The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

WHY DOESN’T AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR LEAD BY EXAMPLE AND ‘PRACTICE WHAT HE PREACHES’?

27 April 2010

OPEN LETTER TO AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR DAVID HAY

Whose behaviour was disgraceful over the Iosefa case Deputy Mayor David Hay?

Did you ever make a public apology to the Iosefa family?

Remember this email which you sent far and wide?

“Wednesday 17 March 2010 9.11pm

What water pressure group is doing is racist and a disgrace

Why mention that these people are Samoan. Race has nothing to do with it.

They are property developers who have bought and sold houses on the same site and now owe water rates on the last house in their property development and should pay.

David Hay”

REMEMBER THIS REPLY FROM THE IOSEFA’S FAMILY LAWYER, DAVID?

Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 4:06 PM
To: ‘David@khh.co.nz’
Subject: 89A Canal Road Avondale

Dear Mr Hay

“…………………..
My concerns remain that the Iosefa’s are expected to pay legal fees and interest based on an invalid judgment. The High Court proceedings should never have been taken.

Metrowater’s stated policy is that they enforce debt by charging orders on the property. This is the first time that they have attempted to sell an owners home. It is a disputed water debt.

I do not believe that it is socially responsible to sell people out of their homes for a disputed water account. That is tantamount to the behaviour that took place in the 19th century.

Metrowater is a council controlled ( I think?) monopoly supplying an essential service to people.

Finally let me assure you that the Iosefa’s are not property developers.
They built one home on their section and sold it to assist with the second home they built for their large extended family.
………………………………”

(FULL COPY OF THIS LETTER)

Ms Bright has forwarded me your e mail and I feel compelled to respond.

I have known and acted for Mrs and Mrs Iosefa for almost 30 years. You are correct in stating that their race is irrelevant, however it is relevant in so far as English is their second language.

I have only recently become appraised of the circumstances that these clients find themselves in. They have struggled for some years without advice from me.

The debt is genuinely disputed. For a period of almost three years the property was unmetered. I have also seen a letter on Metrowater’s letterhead where they seem confused about which meter is for which property.

I have written to Metrowater’s previous lawyer (and now the new law firm acting for them) seeking invoices for the alleged outstanding periods. I do not think this an unreasonable request. To date I have received no invoices. The previous lawyer for Metrowater advised me that the water accounts owing are approximately $26,000 and the legal and interest charges are $34,500 a total of approximately $60,500. I can send you that e mail if you would like to read it.

I am concerned with a number of aspects of this matter. For instance legal fees seem to have been charged on an invalid judgment in the District Court. I did write a letter to Metrowater’s then lawyer explaining that the writ of sale was invalid because there was never any judgment against Mrs Iosefa in the District Court further there was never any affidavit of service of any documents on the District Court file. This was confirmed by the Registrar of the District Court, Mr Graeme McKay. I strongly invited them to withdraw their proceedings.

Even after I wrote the letter enclosing a copy of the judgment that confirmed the truth of this, I was advised by Metrowater’s lawyer that they intended to proceed with the invalid sale.

I finally had to write to the Registrar of the High Court, Ms Bowles, asking her to withdraw the property from sale pursuant to her discretion in terms of section 193 of the Property Law Act. She telephoned my office one night at 5.30pm advising that she had withdrawn the property and had notified Metrowater’s lawyer of the invalidity.

The following day I received an e mail from Metrowater’s lawyer advising that they were recommencing the proceedings to fix the irregularities.

My concerns remain that the Iosefa’s are expected to pay legal fees and interest based on an invalid judgment. The High Court proceedings should never have been taken.

Metrowater’s stated policy is that they enforce debt by charging orders on the property. This is the first time that they have attempted to sell an owners home. It is a disputed water debt.

I do not believe that it is socially responsible to sell people out of their homes for a disputed water account. That is tantamount to the behaviour that took place in the 19th century.

Metrowater is a council controlled ( I think?) monopoly supplying an essential service to people.

Finally let me assure you that the Iosefa’s are not property developers. They built one home on their section and sold it to assist with the second home they built for their large extended family.

