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URGENT!!! NATIONAL/ACT GOVT RAILROADING THROUGH WATER PRIVATISATION LEGISLATION!! PROTEST TODAY (THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER) OUTSIDE PAPAKURA UNITED WATER!

URGENT!!! NATIONAL/ACT GOVT RAILROADING

THROUGH WATER PRIVATISATION

LEGISLATION!!

 

PROTEST OUTSIDE PAPAKURA UNITED WATER!

THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER 9AM – 12NOON

18 November 2010

URGENT!!!

NATIONAL/ACT GOVT ARE RAILROADING  THROUGH WATER PRIVATISATION LEGISLATION!!

House Rises While Debating Local Government Bill

www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1011/S00373/house-rises-while-debating-local-government-bill.htm

Thursday, 18 November 2010, 12:09 am
Article: ParliamentToday.co.nz

 

House Rises While Debating Local Government Bill

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill passed its second reading by 64 votes to 56 and MPs had just started the committee stage debate when the House rose at midnight.

It will resume tomorrow at 9am.

***
ParliamentToday.co.nz is a breaking news source for New Zealand parliamentary business featuring broadcast daily news reports on Parliamentary Business.

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A PROTEST IS BEING HELD OUTSIDE PAPAKURA UNITED WATER!

116 Great South Rd
Papakura

THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER

9AM – 12NOON

THE INTENTION OF THIS LEGISLATION IS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR WATER MULTINATIONALS (LIKE UNITED WATER- 100% OWNED BY VEOLIA – THE BIGGEST PRIVATE WATER COMPANY IN THE WORLD) TO OPERATE AND MANAGE OUR WATER SERVICES FOR PRIVATE PROFIT.


(Sorry about the delay in getting this info to you – I have just come back from the Transparency International 14th ‘International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok Thailand.)

United Water – have lost the South Australian contract!


So – why are we making it easier for United Water in NZ here in NZ – if their 7 contracts may be based on dodgy and misrepresented pricing?

This is URGENT because the Bill to extend private water contracts to 35 years is being railroaded through Parliament NOW while my petition calling for an urgent investigation into the 7 NZ United Water contracts is just sitting there as an ‘Item of Business’ before the Local Government and Environment Select Ctte.

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Presented/Petitions/e/d/f/49DBHOH_PET2996_1-Petition-of-Penelope-Mary-Bright-and-171-others.htm

Petition of Penelope Mary Bright and 171 others

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.

Petition number: 2008/60
Presented by: Su’a William Sio
Date presented: 9 December 2009
Referred to: Local Government and Environment Committee

(Evidence supporting this petition at the end of this email)

Where is the ‘due diligence’, ‘prudent stewardship’and  ‘fiscal responsibility’  in ignoring EVIDENCE supporting the call for an urgent inquiry into the 7 United Water NZ contracts?

Is this not a form of ‘wilful blindness’ bordering on a form of ‘corrupt practice’ to force through legislation pushing a model which may be based on a ‘rort and a fraud’ without investigating these legitimate concerns which have been put before Parliament in a proper way?

This petition has been tabled as an ‘Item of Business’ for nearly a year!!!

Did United Water knowingly misrepresent their pricing here in NZ by loading corporate overhead costs from NZ contracts on to South Australian United Water customers?

Think it is politically significant – that while here it’s being made easier for United Water to get contracts in NZ – the South Australians are booting them out!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/24/2935983.htm

(This is the ‘BOOT’ scheme I DO agree with! )

I contacted South Australia United Water Communications Officer Edwina Chapman  (0061 8 8301 2700) and she advised me that the findings of the  ‘Independent Expert’ who is investigating the United Water South Australia contract are “not determined”.
(I rang her on Friday 5 November 2010)

But in the meantime – the United Water South Australia contract is NOT being renewed!

SUGGEST THAT AS THE ‘STOPPER’ – IF THE GOVT WON’T SUPPORT ‘DUE DILIGENCE’ AND INVESTIGATE THE 7 UNITED WATER CONTRACTS – THEN THE AUDITOR-GENERAL IS ASKED TO DO SO.

YOU CAN USE THE ADVICE FROM THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CALL FOR AN URGENT INQUIRY INTO THE 7 UNITED WATER CONTRACTS BY THE AUDITOR-GENERAL.
____________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________
3) REPLY FROM THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RODNEY HIDE DATED
3 NOVEMBER 2010:
 

WPG WATER PRIVATISATION UNITED WATER REPLY FROM RODNEY HIDE RE MOST APPROPRIATE BODY TO INVESTIGATE 7 UNITED WATER NZ CONTRACTS 3 NOVEMBER 2009.htm 27K

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=124b7c0978c309fc&mt=application%2Fpdf&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com%2Fmail%2F%3Fui%3D2%26ik%3D18afffb768%26view%3Datt%26th%3D124b7c0978c309fc%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dattd%26zw&sig=AHIEtbSBkiXdhHcPAnrcy4Giyj5dBqFP0Q

Penny

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE – EVIDENCE SUPPORTING :

Petition 2008/60 of Penelope Mary Bright and 171 others, presented by Su’a William Sio, on 9 December 2009 – referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

“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.”

