The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

“Why won’t Mark Ford explain why he picked known water privatisers as Watercare Executive staff?” asks Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright.

8 September 2010

“Why won’t Mark Ford explain why, on HIS watch, he picked known water privatisers as key Watercare Executive staff, and openly answer questions about United Water and Veolia contracts?” asks Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright.

“I, for one, based on Mark Ford’s track record, have NO confidence in his empty ‘weasel words’ words about ‘transparency’.

Water privatisation is a HUGE issue in this Auckland ‘$UPERCITY’ election. The voting public have a right to know the answers to questions I publicly asked Mark Ford over two months ago.”

www.nzherald.co.nz/news/print.cfm?objectid=10671594

“Mark Ford, who will chair the mega-Auckland Transport CCO responsible for spending about $1.4 billion a year of ratepayers’ and taxpayers’ money, was relaxed at the possibility of public meetings being part of the statement of corporate intent between the council and the CCO.

“We have got to win over the confidence of the public.

There are various mechanisms – performance service, transparency and a whole series of things,” he said. ”

………………………………………………..
“Mr Hawkins said he had not been aware of any disquiet about anything Watercare had done over its long history, saying it was an example of how a CCO could work efficiently along commercial lines to deliver a public service.”

“Upon which planet has the Chair of Watercare Services – businessman Graeme Hawkins – been living?” asks Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright.

Perhaps Mr Hawkins just leads a VERY sheltered life – and has somehow been shielded from the following matters, which show considerable ‘disquiet’ exists about Watercare operations and management.

But if Mr Hawkins is so ‘out-of-touch’ about concerns that have been publicly raised about the company he chairs – then – perhaps his ‘fitness for duty’, as Chair of the Board for Water Services is arguably questionable?

WATERCARE’S PAST AND CURRENT ACTIONS AND PRACTICES WHICH CAUSE ME, AS A JUDICIALLY RECOGNISED ‘PUBLIC WATCHDOG’ ON METROWATER, WATER AND AUCKLAND REGIONAL GOVERNANCE MATTERS –
CONSIDERABLE ‘DISQUIET’.

A) TRANSPARENCY:

1) Why aren’t the minutes of meetings of Watercare Services Ltd governing body – the Watercare Shareholders’ Group (SRG) publicly available on Watercare’s website? Where’s the ‘transparency’?

2) Who has really been in charge of Watercare Services Ltd?
The elected representatives who make up Watercare Shareholders’ Group (SRG) – or unelected Watercare Executive staff and CEO?

3)Why hasn’t former Watercare CEO, Mark Ford, replied to the following questions arising from his appointment of key water privatisers, namely – David Hawkins and Graham Wood, to strategic positions as ‘Executive’ Watercare staff members?

4) Does the Chair of Watercare Services – businessman Graeme Hawkins know the answers to these following questions?
If not – WHY NOT?
If he knows – why don’t the public?

________________________________________

2 July 2010

Executive Chair
Auckland Transition Agency (ATA)
Mark Ford

Dear Mark,

I am very sorry that you have declined to accept the invitation to attend the Public Meeting to be held on Monday 5 July 2010, from 7.30 – 9.30pm at the Freemans Bay Community Centre, calling for an investigation of the 7 United Water New Zealand contracts.

On Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM, info@ata wrote:

“Thank you for your invitation which is declined.”

Mark, you may recall that I requested that if you were unable for any reason, to accept the invitation to attend the Public Meeting to be held on Monday 5 July 2010, from 7.30 – 9.30pm
at the Freemans Bay Community Centre, calling for an investigation of the 7 United Water New Zealand contracts, could you please provide the following information by 5pm Friday 2 July 2010: (which, to date, at 5.30pm 2 July 2010, you have not.)

As I would still like to have this information in writing, in order to make it available to the public and media at the above-mentioned Public Meeting, can you please confirm that you will have this OIA request completed by 12 noon Monday 5 July 2010.

If not – why not?

Thank you in anticipation of your prompt reply to this request.

Yours sincerely,

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

Auckland Mayoral Candidate.

PH (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

_______________________________________

25 June 2010

Executive Chair
Auckland Transition Agency (ATA)
Mark Ford

OPEN LETTER/OIA REQUEST TO MARK FORD, EXECUTIVE CHAIR OF THE AUCKLAND TRANSITION AUTHORITY (ATA)

Dear Mark,

Just in case you are unable for any reason to accept the invitation to attend the Public Meeting to be held on Monday 5 July 2010, from 7.30 – 9.30pm at the Freemans Bay Community Centre, calling for an investigation of the 7 United Water New Zealand contracts, can you please provide the following information by 5pm Friday 2 July 2010:

A) Information which explains why you, when CEO of Watercare Services Ltd, appointed known water privatiser, ex-Mayor of Papakura, David Hawkins, to the position of Corporate Liaison Manager for Watercare Services in 2000.