I have written a further letter to Metrowater’s new lawyers advising that I was happy to meet and discuss with them a way forward but I need the invoices. Surely that is a reasonable request?

Thank you for taking the time to read my email and if you would like any further information please do no hesitate to contact me.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office ”
___________________________________________________________________

How ‘socially responsible’ was it for the Deputy Mayor of the largest Council in New Zealand – to send far and wide, untrue, discriminatory and defamatory comments about citizens and ratepayers, who have been subjected to unlawful and extortionate actions by this effectively ‘out of control’ Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) Metrowater Limited?

Yet – you have the gall to apparently state, in relation to Councillors Glenda Fryer and Cathy Casey:

“if they cannot behave and conduct themselves in a proper manner in our own meetings, it is inappropriate in my view that they represent the City at “outside” meetings.”

That’s a bit rich coming from you – don’t you think David?

In my considered opinion, it is your ‘fitness for duty’ that should be questioned.

If you aren’t prepared to ‘practice what you preach’ and lead by example David – I respectfully suggest that you keep your ill-considered opinions to yourself, and stop your highly inappropriate municipal bullying forthwith.

Kind regards,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com
Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors – Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
27 April 2010
Female Councillors punished for “misbehaving” at meetings

Auckland City Councillors Glenda Fryer and Cathy Casey are being punished by Deputy Mayor David Hay for what he calls “misbehaving” at Council meetings. Cr Hay has advised the Council that he wishes Cr Fryer to be removed from the Electoral College that oversees the Auckland Museum and MOTAT. He has also advised the two City Vision councillors in writing that he is turning down their request to attend the Local Government Conference in Auckland in July because “if they cannot behave and conduct themselves in a proper manner in our own meetings, it is inappropriate in my view that they represent the City at “outside” meetings.”
Cr Fryer who has been a member of the Electoral College for almost nine years said, “I have been on the Electoral College for almost nine years and am one of its longest-serving members. Councils from the seven local authorities in the Auckland region are represented on it. I have served this Council faithfully through some very difficult periods e.g. the huge re-development of the Museum, the controversy over Sir Edmund Hillary’s bequest, increasing the funding for MOTAT and the recent exit of CEO Vanda Vitali.

“I have spoken out against the eviction of Monte Cecilia School and the re-siting of the Women’s Suffrage Memorial. If speaking passionately constitutes misbehaviour then I am guilty. I feel that Councillor Hay is being petty and vindictive, and is trying to bully us into submission.”

Councillor Casey said, “I suppose this is payback for daring to oppose Councillor Hay’s pet projects. He has clearly led the push to remove Monte Cecilia School and has been supportive of the drive by the arts fraternity to rid Khartoum Place of the Suffrage Memorial.”

“I wanted to go the Local Government Conference because it is in Auckland and it will be the last for this Auckland City Council. To be denied because of what Councillor Hay calls “misbehaviour” is a shocking abuse of his power as Deputy Mayor. I do not “misbehave”, I debate with vigour. I have an inkling now of what the suffragists must have gone though when they challenged the male patriarchy.”