1)COPY OF THE ‘STATEMENT OF CLAIM’ ,( sawater sclaim.pdf ) FILED ON BEHALF OF THE PLAINTIFF, SA WATER CORPORATION, BY THE CROWN SOLICITOR FOR THE STATE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA IN THE MATTER BETWEEN :

SA WATER CORPORATION v UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY ACN 069471334 in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

In brief, UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY, is being sued by SA WATER CORPORATION, for alleged ‘breach of contract’, and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’,  for failing to disclose, when calculating its profit on ‘Lump Sum Charges’, all its corporate overhead costs for United Water’s other operations (including in New Zealand and Ballarat).

2) LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RODNEY HIDE (DATED 29 SEPTEMBER 2009), REQUESTING HE ADVISE WHICH IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE BODY/AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE EACH OF THE SEVEN UNITED WATER NEW ZEALAND CONTRACTS IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH THEY WERE NOT BASED ON FRAUDULENT AND MISREPRESENTED PRICING:
“29 September 2009

OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RODNEY HIDE –

RE: INVESTIGATION OF NZ UNITED WATER CONTRACTS

Dear Minister,

Attached to this email is a copy of the ‘Statement of Claim’, filed on behalf of the Plaintiff, SA Water Corporation, by the Crown Solicitor for the State of South Australia, in the matter between:

SA WATER CORPORATION v UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY ACN 069471334 in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

In brief, UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY, is being sued by SA WATER CORPORATION, for alleged ‘breach of contract’, and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’,  for failing to disclose, when calculating its profit on ‘Lump Sum Charges’, all its corporate overhead costs for United Water’s other operations (including in New Zealand and Ballarat).

This is allegedly in breach of clauses 8 and 14 of the Contract and clause 2(c) of Schedule E to the Contract (which only entitle United Water to charge for costs incurred by it in rendering the Services to SA Water.

These are significant and serious charges.

“The remedies sought are:

1) A order setting aside the 2003 Contract under Section 87 of the Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth) and Section 85 of the Fair Trading Act (SA) and for misrepresentation.

2) Damages for breach of Contract.

3.Damages pursuant to Section 82 of the Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth).

4) Damages pursuant to Section 84 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA).

5) Damages pursuant to Section 7 of the Misrepresentation Act, 1972 (SA).

6) Further or in the alternative, orders as the Court think appropriate pursuant to Section 87 of Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and Section 85 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA) to compensate SA Water for the loss and damage sufered by reason of the conduct of United Water in contravention of Section 52 of Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth) and Section 56 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA).

7. Interest.

8. Costs.

9. Further or other relief as the Court thinks fit.”

A) Please advise as Minister of Local Government, which is the most appropriate body/authority to investigate:

1) Each of the following United Water contracts in order to establish that they were not based on fraudulent and misrepresented pricing, which, as I understand it, would, if proven, be grounds for the ‘setting aside’ of the following United Water New Zealand contracts.


a) Papakura Concession
b) Ruapehu Operations and Maintenance
c) Thames Coromandel Operations and Maintenance
d) Wellington Wastewater Treatment Plants

e) Waitomo Operations and Maintenance
f)  Franklin Operations and Maintenance
g) Queenstown Operations and Maintenance

2) The role played, (if any) by employees of Watercare Services Ltd, in the securing of these United Water New Zealand contracts, particularly that of the ex-Mayor of Papakura District Council, Mr David Hawkins, now ‘Corporate Liaison Manager’ for Watercare Services, (currently seconded to work for the Auckland Transition Agency),who played a significant role in the establishing of the United Water (Papakura) contract in 1997.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

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

Ph (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127


(waterpressure@gmail.com)
______________________________

______________________________ 

3) REPLY FROM THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RODNEY HIDE DATED
3 NOVEMBER 2010:

WPG WATER PRIVATISATION UNITED WATER REPLY FROM RODNEY HIDE RE MOST APPROPRIATE BODY TO INVESTIGATE 7 UNITED WATER NZ CONTRACTS 3 NOVEMBER 2009.htm 27K

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=124b7c0978c309fc&mt=application%2Fpdf&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com%2Fmail%2F%3Fui%3D2%26ik%3D18afffb768%26view%3Datt%26th%3D124b7c0978c309fc%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dattd%26zw&sig=AHIEtbSBkiXdhHcPAnrcy4Giyj5dBqFP0Q

4) OPEN LETTER/OIA REQUEST TO ALL THE FOLLOWING TWENTY NATIONAL PARTY CABINET MINISTERS WHO SUPPORT WATER PRIVATISATION, AS PER THE FOLLOWING CABINET DECISIONS OF 27 OCTOBER 2009:

“6 November 2009
OPEN LETTER/OIA REQUEST TO ALL THE FOLLOWING TWENTY NATIONAL PARTY CABINET MINISTERS WHO SUPPORT WATER PRIVATISATION, AS PER THE FOLLOWING CABINET DECISIONS OF 27 OCTOBER 2009:
Please note that this is an individual OIA request to EACH of  you as a National Party Cabinet Minister.
1. Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Minister of Tourism
2. Hon Bill English
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Minister for Infrastructure
3. Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister for Economic Development
Minister of Energy and Resources
4.Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice
Minister for State Owned Enterprises
Minister of Commerce
5. Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health
Minister of State Services
6. Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment
Minister for Climate Change Issues
Minister for ACC
7. Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Police
Minister of Corrections
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs
8. Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Education
Minister for Tertiary Education
9. Hon Christopher Finlayson
Attorney-General
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
10. Hon David Carter
Minister of Agriculture
Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Forestry
11. Hon Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Afairs
Minister for Sport and Recreation
12. Hon Tim Groser
Minister of Trade
Minister of Conservation
13. Hon Dr Wayne Mapp
Minister of Defence
Minister of Research, Science and Technology
14. Hon Steven Joyce
Minister of Transport
Minister for Communications and Information Technology
15. Hon Georgina te Heuheu
Minister for Courts
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
16. Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Minister of Youth Affairs
17.  Hon Phil Heatley
Minister of Fisheries
Minister of Housing
18. Hon Pansy Wong
Minister for Ethnic Affairs
Minister of Women’s Affairs
19. Hon Dr Johnathon Coleman
Minister of Immigration
Minister of Broadcasting
20. Hon Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Labour
Minister for Food Safety
BACKGROUND:
On 27 October 2009, you twenty above-named National Party Cabinet Ministers agreed to support the following changes to the Local Government Act 2002, which, if implemented, will establish the legislative framework to make it for easier for water services throughout New Zealand to be privatised:
The ‘Cabinet Paper’, presented by Rodney Hide on 28 October 2009, entitled:
“Decisions for better transparency, accountablility and financial management of local government”,
“Flexibility in delvery of water services” (pg 6) – states:
“Issue
Local councils are elected to govern.
They are responsible to the law, and to their electors.
In deciding on any restrictions on councils’ activities, central government needs to ensure that a balance between the public interest and the ability to act on behalf of their people is maintained.
The present law restricts councils from structuring their water services in a way that best meets ratepayers’ and residents’ needs and preferences.  The current restrictions reduce councils’ flexibility to choose effective and efficient delivery methods for water services.
The Government has decided on changes that will allow for more use of public-private partnerships in the construction and operation of water and wastewater plants.  Build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) schemes become more feasible, but ownership of assets would revert to councils at the end of any agreement, thus retaining ultimate public ownership.  These changes do not affect the the other rules around asset ownership.
Decisions
The following legislative changes will be made:
  • extend the 15-year limit on water services contracts and joint arrangements with the private sector to 35 years, which makes these arrangements more workable
  • allow water services arrangements to include BOOT schemes by allowing ownership of infrastructure by the private sector during the contract period
  • repeal the provisions that require councils entering into a contract or joint arrangement with the private sector to retain control over  the management of water services (control over pricing and policy to be retained by councils).”
___________________________________________________
PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
1) All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms how these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation serve the ‘public interest’ of the majority of citizens and ratepayers as opposed to the ‘private interests’ of those who own /operate and/or manage the water services ‘contracting companies’ – (including water multinationals such as Veolia who own United Water.)
2) All/any information upon which you are relying which provides the conclusive EVIDENCE that such legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation, as proposed, including the PPP /BOOT model are in fact more ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’ delivery methods for water services.
(Please be reminded that there has NEVER been any form of ‘cost-benefit analysis’ for the Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) ‘commercialised’ model for water services – this matter currently is tabled as an ‘Item of Business’ before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, being Petition  2008/18, which:
“respectfully requests that the House of Representatives note that 120 people have signed a petition Requesting that there be no legislative change to enact recommendation 21A of the Report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance that:
“All Auckland Council’s major commercial trading and infrastructure activities should be undertaken through CCOs” until an independent cost-benefit analysis confirms the cost-effectiveness of the CCO model (particularly for water services) for the majority of citizens and ratepayers.” )
3)  All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms that  these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation are being ‘triggered’ by ratepayers and residents, as opposed to privately-owned water services providers, and those whose role it is to facilitate ‘Public-Private-Partnerships’ for water services.
ie: WHO WANTS and is pushing  for the privatisation of New Zealand water services?
4) Please provide all/any information which confirms that you, as a Cabinet Minister:
a) Were made aware of the fact that private water company United Water International Pty, which currently has seven contracts with Councils in New Zealand, is being sued  by the Crown Solicitor for the State of South Australia, in the matter between:
SA WATER CORPORATION v UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY ACN 069471334
in the Supreme Court of South Australia.
‘In brief, UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY, is being sued by SA WATER CORPORATION, for alleged ‘breach of contract’, and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’,  for failing to disclose, when calculating its profit on ‘Lump Sum Charges’, all its corporate overhead costs for United Water’s other operations (including in New Zealand and Ballarat).’
b) and that you as a Cabinet Minister, applied due diligence and gave due consideration to this fact before arriving at the above-mentioned Cabinet decision to facilitate privatisation of water services in New Zealand.
Following is a copy of the ‘Open Letter’ which was emailed to the Minister of Local Government on Tuesday 29 September 2009, and the list of people to whom it was copied – including the following Cabinet Ministers:
Penny Bright <waterpressure@gmail.com> Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 3:21 PM
Cc: j.carter@ministers.govt.nz, chris.auchinvole@parliament.govt.nz, cam.calder@national.org.nz, david.garrett@parliament.govt.nz, george.hawkins@parliament.govt.nz, shane.jones@parliament.govt.nz, rahui.katene@parliament.govt.nz, nikki.kaye@parliament.govt.nz, sue.kedgley@parliament.govt.nz, phil.twyford@parliament.govt.nz, louise.upston@parliament.govt.nz, Nicky Hager <nicky@paradise.net.nz>, jackie.blue@parliament.govt.nz, john.boscawen@parliament.govt.nz, Sue Bradford <sue.bradford@parliament.govt.nz>, simon.bridges@parliament.govt.nz, Hone Harawira <hone.harawira@parliament.govt.nz>, Tau Henare <tau.henare@parliament.govt.nz>, sua.william.sio@parliament.govt.nz, Russel Norman <russel.norman@parliament.govt.nz>, jeanette.fitzsimons@parliament.govt.nz, metiria.turei@parliament.govt.nz, j.collins@ministers.govt.nz, s.power@ministers.govt.nz, c.finlayson@ministers.govt.nz, w.mapp@ministers.govt.nz, j.key@ministers.govt.nz, b.english@ministers.govt.nz, Carol Beaumont <carol.beaumont@parliament.govt.nz>, jim.anderton@parliament.govt.nz, 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, joel.cayford@arc.govt.nz, judith.bassett@xtra.co.nz, otunnz@nznet.gen.nz, s_coney@xtra.co.nz, Mike Lee <mike.lee@arc.govt.nz>, 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.armstrong@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Boyle, Leila” <cr.boyle@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Casey, Cathy” <cr.casey@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Fryer, Glenda” <cr.fryer@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Mulholland, Graeme” <cr.mulholland@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Northey, Richard” <cr.northey@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, “Cr Roche, Denise” <cr.roche@aucklandcity.govt.nz>, arthur.anae@xtra.co.nz, blkalf@xtra.co.nz, botany@michaelwilliams.co.nz, brown@manukau.govt.nz, d.collings@xtra.co.nz, d.newman@orcon.net.nz, dick.quax@xtra.co.nz, gtroup@xtra.co.nz, hugh_henrygraham@yahoo.com, info@stirrups.co.nz, jross@jami-leeross.com, maggiewb@clear.net.nz, mayor@manukau.govt.nz, sharonstewart@xtra.co.nz, sw.sio@xtra.co.nz, thebrowns@colbar.co.nz, Bob Wichman <bobwichman@woosh.co.nz>, Sylvia Taylor <sylviataylor@xtra.co.nz>, andrew.williams@northshorecity.govt.nz, ann.hartley@northshorecity.govt.nz, callum.blair@northshorecity.govt.nz, chris.darby@northshorecity.govt.nz, dianne.hale@northshorecity.govt.nz, grantgillon@ihug.co.nz, heather.brown@northshorecity.govt.nz, jan.o’connor@northshorecity.govt.nz, joy.brett@northshorecity.govt.nz, ken.mckay@northshorecity.govt.nz, kevin.schwass@northshorecity.govt.nz, lisa.whyte@northshorecity.govt.nz, margaret.miles@northshorecity.govt.nz, parfitt.associates@xtra.co.nz, Tony Holman <tony.holman@northshorecity.govt.nz>, Vivienne Keohane <vivienne.keohane@northshorecity.govt.nz>, brentc@win.co.nz, cconroy@xtra.co.nz, cpenrose@papakura.govt.nz, katrinapiggott@yahoo.com, kiwisuperscope@xtra.co.nz, owenpringle@xtra.co.nz, p.j.jones@xtra.co.nz, pcgt.goldsmith@xtra.co.nz, sattl@xtra.co.nz, dh.parker@xtra.co.nz, gaye.harding@rodney.govt.nz, grevwalker@clear.net.nz, john.kirikiri@rodney.govt.nz, june.turner@rodney.govt.nz, michael.goudie@gmail.com, pdel@xtra.co.nz, penny.webster@rodney.govt.nz, powellg@xtra.co.nz, ross.craig@rodney.govt.nz, suzanne.weld@rodney.govt.nz, zane.taylor@rodney.govt.nz, Wayne Walker <wayne@waynewalker.co.nz>, bruce.robertson@oag.govt.nz, phillippa.smith@oag.govt.nz, tinz@paradise.net.nz, Transparency International <ti@transparency.org>, Rosslyn Noonan <rosslynn@hrc.co.nz>, Sylvia Bell <sylviab@hrc.co.nz>, michaelW@hrc.co.nz, emma.miles@police.govt.nz, “andrew.coster” <Andrew.Coster@police.govt.nz>, “mike.webb” <Mike.Webb@police.govt.nz>, “Bernard.Orsman@nzherald.co.nz” <bernard.orsman@nzherald.co.nz>, bernard.hickey@interest.co.nz, Fran O’Sullivan <fran.osullivan@xtra.co.nz>, audrey.young@nzherald.co.nz, john.armstrong@nzherald.co.nz, phil kitchin <phil.kitchin@dompost.co.nz>, philt@times.co.nz, imogen.neale@snl.co.nz, Ian Wishart <ian@investigatemagazine.com>, editor <editor@uncensored.co.nz>, willie@newstalkzb.co.nz, jtamihere@radiolive.co.nz, keith@truewines.co.nz, keith.locke@parliament.govt.nz, janderson@nbr.co.nz, “Anthony Hubbard (SUN)” <anthony.hubbard@star-times.co.nz>
29 September 2009
OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RODNEY HIDE –
RE: INVESTIGATION OF NZ UNITED WATER CONTRACTS
Dear Minister,
Attached to this email is a copy of the ‘Statement of Claim’, filed on behalf of the Plaintiff, SA Water Corporation, by the Crown Solicitor for the State of South Australia, in the matter between:
SA WATER CORPORATION v UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY ACN 069471334
in the Supreme Court of South Australia.
In brief, UNITED WATER INTERNATIONAL PTY, is being sued by SA WATER CORPORATION, for alleged ‘breach of contract’, and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’,  for failing to disclose, when calculating its profit on ‘Lump Sum Charges’, all its corporate overhead costs for United Water’s other operations (including in New Zealand and Ballarat).
This is allegedly in breach of clauses 8 and 14 of the Contract and clause 2(c) of Schedule E to the Contract (which only entitle United Water to charge for costs incurred by it in rendering the Services to SA Water.
These are significant and serious charges.
“The remedies sought are:
1) A order setting aside the 2003 Contract under Section 87 of the Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth) and Section 85 of the Fair Trading Act (SA) and for misrepresentation.
2) Damages for breach of Contract.
3.Damages pursuant to Section 82 of the Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth).
4) Damages pursuant to Section 84 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA).
5) Damages pursuant to Section 7 of the Misrepresentation Act, 1972 (SA).
6) Further or in the alternative, orders as the Court think appropriate pursuant to Section 87 of Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and Section 85 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA) to compensate SA Water for the loss and damage sufered by reason of the conduct of United Water in contravention of Section 52 of Trade Practices Act, 1974 (Cth) and Section 56 of the Fair Trading Act, 1987 (SA).
7. Interest.
8. Costs.
9. Further or other relief as the Court thinks fit.”
A) Please advise as Minister of Local Government, which is the most appropriate body/authority to investigate:
1) Each of the following United Water contracts in order to establish that they were not based on fraudulent and misrepresented pricing, which, as I understand it, would, if proven, be grounds for the ‘setting aside’ of the following United Water New Zealand contracts.
a) Papakura Concession
b) Ruapehu Operations and Maintenance
c) Thames Coromandel Operations and Maintenance
d) Wellington Wastewater Treatment Plants
e) Waitomo Operations and Maintenance
f)  Franklin Operations and Maintenance
g) Queenstown Operations and Maintenance
2) The role played, (if any) by employees of Watercare Services Ltd, in the securing of these United Water New Zealand contracts, particularly that of the ex-Mayor of Papakura District Council, Mr David Hawkins, now ‘Corporate Liaison Manager’ for Watercare Services, (currently seconded to work for the Auckland Transition Agency),who played a significant role in the establishing of the United Water (Papakura) contract in 1997.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ for Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
sawater sclaim.pdf
492K