B) Information which confirms that you were aware of the Report of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), in 1998, which was critical of a number of key aspects of the ‘Papakura franchise’, signed by David Hawkins as Mayor of Papakura in April 1997:

(These shortcomings were referred to in this recent ‘Regulatory Impact Statement’

www.dia.govt.nz/Pubforms.nsf/URL/Water_RIS…/Water_RIS_2010.doc

“REMOVING BARRIERS TO WATER INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2002 – REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT:

34. A potential risk is that councils lack expertise in the area of PPPs and other concession arrangements, and that developing such arrangements requires specialist skills. This was suggested in reports by the Auditor-General on the Papakura franchise agreement and the Wellington DBMO arrangement.[1]

35. In Papakura, for example, the Auditor-General noted that:

·the Council relied on limited internal and local expertise when setting up the agreement and it was not reviewed by an external expert;

·the franchise agreement inadequately documents the franchisee’s obligations to release particular information to the Council;

·the franchise agreement focused on performance indicators relating to price and quality, but indicators for customer service and asset management and development were not well defined; and

·there was a lack of agreement between the parties about how the condition of the infrastructure would be measured over the duration of the franchise – no baseline was established and an asset management plan was not undertaken.

[1] Controller and Auditor-General – 2006 report, as above; plus Report on Papakura District Council:

Water and Wastewater franchise, April 1998. ”

______________________________

C) Information which explains why you, when CEO of Watercare Services Ltd, appointed Graham Wood, to the position of General Manager Operations of Watercare Services,(in or about 2007), and what steps you took to:

1) Inform all elected representatives that made up the Watercare Shareholders Representative Group (SRG), of Graham Wood’s former position as the former Managing Director of United Water South Australia,

2) Inform the public of Graham Wood’s former position as the former Managing Director of United Water South Australia.

D) Information which explains the role played by David Hawkins and/or Graham Wood (if any) whilst working for Watercare in the securing of any NZ United Water contracts.

E) Information which explains why, on the Watercare Services Ltd website, when you were CEO, there was no section which covered the Watercare Shareholders Group, to make the following information publicly available: SRG meeting minutes; SRG reports ; information about which elected representatives were actually members of the SRG, and the like.

F) Disclosure of all / any interests (if any) you had or may have, either pecuniary or non-pecuniary with:

1) United Water;
2) Veolia Water,
3) Past or current members of the World Bank, including, but not limited to David Shand, the Head of the Rates Inquiry and one of the three Commissioners on the Royal commission of Inquiry into Auckland Regional Governance

G) Disclosure of all / any interests (if any) you had or may have, either pecuniary or non-pecuniary with Veolia Transport, who have the contract with ARTA (of which you were Chair since 2007) to operate train services on the Auckland Passenger Rail Network.

www.nzcid.org.nz/veoliatransport.html

VEOLIA TRANSPORT AUCKLAND

www.veoliatransport.co.nz

In 2004 Veolia Transport Auckland Limited was contracted to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) to operate train services on the Auckland Passenger Rail Network. The contract has subsequently been extended through to 2014.

VEOLIA TRANSPORT (WORLDWIDE)

www.veolia.com/en/group/activities/transport-management.aspx

Veolia Transport, as a leading private operator of public transport, manage over 2.63 billion trips per year globally, thereby decreasing traffic congestion, combating climate change and avoiding over 4.1 million tons of Co2.

Veolia Transport is part of Veolia Environnement the world’s leading environmental services company.


www.beehive.govt.nz/release/mark+ford+lead+auckland+transition+agency

Mark Ford (Executive Chair)
CEO of Watercare Services Ltd since 1994 and Chairman of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority since 2007. Previous roles have included CEO of Auckland Regional Services Trust and CEO of NZ Forestry Corporation. )

______________________________

H) Information which confirms your position, as Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency, on the request for a ‘full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts’ as requested in the following:

Petition 2008/60, presented by Su’a William Sio, on 9 December 2009:

“Requesting that the House of Representatives do not implement any legislative changes to the Local Government Act 2002 which would make it easier to privatise water services via changes to ‘contracting out’, and ‘Public Private Partnership’ (PPP) provisions, until a full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts in New Zealand has been undertaken.”

Of course, the preferred option would be for you, as Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA) to front this public meeting in person, but just in case you are unable to do so, I would like to have this information in writing to make it available to the public and media.

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

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

AUCKLAND MAYORAL CANDIDATE
PH (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

______________________________

PS! There are a LOT more areas of ‘disquiet’ regarding Watercare Services actions, operations and management – which in my considered opinion, prove they, quite simply are NOT to be trusted.

This is just the start……..

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September 8, 2010 - Posted by | Auckland Mayoral campaign, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Stop the $uper City

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