ENDS

Contacts: Cr Cathy Casey : 0274 744231 Cr Glenda Fryer : 027 272 0816

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Penny Bright
Date: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 5:47 PM
Subject: OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVT: RODNEY HIDE:Response from Penny Bright and the Iosefa family lawyer to comments emailed from ‘SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE’ Deputy Mayor David Hay.
To: r.hide@ministers.govt.nz, rodney@epsom.org.nz
Cc: “shonaw@hrc.co.nz” , Rosslyn Noonan , “cr.baguley@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.bhatnagar@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.christian@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.donnelly@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.easte@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.goldsmith@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.hay@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.lotu-iiga@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.millar@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.moyle@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “cr.raffills@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “mayor@aucklandcity.govt.nz” , “Cr Armstrong, Douglas” , “Cr Boyle, Leila” , “Cr Casey, Cathy” , “Cr Fryer, Glenda” , “Cr Mulholland, Graeme” , “Cr Northey, Richard” , “Cr Roche, Denise” , “j.carter@ministers.govt.nz” , “nikki.kaye@parliament.govt.nz” , “jackie.blue@parliament.govt.nz” , “john.boscawen@parliament.govt.nz” , “simon.bridges@parliament.govt.nz” , “david.clendon@parliament.govt.nz” , “hone.harawira@parliament.govt.nz” , “george.hawkins@parliament.govt.nz” , “tau.henare@parliament.govt.nz” , “shane.jones@parliament.govt.nz” , “sua.william.sio@parliament.govt.nz” , “phil.twyford@parliament.govt.nz” , “david.garrett@parliament.govt.nz” , “rahui.katene@parliament.govt.nz” , “louise.upston@parliament.govt.nz” , “nicky.wagner@parliament.govt.nz” , Jock Anderson , Ian Wishart , editor , Tim Hammond , John Hilario , “asenati.loletaylor@gmail.com” , “bmcc2000@gmail.com” , “fala.haulangi@sfwu.org.nz” , “fale.seneka@xtra.co.nz” , “fgmgltd@xtra.co.nz” , “fred.key@xtra.co.nz” , “heldonsavcook@xtra.co.nz” , “jr.pereira@pacificeda.org” , “manogi@glnlo.org.nz” , “pusumaki@hotmail.com” , “RBrown1@manukau.govt.nz” , “seuamuli@yahoo.com” , “tapkauie@hotmail.com” , “tia@quicksilver.net.nz” , “valazi888@yahoo.com” , “bill.burrill@arc.govt.nz” , “ccarter@calaw.co.nz” , “christine.rose@arc.govt.nz” , “christine@rankingroup.co.nz” , “dianne.glenn@arc.govt.nz” , “jancolin@ihug.co.nz” , “judith.bassett@xtra.co.nz” , “otunnz@nznet.gen.nz” , “s_coney@xtra.co.nz” , Joel Cayford , Mike Lee , Mayor Bob Harvey , “mayor@manukau.govt.nz” , “penny.webster@rodney.govt.nz” , “mark_ball@franklin.govt.nz” , “andrew.williams@northshorecity.govt.nz” , “Bernard.Orsman@nzherald.co.nz” , “brian.rudman@nzherald.co.nz” , “audrey.young@nzherald.co.nz” , “jared.savage@nzherald.co.nz” , “news@newstalkzb.co.nz” , “news@nzpa.co.nz” , “news@radiolive.co.nz” , “news@radionz.co.nz” , “news@tvnz.co.nz” , “news@niufm.com” , MIGRANT NEWS , “cosdesk@tv3.co.nz” , “andrew.coster” , “emma.miles@police.govt.nz” , “j.collins@ministers.govt.nz” , “McKenzie, Andrew”

18 March 2010

OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVT: RODNEY HIDE:

Minister for Local Government

Rodney Hide

Response from Penny Bright and the Iosefa family lawyer to comments emailed from ‘SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE’ Auckland City Council Deputy Mayor David Hay, 17 March 2010:

Dear Rodney,

It is my considered opinion, that the following item of correspondence from Auckland City Council’s Deputy Mayor David Hay – is a further disgraceful display of the deeply entrenched
political bias and discriminatory attitude and behaviour shown towards Water Pressure Group members – in this case – the Iosefa family.

How ‘socially responsible’ is it for the Deputy Mayor of the largest Council in New Zealand – to send far and wide, untrue, discriminatory and defamatory comments about citizens and ratepayers, who have been subjected to, and are still being subjected to, unlawful and extortionate actions by this effectively ‘out of control’ Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) Metrowater Limited?

Yet more reason to support your urgent intervention as Minister for Local Government to initiate a review of the failure of Auckland City Council to ensure Metrowater’s compliance with policies outlined in their Statement of Intent’ regarding ‘debt management’, should Auckland City Council fail to confirm the following outcomes by 5pm Friday 19 March 2010:

1) In the first instance, the unlawful persecution of the Iosefa family will cease forthwith. Metrowater has been instructed to immediately withdraw any proceedings from the High Court for any further ‘Writ of Sale’ or the like, over their family home at 89A Canal Rd Avondale.