_____________________________________________

5) In the interests of ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ government – please provide the names of any/all  groups / organisations/ individuals; and minutes/emails reports/ records of any/all meetings or discussions pertaining to the ‘lobbying’ of yourself, in your capacity as a Cabinet Minister for any of these above-mentioned proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation.
6) Please provide a declaration of any interests (pecuniary or non-pecuniary), you have in the following:
a) Any privately-owned water services provider.
b) Any company that is or could be involved in the building or construction of water and wastewater treatment plants.
c) Any company that has any form of involvement in the procurement or facilitation of ‘Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure including water services, including accountancy, legal, consultancy advisory role.
7) Please provide a declaration of any interests (pecuniary or non-pecuniary), all/any of your Ministerial staff have in the following:
a) Any privately-owned water services provider.
b) Any company that is or could be involved in the building or construction of water and wastewater treatment plants.
c) Any company that has any form of involvement in the procurement or facilitation of ‘Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure, particularly water services, including lobbying,accountancy, legal, consultancy, or advisory roles.
8) Please provide a declaration of any interests (pecuniary or non-pecuniary), all/any of staff employed by the Department of Internal Affairs (including consultants/private contractors) have in the following:
a) Any privately-owned water services provider.
b) Any company that is or could be involved in the building or construction of water and wastewater treatment plants.
c) Any company that has any form of involvement in the procurement or facilitation of ‘Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure particularly water services, including lobbying,accountancy, legal, consultancy, or advisory roles.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ for Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
________________________________________________________________
5) ‘STANDARD’ OIA REPLIES FROM ALL TWENTY NATIONAL PARTY CABINET MINISTERS, INCLUDING PRIME MINISTER JOHN KEY:
WPG WATER PRIVATISATION UNITED WATER OIA REPLY FROM JOHN KEY RE WATER PRIVATISATION 19 November 2009.pdf 164K

