The TECT trustees’ proposal is wrong in law and misguided in practice. As trustees their principal duties are the preservation of the capital of the trust and conduct of its business for the benefit of the consumer beneficiaries.
Consumers are not the same as the community (or more specifically the selection of charities which from time to time the trustees select). By conflating the two the trustees are in danger of breaching their trust. Let them remember that ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions’.
There are two questions the trustees must answer. First, how does the mere transfer of the trust assets to an unaccountable charitable trust meet their obligation to preserve the trust assets? The external threats they have identified are beyond the control of the trustees or of any charitable trust they may establish. Secondly, how do they justify depriving the beneficiaries of their trust of its benefits, the annual distribution. As a side issue, but nevertheless important, their proposal deprives the consumers of the discretion as to whether and to what extent, if any, they wish to make a charitable donation and to what charity.
M Batchelor, Matua.