WESCT chairman Ivan Haines says the
main purpose of the trust is to look after the
region’s shareholding in The Lines Company
and to ensure the company is profitable.
“We have a reasonable amount of influ-
ence – we discuss the statement of corporate
intent which is on the table at the moment as
to what we’re doing going forward,” he says.
“ The company [TLC] is run by a separate
board and all we do for that company is ap-
point the directors and comment on their
corporate intent to see how it’s going.
“We’ve been pretty active over the years
to develop the company to where it is by
purchasing all the shares so the company
is now wholly owned by the trust. So we’ve
created a huge asset for them and delivered
many millions of dollars in returns back to
The election process is carried out every
three years. Current trustees are Murray
Loewenthal, Mark Ammon and Peter Kidd
(elected), Lorraine Hurley, Kevin Tregoweth
and Mr Haines (appointed).
Nominations close at midday on August 4.
If more than three valid nominations are
received, a postal election will be held.
Action group members
throw hats in the ring
By Todd Ward
OTOROHANGA Police Sergeant Andy Con-
nors has applauded the launch of a new mental
health service making it easier for people to get
help in their time of need.
The Government’s Early Mental Health Re-
sponse service has been set up to allow 111 op-
erators to transfer calls to trained mental health
nurses where appropriate while a new four-digit
phone number – Need to talk? 1737 – links callers
to mental health support and advice.
The new services are designed to reduce the
pressure on the country’s 111 emergency system
by avoiding unnecessary police dispatches and
ensuring police resources are focused where they
are most needed.
“It’s great to be able to give people options
because at the moment when people are suffering
from mental health issues they usually end up in
crisis and once they get there their first port of
call is the police,” says Mr Connors.
“So to have an alternative number to call before
it reaches a crisis point is tremendous.”
90 CALLS DAILY
Every 24 hours police staff respond to 90 calls
involving a person having a mental health crisis,
including suicide attempts.
Nationwide this takes up an average of 274
hours of police staff time every day.
Although they can be time consuming, Mr
Connors says callouts to assist people suffering
from mental health issues and/or contemplating
suicide are treated with the utmost care.
“People that get down on themselves through
their mental health issues or illnesses can get
themselves into a pretty dark place and we are
here to help those people,” he says.
“But for us in a rural region our nearest support
agencies are either local doctors or authorised of-
ficers from the Henry Bennett Centre [Hamilton]
who come down to assist.
“We’re often looking at an hour’s worth of travel
for them to reach our location so we can spend a
lot of time in those sorts of situations which can
be very time consuming but it is often a necessity.
“ That’s where this new service will become
extremely useful but if a situation escalates police
are always there to help.”
Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says
the new four-digit number provides quick and
easy access to the existing National Telehealth
Services provided through the alcohol and drug,
depression and gambling helplines.
“We know that about 47% of New Zealanders
will experience a mental health issue during their
lifetime – and one in five will meet the criteria
for a mental health diagnosis in any given year,”
“ To help address this, the phased implementa-
tion of the Early Mental Health Response service
“Once it is fully implemented across the coun-
try the service will give police and ambulance
staff the option to transfer 111 callers who need
non-urgent social or psychological support to a
24/7 mental health nursing team for assistance.
“Budget 2016 invested $12 million over four
years into the initiative which is currently operat-
ing with police north of Waikato and will be fully
implemented by the end of 2017.”
Help now at
hand in crisis
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