“………………………………
Your Request Numbered 4

4) Please provide all/any information which confirms that you, as a Cabinet Minister:
(a) Were made aware of the fact that private water company United Water International Pty, which currently has seven contracts with Councils in New Zealand, is being sued by the Crown Solicitor for the State of South Australia…
in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

The only information identified as coming within the scope of this part of your request is the email you sent to the Prime Minister’s email address, the content of which you copied into your request.

(b) and that you as a Cabinet Minister, applied due diligence and gave due consideration to this fact before arriving at the above-mentioned Cabinet decision to facilitate privatisation of water services in New Zealand.

I can assure you that the Prime Minister is extremely diligent and gives due consideration to every matter considered by Cabinet.

___________________________

Your Requests Numbered 1-3

1) All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms how these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation serve the ‘public interest’ of the majority of citizens and ratepayers as opposed to the ‘private interests’ of those who own/operate and/ or manage the water services ‘contracting companies’ – (including water multinationals such as Veolia who own United Water).

2) All.any information upon which you are relying which provides the conclusive EVIDENCE that such legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation, as proposed, including the PPP/BOOT model are in fact more ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’ delivery methods for water services.

3) All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms that these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation are being ‘triggered’ by ratepayers and residents, as opposed to privately-owned water services providers, and those whose role it is to facilitate ‘Public Private partnerships for water services. ie WHO WANTS and is pushing for the privatisation of New Zealand water services?

Information relating to water infrastructure regulation in the Local Government Act was provided to Cabinet by the Minister of Local Gvoernment. These first three questions appear to be more closely connected to the responsibilities of the Minister of Local Government.  Accordingly, I am transferring yout request to the Minister’s Office under section 14 of the Official Information Act.

6) REPLY FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER RODNEY HIDE
DATED 10 DECEMBER 2009

WPG WATER PRIVATISATION CABINET OIAs Rodney Hide 10 Dec 2009.pdf 83K

10 December 2009

Official Information Act request

I refer to your requests of 6 November 2009 to the Prime Minister, Hon Simon Power, Hon Dr Nick Smith and hon David Carter for information relating to proposed changes to aspects of the local Government Act 2002 and water infrastructure.  Questions one, two and three of these requests have been transferred to me, udner section 14 of the Official Information and Meetings Act 1982 (the Act), as these questions relate more closely to my responsibilities as Minister of Local Government.

I understand that other Ministers to whom you addressed your request have written to you directly advising you that as the Prime Minister has already transferred questions one to three to me, there does not appear to be any advantage to you in making additional transfers.

You have asked for the following information:

  • All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms how these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation serve the ‘public interest’ of the majority of citizens and ratepayers as opposed to the ‘private interests’ of those who own/operate and/ or manage the water services ‘contracting companies’ – (including water multinationals such as Veolia who own United Water).
  • All.any information upon which you are relying which provides the conclusive EVIDENCE that such legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation, as proposed, including the PPP/BOOT model are in fact more ‘effective’ and ‘efficient’ delivery methods for water services.
  • All/any information upon which you are relying which confirms that these proposed legislative changes to facilitate water privatisation are being ‘triggered’ by ratepayers and residents, as opposed to privately-owned water services providers, and those whose role it is to facilitate ‘Public Private partnerships for water services. ie WHO WANTS and is pushing for the privatisation of New Zealand water services?

I advise you that the proposed legislative changes do not facilitate water privatisation.  Therefore, no information relating to these parts of your request has been identified.
I am, accordingly declining these parts of your request under section 18(e) of the Act because the information requested does not exist.
…………….”

7) DEFINITION OF WATER PRIVATISATION WHICH CONFIRM THAT IT COVERS BOTH THE OPERATION/MANAGEMENT OF WATER SERVICES ASSETS AS WELL AS ‘OWNERSHIP.”

http://www.ppiaf.org/documents/e-book_PSP_Impact_Electricity_Water_Distribution.pdf

Does Private Sector Participation Improve Performance in Electricity
and Water Distribution?

Katharina Gassner

Pg 3

Differentiation by Contract Type

Much past research has concentrated on “pure privatization”—permanent
private control over business assets and associated rights.

But because of natural monopoly features and social and political considerations, full divestiture of assets is rare in electricity and especially so in water and sanitation.

The study therefore examines the broad range of legal arrangements for involving the private sector—management and lease contracts, concessions, and partial as well as full divestitures—using the transfer of operating rights to determine whether a utility is privately operated.

