The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

EXTORTIONIST BLACKMAIL BY ‘CORPORATE CONTROLLED ORGANISATION’ METROWATER? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

8 June 2010

Tim Hammond
CEO
Metrowater

Dear Tim,

1) Please confirm that Metrowater’s lawyers have been instructed to stop the sale by auction on Wednesday 9 June 2010, of Maria and Luapo Iosefa’s family home at 89 Canal Road Avondale.

2) Your lawyer has admitted that the Statement of Claim upon which this (undefended) Judgment by Default, was obtained, was factually inaccurate:

“6b) We accept that there is a typographical error in paragraph 6 of the statement of claim in proceeding CIV-2009-004-0375. As at 24 February 2009, the balance of $1 ,992.74 was due and owing by your clients to Metrowater. The claim states that the period to which that debt relates was from 9 October 2008 to 8 January 2009. However, the debt relates to invoices for the period from 7 April 2008 to 8 January 2009 (for water supplied between 4 January 2008 to 5 January 2009). The judgment will not be set aside on the basis of this error and, in any event, the time for raising such a query has long passed.”

3) This statement also proves that Metrowater are acting unlawfully in following your ‘disputes process’ as outlined on your website.

The amount claimed is $1,992.74, which is obviously less than $7,500 – thus should have gone – to the Disputes Tribunal, according to YOUR publicly stated ‘disputes process’.
http://www.metrowater.co.nz/sitecollectiondocuments/working_with_you_customer_terms_booklet.pdf

“Step 3: Other options
If we have been unable to work together to satisfactorily resolve a genuine dispute, either of us may refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal or, for matters over $7,500, to the Court.”

This is, quite simply, unlawful.

How is it that neither yourself no your ‘lawyer’ are apparently aware of Metrowater’s statutory duties arising from the Fair Trading Act?

Metrowater have a lawful obligation to follow the ‘Disputes Process’ you have publicly stated on your website.

You have not.
________________________________________
Fair Trading Act 1986

Part 1 Misleading and deceptive conduct, false representations, and unfair practices
11 Misleading conduct in relation to services

No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of services.”
Please be reminded that Maria and Luapo Iosefa have never received a reply from Metro Water to their ‘Letter of Dispute’ faxed to Metrowater on 2 July 2003.

4) This is just one more ‘irregularity’ on top of the host of others that have been already made clear to you, which proves why this corporate bullying and vindictive harassment of Maria and Luapo Iosefa must cease forthwith.

Tim – either YOU instruct your lawyer to stop this house sale NOW – or we will (like we did last time).

Look forward to your prompt confirmation that Metrowater’s lawyers have been so instructed.

5) The (unlawful) stress and pressure Metrowater are putting on Maria and Luapo Iosefa in attempting (for the SECOND time) to auction their family home is unacceptable, extortionist behaviour.

Would you consider this ‘socially responsible’ behaviour of a ‘Council controlled Organisation’ (CCO) if it was happening to YOU Tim, or members of YOUR family?

Consider the consequences if either Maria or Luapo suffered a major health problem as a result of actions for which YOU would have to take responsibility as CEO.

We have already had one member of the Water Pressure Group die of a heart attack which we believe was Metrowater stress-related.

6) I have also just received an email from the Iosefa’s family lawyer, Peter Jacobson, which states:

“I confirm that I made an offer to Buddle Findlay this morning on behalf of Mr & Mrs Iosefa for $150 per week. I undertook to keep an eye on the payment to ensure they would keep it current. MW through their lawyer have declined that offer. Mr & Mrs Iosefa have no other ready monies.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155”

Please confirm that YOU, Tim Hammond, CEO of Metrowater, have instructed Metrowater’s lawyer to decline this offer.

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
021 211 4 127

Tim Hammond
to Penny Bright
date Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 3:55 PM
subject Response to open letter re Iosefa case

hide details 3:55 PM (7 hours ago)

Penny,

To answer the various points from your open letter

1) I can confirm Metrowater has not instructed the lawyers to stop the sale at this stage. Metrowater does not see from the points raised that there is a legal argument to support withdrawing or halting the proceedings and instead we continue to work through both parties lawyers on alternate settlement options.

2) Metrowater has informed the Court of the typographical error but as noted in Buddle Findlay’s letter the judgment is not likely to be set aside on the basis of this error.

3) The total amount claimed is not $1,992.74 that is simply the value of one of the charging orders. The full amount owed for water and wastewater services alone on this account is over $25,000.

4)&5) Refer item 1 above. Also please note that the Iosefas have chosen to continue to not pay for their water and wastewater services over several years. They have also refused to engage with Metrowater over their mounting debt. Metrowater has over the years made numerous attempts to work with the Iosefas to settle this debt, including at various times making offers to forgo various costs and charges in return for the Iosefas making a genuine commitment and effort to pay for the water and wastewater services they receive. The Iosefas have also in the past had other property on which they have been forced by the courts to pay their water and wastewater charges meaning they should be aware of their legal obligations to pay for those services. This choice not to pay, and to not even try to pay, for the water and wastewater services they receive is what has got the Iosefas into this unfortunate situation. Metrowater’s preference remains for the debt to be settled without the need for the sale of the property (see response to item 6 below).

6) Mr Jacobson has indeed put a settlement proposal on behalf of the Iosefas. While this proposal as put was not acceptable to Metrowater, it did offer a potential starting point for a settlement that Metrowater might be able to accept. To that end Metrowater has instructed its lawyers to discuss a counter proposal with Mr Jacobson that can hopefully lead to settlement without the sale of the property being necessary

Regards

Tim Hammond
Acting Chief Executive

Tel: +64 9 624 4700
Email: tim.hammond@metrowater.co.nz
Web: http://www.metrowater.co.nz

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June 8, 2010 - Posted by | Human rights, Metrowater

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