Metrowater will fully reimburse Maria and Luapo Iosefa for any costs incurred as a result of Metrowater’s lawyer’s unlawful actions.

2) A full investigation will be carried out, INVOLVING DISCUSSIONS WITH MYSELF AND MEMBERS OF THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP AS DIRECTLY-AFFECTED PARTIES, as part of the ‘audit process’ into Metrowater’s debt management processes and actions, given the now proven highly unprofessional style of work of Metrowater’s (former?) lawyer, Michael Tolhurst, and current ‘Legal and Compliance Officer John Hilario; including, but not limited to; proven discriminatory political bias against myself and fellow WPG members; failure to follow lawful due process in the serving of court documents; lies being told me in order to destroy my credibility (including a complaint against me – authorised by Metrowater’s CEO, to the NZ Law Society); the use of ‘standover’/’extortionist tactics’ to enforce payment of disputed accounts; Metrowater’s failure to follow its disputes process.

(EG: How many legal proceedings initiated in the Auckland District Court by Metrowater’s ‘law’ firm City Law, ended up as ‘Judgments by Default’ – because the Defendants didn’t file a ‘Statement of Defence’, or attend the hearing?

HOW MANY OF THESE CASES WERE AS A RESULT OF LAWFUL ‘DUE PROCESS’ NOT BEING FOLLOWED BY METROWATER’S LAWYERS, AS WAS THE NOW PROVEN CASE WITH MARIA AND LUAPO IOSEFA?

3) In the interim, ALL current legal proceedings against WPG members will be withdrawn FORTHWITH.
__________________________________________________________________

Looking forward, at last, to the application and upholding of the rule of law, and commonsense.

It is LONG overdue.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”

Ph (09) 846 9825

1) MY ‘OPEN LETTER’ TO THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – WHICH – FOR SOME REASON ‘JAMMED ON FULL’ THE BUTTONS OF THE DEPUTY MAYOR OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL – DAVID HAY:

Subject: PRESENTATION TO FINANCE AND STRATEGY COMMITTEE OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL RE: IOSEFA HOME SALE

17 March 2010

Rosslyn Noonan
Chief Commissioner
NZ Human Rights Commission

OPEN LETTER

Dear Rosslyn,

I presented to the Auckland City Council Finance and Strategy Committee this morning, evidence of Metrowater’s failure to act in a lawful and ‘socially responsible’ manner, by singling out a Samoan family, and attempting to sell their family home to pay a disputed Metrowater account.

The reasons, law and evidence are provided in the attachment.

This has been an absolute DISGRACE. In my opinion – unbridled abuse of monopoly power by a supplier of the most essential of all public services – water and wastewater – to date unchecked by those who have statutory duties to ‘monitor’ their performance as a ‘Council Controlled Organisation’ – CCO.

This is the first time Metrowater have initiated proceedings in the High Court to obtain a ‘Writ of Sale’ – so they are NOT treating the Maria and Luapo Iosefa the same as other Metrowater customers, in the provision of goods and services – a breach of s44 of the Human Rights Act 1993.

I have included the following ‘Outcomes Sought’ from this presentation:

If both Metrowater and Auckland City Council fail to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner – in accordance with their statutory duties – I will be making a complaint to the HRC and seeking your assistance to achieve these outcomes.

OUTCOMES SOUGHT:

PLEASE CONFIRM BY 5PM FRIDAY 19 MARCH 2010 THE FOLLOWING:

1) In the first instance, the unlawful persecution of the Iosefa family will cease forthwith. Metrowater has been instructed to immediately withdraw any proceedings from the High Court for any further ‘Writ of Sale’ or the like, over their family home at 89A Canal Rd Avondale.

Metrowater will fully reimburse Maria and Luapo Iosefa for any costs incurred as a result of Metrowater’s lawyer’s unlawful actions.