The results are differentiated by type of contract. The strength of the PSP
impact is expected to vary by contract type, and the predominant type differs
by sector: divestitures (full and partial) account for most PSP cases in electricity
distribution, and concessions account for most in water and sanitation.”

WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING FROM THE LONG-TERM LEASE OF THE PIPES
THE PUBLIC HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR?

Back to the public or the private ‘operators’?

Follow the income stream………………

Who ‘owns’ the ‘own’ part of the BOOT scheme?

(BOOT – “Build Own Operate Transfer”)

8) OFFICIAL INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS TO SEVEN NEW ZEALAND COUNCILS WHO HAVE UNITED WATER CONTRACTS:

a) Papakura Concession
b) Ruapehu Operations and Maintenance
c) Thames Coromandel Operations and Maintenance
d) Wellington Wastewater Treatment Plants
e) Waitomo Operations and Maintenance
f)  Franklin Operations and Maintenance
g) Queenstown Operations and Maintenance

On 27 April 2010, I sent essentially the same OIA request  to each of the above-mentioned Councils with United Water contracts.

Following is the letter sent to Ruapehu District Council:

“27 April 2010 

Ruapehu District Council
CEO
David Hammond

URGENT’ OPEN LETTER/ OIA REQUEST TO THE CEO OF THE WAITOMO DISTRICT COUNCIL
RE: UNITED WATER CONTRACT:

Dear David,

Under the ‘urgency’ provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 , I require this information by Tuesday 4 May 2010 5pm.

This is because I have been asked to give evidence by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee by 7 May 2010 in support of  the following petition:

Petition 2008/60 of Penelope Mary Bright and 171 others, presented by Su’a William Sio, on 9 December 2009 – referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

“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.”
______________________________

BACKGROUND PROVIDED BY UNITED WATER 

_____________________________________________________________

Our services

Veolia Water operates more than 4,400 contracts in 64 countries, providing water and wastewater services to more than 139 million people.

Founded more than 150 years ago in France and originally known as Compagnie Générale des Eaux, Veolia Water is the worldwide leader in water services, employing more than 93,000 people.

Veolia Water’s expertise covers each stage of water cycle management including:

  • Managing the operations and maintenance of water and wastewater services as outsourced by public authorities and industry
  • Designing, building and supplying water equipment, systems and treatment facilities

Veolia Water also supports sustainable development to conserve water resources and provides the capabilities to establish alternative water sources.

Veolia Water is the water division of the world leader in environmental services, Veolia Environnement – which offers solutions in waste management, energy and transport.

______________________________________________________________

PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1) Copies of the ‘public advertisments’ (if any) for the ‘Request For Tender’, prior to the awarding of this contract to United Water, which confirm that the ‘tender process’ was open.

2) Copies of the ‘request for tender’ from the Ruapehu District Council to potential contractors/suppliers,  which confirm that the ‘tender process’ was open to other contractors than just United Water.

3) Copies of the ‘Terms of tender’.

4) Information which confirms the  names and positions of those who  drew up the tender document (s).

5) Information which confirms the names and positions of those who evaluated the tenders.

6) Documentation which explained the roles and responsibilities of each tender evaluation committee member at that time.

7) Documentation which explained the roles and responsibilities of the tender evaluation committee convenor at that time.

8) Information which confirms the documenting of  a ‘Register of Interests’ (or the like), for those involved in drawing up the tender document(s), and those involved in evaluating and awarding the tender(s), in order to establish that there were no ‘conflicts of interest’.

9) A copy of the ‘Evaluation Matrix’, (or equivalent document), including an explanation of how the ‘tenders’ were scored.

10) A copy of the information which outlines the processes involved in signing the Evaluation Matrix’, (or equivalent document).

11) A copy of the signed Evaluation Matrix’, (or equivalent document.

12) A copy of the information which outlines the processes involved in preparing report recommending the preferred tender.

13) A copy of the report recommending the preferred tender.

14) A copy of the ‘Agreement and contract’.

15) A copy of the ‘Terms of contract’.

16) Copies of any subsequent contract variations

17) Copies of  full financial statements i.e. Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet from United Water, on an annual basis, since the awarding of this contract.

18) All information (if any) pertaining to all/any ‘lobbying’ by any person or any agent acting for United Water/Veolia   in order to assist their bid for this contract, including but not limited to: meeting minutes/reports/ letters/emails/recorded telephone conversations.

19) All information (if any) pertaining to all/any ‘lobbying’, by any person or any agent of Watercare Services Ltd, in particular, but not limited to Mark Ford, David Hawkins, or Graham Wood, in order to assist United Water /Veolia in their bid for this contract.

20) Copies of any/all audit documents regarding the tendering process and awarding of this contract to United Water by:

a) Council’s internal auditing body.
b) The Office of the Auditor General.

