Huge investment for non-renewable lease

LETTER

Re: Eastland Group powers to profit of $20.1m, July 2 story.

More good news from Eastland Group — a glowing end-of-year financial report and not a negative word.

Not so much from the electricity sector this year. Much more about the triumph of TOAM (Te Ahi o Maui), the geothermal investment in Kawerau.

From owner Eastland Community Trust’s annual financial statements (page f-23), as at 31 March 2019, $149 million was spent by us (ECT/Eastland Group is community owned) on establishment costs.

This investment will be open for discussion by us beneficiaries (anyone with a power bill) at the AGM tomorrow night at the Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club. All councillors should be there as they appoint the trustees, with the exception of the Mayor. The Mayor is a full member, and his replacement will be appointed by the community in the coming October election.

I hope one of the councillors will ask this question: “When does the lease of the Ahi o Maui site end?” This important fact is not touched on in the otherwise fulsome newspaper report.

The ECT financial notes, however (page F23), say the commencement date of the plant “was determined by the directors of the Eastland Group” as 1 November 2018. Careful attribution there.

Did the auditor check the actual commencement date as per the lease document? I am guessing the auditor did not because otherwise they would have relied on the document, not this note about the directors’ decision.

The point is that a lease of Maori land cannot exceed 60 years and more importantly such a lease cannot be renewed. This will be why, presumably, the notes also say “site restoration costs of an estimated $4.5 million have been included in the value of the plant”.

Site restoration costs! Who, I ask, would spend $149 million on a non-renewable lease? Could this be another reason for the departure of the four Eastland Group directors in May?

Winston moreton

Re: Eastland Group powers to profit of $20.1m, July 2 story.

More good news from Eastland Group — a glowing end-of-year financial report and not a negative word.

Not so much from the electricity sector this year. Much more about the triumph of TOAM (Te Ahi o Maui), the geothermal investment in Kawerau.

From owner Eastland Community Trust’s annual financial statements (page f-23), as at 31 March 2019, $149 million was spent by us (ECT/Eastland Group is community owned) on establishment costs.

This investment will be open for discussion by us beneficiaries (anyone with a power bill) at the AGM tomorrow night at the Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club. All councillors should be there as they appoint the trustees, with the exception of the Mayor. The Mayor is a full member, and his replacement will be appointed by the community in the coming October election.

I hope one of the councillors will ask this question: “When does the lease of the Ahi o Maui site end?” This important fact is not touched on in the otherwise fulsome newspaper report.

The ECT financial notes, however (page F23), say the commencement date of the plant “was determined by the directors of the Eastland Group” as 1 November 2018. Careful attribution there.

Did the auditor check the actual commencement date as per the lease document? I am guessing the auditor did not because otherwise they would have relied on the document, not this note about the directors’ decision.

The point is that a lease of Maori land cannot exceed 60 years and more importantly such a lease cannot be renewed. This will be why, presumably, the notes also say “site restoration costs of an estimated $4.5 million have been included in the value of the plant”.

Site restoration costs! Who, I ask, would spend $149 million on a non-renewable lease? Could this be another reason for the departure of the four Eastland Group directors in May?

Winston moreton

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Propaganda Rules! - 4 months ago
You're on fire Mr Moreton, well done.

Lara Meyer - 4 months ago
Thanks Winston.
Dodgy dealings or are they merely stupid?
Keep shining the spotlight.

Winston Moreton - 4 months ago
The editor's response to my letter (TGH 5 July) is encouraging in so far as it provides an opportunity for me to write again and attempt to show up what I think is the scandalous export of our electricity trust money, in million dollar blocks, to more affluent parts of NZ. My latest effort has been directed at the new geothermal project called TAOM in Kawerau. The editor informs me, in a tail piece to my letter, that "the lease was amended to commence in 2015". He says this despite the fact I gave him the Maori Land Court Title Memorial Schedule online link. I attach it again. A click on the link shows the following, "Term 40 years from 17 August 2010".
http://www.maorilandonline.govt.nz/gis/title/34404.htm?feedback_URL=https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/operations-service-delivery/mlc-customer-survey

Finally, the Eastland Group chairman has apparently suggested the Maori landowners "might" grant a new lease when the current lease expires. How likely is this when $4.5 million has already been set aside to make the land good at lease end?


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