2) A full investigation will be carried out, INVOLVING DISCUSSIONS WITH MYSELF AND MEMBERS OF THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP AS DIRECTLY-AFFECTED PARTIES, as part of the ‘audit process’ into Metrowater’s debt management processes and actions, given the now proven highly unprofessional style of work of Metrowater’s (former?) lawyer, Michael Tolhurst, and current ‘Legal and Compliance Officer John Hilario; including, but not limited to; proven discriminatory political bias against myself and fellow WPG members; failure to follow lawful due process in the serving of court documents; lies being told me in order to destroy my credibility (including a complaint against me – authorised by Metrowater’s CEO, to the NZ Law Society); the use of ‘standover’/’extortionist tactics’ to enforce payment of disputed accounts; Metrowater’s failure to follow its disputes process.

(EG: How many legal proceedings initiated in the Auckland District Court by Metrowater’s ‘law’ firm City Law, ended up as ‘Judgments by Default’ – because the Defendants didn’t file a ‘Statement of Defence’, or attend the hearing?

HOW MANY OF THESE CASES WERE AS A RESULT OF LAWFUL ‘DUE PROCESS’ NOT BEING FOLLOWED BY METROWATER’S LAWYERS, AS WAS THE NOW PROVEN CASE WITH MARIA AND LUAPO IOSEFA?

3) In the interim, ALL current legal proceedings against WPG members will be withdrawn FORTHWITH.

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT IF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED OUTCOMES ARE NOT ACHIEVED, THAT THE MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RODNEY HIDE, WILL BE REQUESTED TO INITIATE A REVIEW OF THE FAILURE OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL TO ENSURE METROWATER’S COMPLIANCE WITH POLICIES OUTLINED IN THE STATEMENT OF INTENT REGARDING ‘DEBT MANAGEMENT’.

The powers of the Minister of Local Government, in such a matter are set out as follows:

“Local Government Act 2002

256 Minister may appoint person to act on behalf of local authority, or initiate review

(1) If the Minister considers that the grounds in subsection (2) exist, the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette,—

(a) appoint a person to perform and exercise a local authority’s responsibilities, duties, and powers either generally or to the extent specified in the notice; or

(b) appoint a person to review, consider, and report on the performance of a local authority, either generally or in respect of any particular matter specified in the notice

(2) The grounds are—

(a) that the local authority is wilfully refusing or substantially refusing to perform and exercise its duties and powers under this Act or any other enactment; and

(b) the refusal—

(i) is impairing, or likely to impair, the good local government of the local authority’s district or region; or

(ii) endangering, or likely to endanger, the public health or safety of the local authority’s district or region.

(3) Before exercising his or her powers under subsection (1), the Minister must—

(a) give the local authority notice in writing of his or her intention to do so, including the reasons; and

(b) give the local authority not less than 20 working days to satisfy the Minister—

(i) that the grounds do not exist; or

(ii) that steps have been taken to rectify the situation.”

I do hope that this will not be necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.

“Anti-corruption campaigner”

Ph (09) 8469 825

021 211 4 127

______________________________________________________________

2) RESPONSE FROM AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR DAVID HAY

Wednesday 17 March 2010 9.11pm

What water pressure group is doing is racist and a disgrace

Why mention that these people are Samoan. Race has nothing to do with it. They are property developers who have bought and sold houses on the same site and now owe water rates on the last house in their property development and should pay.

David Hay

________________________________________________________________________

3) REPLY FROM PENNY BRIGHT TO THE DEFAMATORY, WIDELY-BROADCAST, FACTUALLY INCORRECT, AND HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS MADE BY AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR DAVID HAY (WHO REALLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER – GIVEN HIS YEARS OF COUNCIL EXPERIENCE).

17 March 2010

Ever seen the invoices for Metrowater’s water and wastewater charges for 89A Canal Rd David?

Neither the family lawyer not myself have seen them.

Going to just take Metrowater’s word that they’ve done everything properly and lawfully?

You all got caught with your pants around your ankles last time you took Metrowater’s word that the legal proceedings were all in order – WHEN THEY WERE NOT.

Made you all look pretty stupid when the High Court stopped the sale.

That information was sent to EVERY COUNCIL in NZ.

Remember this is a DISPUTED bill??

