TECT: The Goliath Factor


One of the facts often overlooked when the phrase “David v. Goliath” is applied to battles is that, big and powerful as he was, Goliath didn’t win.   In fact Goliath met a particularly ignominious and sad end – he really did bite the dust.

                          Kua takoto te manuka             The leaves of the manuka tree have been laid down

I go to Wikipeda to confirm exactly what Goliath was trying to achieve – I remember most of it from childhood references.  And it was certainly an outcome of unexpected success I always kept in mind during my own working years.  

In a nutshell Goliath the Philistine was wanting to settle a dispute /battle/land acquisition by single combat. It sounds quite an enlightened approach to warfare – the leaders slugging it out in hand to hand combat. However, considering Goliath’s gigantic size and apparent possession of greater physical abilities and weaponry Saul the challenged political leader was reluctant to participate in the event.    

It doesn’t say why David (Elhanan son of Jair) was considered a suitable candidate for the role of defender/single combatant. He may have been volunteered or he may have felt in the face of looming disaster for the people it was worth a try.   The Disney-like outcome for those without Wikipedia or a Bible was of course – David (Elhanan son of Jair) 1. Goliath the large and well resourced Philistine 0.  

Overtime we’ve all forgotten it wasn’t David whose bravery and aim knocked off Goliath, it was Elhanan son of Jair. That apparently didn’t fit the required political narrative so some newsworthy changes were made and Elhanan son of Jair was pushed off the front page of the Book of Samuel.

And overtime “David v. Goliath” has come to mean a small and ignominious opponent, usually a private citizen, battling some greater and far better resourced entity – a corporate, government or territorial authority.  

Both these issues, relative size and political narrative are embodied in the contemporary efforts of the current trustees of The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust and it’s sport The TECT Charitable Trust.

One of the things I do now when confronted by a new name is check it out online.   That seems so much more acceptable than the days when a fellow rural area resident told me the entity I had been asked to advocate their concerns to was trawling through the district trying to find negative information about me.     But it’s in checking the published professional biographies of the respective Queen’s Counsel in this matter that I decide I’ll stay with the outcome of Elhanan son of Jair v. Goliath.

Justin Smith QC of Stout Street Chambers, Wellington has a Goliath-like list of instruction and appearances. A Canterbury University graduate of prosecutorial beginnings to governmental and international corporate representation.  

Jane Anderson QC of Shortland Chambers, Auckland has a much shorter list. Whether that’s because it’s actually shorter, stylistically crisper, she’s professionally younger or she’s more modest can be canvassed by those of you with more time and interest.     I learn Jane, also a Canterbury University graduate, used to run and has two teenage chiidren.

In view of the outcome of Elhanan son of Jair v. Goliath I’m not at all phased by the respective published professional credentials records.

The writers of the amended narratives of the Books of Samuel and Deuteronomy would have been impressed by the image transition of The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust. The Trust has visually transformed from a trust primarily for the benefit of the consumer beneficiaries into TECT a trust primarily for “the community”.   The website and Facebook promote the charitable.   If you looked at the website and the Facebook page you would believe it’s all about community. Our own narrative transition from Elhanan son of Jair to David.

As this Saturday morning’s light comes over today’s very cold Kaimai hills one of my concerns is that there is only one legal representative to challenge the Trustees’ proposal. The Counsel to Assist is a legal checker for the Court. She does not represent “the beneficiaries” either individually or as a group. In fact one counsel couldn’t represent “the beneficiaries” as there are different groups of beneficiary with competing and conflicting interests.   One lot who will be disadvantaged by the proposed restructuring and one lot who will be enriched.    Consumers (beneficiaries) along with the Attorney General are expected to represent themselves.

The Court documents have been filed – they’re on the website for you to read.   You can interpret the legalese.     There has never been any independent legal advice or explanation of the legal ramifications of the proposed restructuring provided to the beneficiaries of the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust.   So I’m wondering whether one of the first things Counsel to Assist the Court could do to ensure that “relevant information and opposing arguments” are before the Court is have someone explain to those affected by the proposal what it really means.

                     Kaua e mate wheke mate ururoa   Don’t die like a octopus, die like a hammerhead shark

Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. She purchases her power from Trustpower and is a beneficiary of the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust.  Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

 Kua takoto te manuka    The leaves of the manuka tree have been laid down     This proverb is used when being challenged, or you have a challenge ahead of you.        This is a form of wero that is performed in very formal situations on the Marae.  It is when you are challenged and you answer that challenge depending on how you pick up the leaves.   The wero is to see whether you come in peace or as an enemy.         Woodward Maori.

Kaua e mate wheke mate ururoa    Don’t die like a octopus, die like a hammerhead shark.  Thisi proverb is commonly used to encourage someone not to give up, no matter how hard the struggle is.  Octopus are renowned for their lack of resistance when being captured, however a hammerhead shark will fight bitterly to the end, to the point that when you fillet it fresh, its meat quivers.  Woodward Maori.

After this second push by the Trustees of The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust to move the bulk of the assets to a new trust structure was made public, I have had the opportunity of speaking directly with two former Taurange Energy Consumer Trust Trustees.

Mr Bruce Cronin, a former Trustee,  submitted a letter to The Bay of Plenty Times which clearly expresses his distaste for the current proposal .   His unpublished letter is headed “TECT Cheque Proposal a Betrayal”   Here are some excerpts.  

The letter notes the beneficiaries’ “assets are around $1billion”.

“Sure, more funds for community services are always welcome, but those funds should not be wrenched from their rightful owners by the very people who are charged with protecting and advancing those owners’ interests.”

“…..TECT Trustees ….. should wind the trust up and distribute the fund equitably between beneficiaries. If TECT was wound up today, each beneficiary could expect to receive around $18,000. Right now!! Not drip-fed over the next 30 years!! ….“

“TECT trustees will now appoint a QC to help them convince the High Court that this attack on beneficiaries is legal…..”  

Mr Cronin follows this with the suggestion that the Trustees themselves meet these legal costs and the legal costs of beneficiary representation.  

Bruce Cronin


(TECT Trustee 1996-2016 

Note: The legal fees and expenses for the preparation of both the 2018 proposal and this current version of that proposal will have been and will be met from Trust funds.   The fees and expenses of Counsel to Assist the Court will also be met from Trust funds. 


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Tauranga Art Gallery – just one of the current exhibitionsThe Rialto Cinema Tauranga – ticket special and regular viewing venue of ARTbop’s film reviewer Nick Scott

Whakamarama and the Puketoki Rserve

Amazing AucklandCoromandel, Thames isiteWaikato provincial town – Morrinsville The People’s Gallery at The Historic VillageThe Incubator Gallery

Clarence Boutique Hotel, Bistro and Iki Bar in the Old Post Office, worth a visit if you’re in Tauranga

Visit The Elms, post-colonial history

The shops at 9th Avenue Downtown Tauranga

Driving through Katikati check out The Arts Junction

The fabulous little town of Cambridge in the Waikato

And the galleries in Downtown Tauranga

Original artisan jewellery by Barisa


                                           AROHANUI    KIA KAHA 

                                                                 “and wear your freakin mask”

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