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New Guardians keep watch over NPDC investment fund

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New Guardians keep watch over NPDC investment fund

Two new Guardians are joining the board that keeps our Perpetual Investment Fund (PIF) in good financial shape for the benefit of future generations.

The pair helping to ensure a smooth transition of the four-strong New Plymouth PIF Guardians who oversee the independent management of the Fund, which is now worth about $349 million.

“Sound and independent fiscal management has helped the PIF offset rates by more than $236 million since it was created in 2004, including about $9 million in the last financial year,” says NPDC Group Manager Corporate Services Joy Buckingham.

“Our new Guardians bring skills and experience that will help it navigate the challenges ahead so we can help keep rates affordable and build a Sustainable Lifestyle Capital.”

The PIF has also helped NPDC keep its AA+ credit rating, the highest possible for local government in New Zealand from international ratings agency S&P Global, reflecting strong financial management and confidence in the future.

The new Guardians are:

  • Mark Weenink. An experienced corporate lawyer and on the board of the Financial Markets Authority and a director of several privately held companies and trusts.
  • Sarah Vrede. A former director of Capital Markets with the Financial Markets Authority, who now sits on the board of the Government Superannuation Fund Authority.


Mark Weenink started as a Guardian on 1 July and Sarah Vrede will be a fifth director from 1 January 2023 to ensure a robust handover process until chair Mark Butcher steps down in June 2023.

Councillors will decide this month on a proposal to seek a Parliamentary Bill that would ring-fence benefits from the PIF for residents within the current district boundary. It would also require the PIF to be kept as perpetual, meaning it would be protected so it keeps paying out into the future.

NPDC received 52 pieces of public feedback on the proposal over May and June, most of them supporting a Bill.


  • The PIF has paid NPDC about $236 million since 2004, including more than $9 million in the last financial year.
  • NPDC created the PIF in 2004 with about $260 million from the sale of its shareholding in Powerco.
  • The value of the PIF hit a record high of $368 million at the end of December 2021.
  • The New Plymouth PIF Guardians Limited was set up in 2017 and is a Council-Controlled Organisation.
  • Since 2017, the PIF has been fully outsourced by an independent investment firm Mercer.
  • Release payments from PIF are used to offset rates and keep rises down.
  • NPDC manages assets, including the PIF, worth $3.7 billion, runs 16 business activities and has an annual operating budget of about $194 million.