Check out APPENDIX “A” to my presentation which is/will be attached to today’s minutes.
It’s a copy of the Iosefa’s letter of dispute.

Ever discussed with the Iosefa’s daughter about how Metrowater’s EX-lawyer Michael Tolhurst spoke to her parents – when he just turned up at the property – demanded that they meet with him, and told them that if they didn’t pay their bill in a week Metrowater would sell their house?

Seems like there was a bit of racism there all right.

Not to mention EXTORTION.

Do you support EXTORTION David?

It is EFFECTIVE – unfortunately it’s not LAWFUL.

Property developers?

yeah – whatever David.

What is a ‘disgrace’ about defending people against Metrowater and Auckland City Council’s failure to act lawfully?

If you did your jobs properly – not to mention LAWFULLY – I’d have a LOT less to do.

Try reading the legislation which covers your statutory duties David.

You might learn something.

(Did you bother to read the attachment? I live in hope.)

You may remember that not only did you play a huge role in inflicting this Metrowater model upon citizens and ratepayers of Auckland City – you supported ‘charitable payments’ which Parliament ruled were unacceptable.

FYI – if you bothered to read the email I sent a little more carefully – the main reason I am seeking the intervention of the HRC is because of unlawful discrimination (on the basis of political opinion) in the provision of goods and services.

The fact that you appear to be so twitchy that I have mentioned that they are Samoan – may suggest that there is indeed an element of racism there as well.

If Auckland City Council wants another equivalent of the Ike Finau signs case – keep going…..

If you feel your buttons have been jammed enough to send me an email – I take that as a compliment David.

Have a lovely night!

(You’ve helped make mine).

Cheers!

Penny
______________________________________________________________________

4) RESPONSE FROM IOSEFA FAMILY LAWYER PETER JACOBSON TO AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY MAYOR DAVID HAY – CORRECTING SOME OF HIS FACTUAL (DEFAMATORY) ERRORS ABOUT THE IOSEFAS:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Peter Jacobson
Date: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 4:07 PM
Subject: FW: 89A Canal Road Avondale
To: Penny Bright

Hello Penny,
I felt compelled to reply to Mr Hay’s email to you to correct some errors in his letter.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155
—–Original Message—–
From: Peter Jacobson [mailto:pjacobson@baylawoffice.co.nz]
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 4:06 PM
To: ‘David@khh.co.nz’
Subject: 89A Canal Road Avondale

Dear Mr Hay

Ms Bright has forwarded me your e mail and I feel compelled to respond.

I have known and acted for Mrs and Mrs Iosefa for almost 30 years. You are correct in stating that their race is irrelevant, however it is relevant in so far as English is their second language.

I have only recently become appraised of the circumstances that these clients find themselves in. They have struggled for some years without advice from me.

The debt is genuinely disputed. For a period of almost three years the property was unmetered. I have also seen a letter on Metrowater’s letterhead where they seem confused about which meter is for which property.

I have written to Metrowater’s previous lawyer (and now the new law firm acting for them) seeking invoices for the alleged outstanding periods. I do not think this an unreasonable request. To date I have received no invoices. The previous lawyer for Metrowater advised me that the water accounts owing are approximately $26,000 and the legal and interest charges are $34,500 a total of approximately $60,500. I can send you that e mail if you would like to read it.

I am concerned with a number of aspects of this matter. For instance legal fees seem to have been charged on an invalid judgment in the District Court. I did write a letter to Metrowater’s then lawyer explaining that the writ of sale was invalid because there was never any judgment against Mrs Iosefa in the District Court further there was never any affidavit of service of any documents on the District Court file. This was confirmed by the Registrar of the District Court, Mr Graeme McKay. I strongly invited them to withdraw their proceedings.

Even after I wrote the letter enclosing a copy of the judgment that confirmed the truth of this, I was advised by Metrowater’s lawyer that they intended to proceed with the invalid sale.

I finally had to write to the Registrar of the High Court, Ms Bowles, asking her to withdraw the property from sale pursuant to her discretion in terms of section 193 of the Property Law Act. She telephoned my office one night at 5.30pm advising that she had withdrawn the property and had notified Metrowater’s lawyer of the invalidity.

The following day I received an e mail from Metrowater’s lawyer advising that they were recommencing the proceedings to fix the irregularities.

My concerns remain that the Iosefa’s are expected to pay legal fees and interest based on an invalid judgment. The High Court proceedings should never have been taken.

Metrowater’s stated policy is that they enforce debt by charging orders on the property. This is the first time that they have attempted to sell an owners home. It is a disputed water debt.

I do not believe that it is socially responsible to sell people out of their homes for a disputed water account. That is tantamount to the behaviour that took place in the 19th century.

Metrowater is a council controlled ( I think?) monopoly supplying an essential service to people.

Finally let me assure you that the Iosefa’s are not property developers. They built one home on their section and sold it to assist with the second home they built for their large extended family.

I have written a further letter to Metrowater’s new lawyers advising that I was happy to meet and discuss with them a way forward but I need the invoices. Surely that is a reasonable request?

Thankyou for taking the time to read my email and if you would like any further information please do no hesitate to contact me.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155
PS I did attend the Finance and Strategy Committee meeting held at the Council offices on the 17th March 2010 but was denied any speaking rights. The Chairman felt that I would personalise matters by discussing the Iosefa case and that there was no time to listen to me. I did note a good deal of time was spent thanking a pregnant staff member for her services to the committee. If he had given me the opportunity I could have assured him that I would talk to the committee in very general and broad terms about Metrowater’s very publicly stated debt collection policy. It was a shame because some of the Councillors wanted to hear from me.
________________________________________________________________________

5) RESPONSE FROM METROWATER’S EX-LAWYER (NOW SACKED) MICHAEL TOLHURST DATED 26 FEBRUARY 2010, AND METROWATER’S CREDIT SERVICES MANAGER CHRIS STRAPP, TO A REQUEST FOR COSTS AND CHARGES (ALLEGEDLY) OWED BY MARIA AND LUAPO IOSEFA.

(PLEASE NOTE THE LACK OF INVOICES TO SUBSTANTIATE THE DISPROPORTIONATELY LARGE METROWATER WATER/WASTEWATER CHARGES OF OVER $25,000.)

PLEASE SEE ATTACHED SUMMARY.
_______________________________________________________________________

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155
—–Original Message—–
From: Mike Tolhurst [mailto:mike@citylaw.co.nz]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 5:53 PM
To: Peter Jacobson
Subject: FW: Iosefa Cost Breakdown

Peter

Here is a summary of the costs and charges which the Iosefas owe Metrowater. As you can see the water/waste charges are roughly $25k with the balance being costs and debt collection charges. On a without prejudice basis I can advise that if the Iosefas settle this matter quickly MW may well accept the figure of $48,562.90 plus whatever charges have been incurred with the High Court in advertising etc. We imagine that settlement with those costs will be around the $50k mark.

There are also some more costs which we must charge given the time that we have spent on the matter over the past 2 weeks since our last account. The reality frankly is that these people need to settle asap given that the costs just continue to rise.

We understand that Penny Bright is questioning service. All proceedings were served on these people by substituted service. There is no issue regarding any of the service requirements and MW have supplied Penny Bright with copies of all Orders of Sub Service as well as the affidavits of the service agents serving under the sub-service orders.

I understand that all money has been approved. we look forward to your badvice as to when you will be in a position to settle.

Mike Tolhurst

From: Chris Strapp [mailto:Chris.Strapp@metrowater.co.nz]
Sent: Friday, 26 February 2010 5:36 p.m.
To: Mike Tolhurst
Cc: John Hilario; Tim Hammond
Subject: Iosefa Cost Breakdown

Mike,

Please find attached my calculations as requested.

Thanks

Chris

Chris Strapp
Credit Services Manager

Tel: +64 9 624 4835
Email: chris.strapp@metrowater.co.nz
Web: http://www.metrowater.co.nz

Metrowater

__________________________________________________________________

5) WPG Metrowater Iosefa MW Iosefa Cost Breakdown (2)-1.doc 59K (Attached)

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April 27, 2010 - Posted by | Human rights

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