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                                                   https://waterpressure.wordpress.com
___________________________________________________________________

9) RESPONSES FROM NEW COUNCILS WITH UNITED WATER CONTRACTS:

(I can provide this evidence for the Select Committee.)

a) Papakura Concession
Have provided electronic copies of the original contract and variations.

b) Ruapehu Operations and Maintenance
Have provided over 600 hard copy pages of documentation, including evidence that United Water put in the cheapest tender and won the contract in 2002.

(Did United Water misrepresent their pricing in order to win this contract?)

c) Thames Coromandel Operations and Maintenance
Have yet to provide any information – they want to charge for information.

d) Wellington Wastewater Treatment Plants
Have provided electronic copies of information.
e) Waitomo Operations and Maintenance

Have yet to provide any information – want to charge for information.

f)  Franklin Operations and Maintenance

Have yet to provide any information.

g) Queenstown Operations and Maintenance

Have provided electronic copies of some information relating to tendering for contract.

10) UPDATE FROM AUSTRALIA REGARDING DEVELOPMENTS WITH UNITED WATER SOUTH AUSTRALIA COURT CASE.

I contacted a South Australian Reporter from ‘The Australian’ who emailed me the following copy of this article which he wrote:

“Hi Penny, as discussed, latest article in the local paper here. My details are below. Please email me details of your case. Cheers

The Advertiser, Edition 1 – State THU 08 APR 2010, Page 020

Pledge to reveal result of water-bill dispute

By: SEAN FEWSTER, COURT REPORTER

Click here for full page image in PDF format

THERE is new hope that taxpayers will learn if they were tricked into overpaying United Water millions of dollars, even though a lawsuit with the Rann Government has been abandoned.
For seven months, the two sides have bickered over claims United Water overcharged taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars” for its services from 2001 to 2006.


The Rann Government claimed the multi-national corporation used the money to fund its operations in Ballarat and New Zealand.


Yesterday, the parties told The Advertiser they had mutually agreed to discontinue their Supreme Court lawsuits.
The matter will now be considered by an independent expert, who will rule whether or not United Water‘s prices in that period were fair.
Though the dispute will be heard behind closed doors, United Water chairman Mike Terlet said there was no reason its result should not be made public.
“The public will have an interest in the outcome of this review, and we will have no objections should the State Government and SA Water decide to inform them.”
In September, SA Water filed court papers accusing United Water of overcharging by “tens of millions of dollars”.
Treasurer Kevin Foley said it was “impossible to quantify” how much more people had paid for their water bills.
United
Water accused the Government of “blackening” its name by “publicly brandishing” its lawsuit.
It filed a counter-claim, saying the Government was trying to “bully” contract re-negotiations and “play cards” with its confidential files.
Yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Foley said he was confident the review would be made public, provided confidentiality agreements were not required.
“The most important outcome is for taxpayers to get the money we believe is rightfully theirs,” he said.

Michael Owen

South Australian Political Reporter

The Australian, The Weekend Australian

Adelaide Bureau

31 Waymouth Street

Adelaide SA 5000

Australia

Telephone: +61 8 8206 2610

Mobile: 0400-042-214

Fax: +61 8 8206 3688

Email: owenm@theaustralian.com.au

Online: www.theaustralian.com.au

______________________________________________________________

11)THERE APPEARS TO NOT HAVE BEEN ‘OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY’ IN THE STRATEGIC POSITIONING OF PRO-UNITED WATER PERSONNEL INTO KEY EXECUTIVE STAFF APPOINTMENTS – FIRST AT WATERCARE – THEN AT THE AUCKLAND TRANSITION AGENCY (ATA).

A) Strategic positioning of pro-United Water personnel into key executive staff positions at Watercare.

i) In 2000, the ex-privatising Mayor of Papakura, David Hawkins who played a pivotal role in helping to railroad through the United Water Papakura ‘concession’ was appointed ‘Corporate Liason Manager’ at Watercare Services Ltd by CEO Mark Ford.

ii) In 2007 (or thereabouts) the ex-managing Director of United Water South Australia, Graham Wood, was appointed General Manager for Operations for Watercare Services by CEO Mark Ford.

I have yet to meet any Councillor in the Auckland region who knew about the former role of Graham Wood, as ex-Managing Director of United Water South Australia.

I have found nothing in any Watercare Annual Report that gives this information.

B) Strategic positioning of pro-United Water personnel into key executive staff positions at ATA.

i) The ex-CEO of Watercare, Mark Ford,  is the current CEO of the ATA.
Graham Wood

Tr a n s i t i o n T i m e s I S S U E 0 2 » 2 5 S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 9

Council-controlled organisations, trusts and investments

Contact chris.mackenzie@ata.govt.nz

We have met with council managers responsible for council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and discussed information discovery requirements. Further work on analysis and design will occur.

– In water, nine work streams are being consolidated into two which focus on operations and customers.

The integration programme manager is Graham Wood of Watercare. An ATA Advisory Group on governance has been established. Its members are Graham Hawkins (Chair), Peter Drummond, Ian Parton, Ross Keenan and Jane Latimer.

SUMMARY:

There appears to have been a failure of ‘due diligence’ at the highest levels of the New Zealand Government, namely Cabinet, to ensure that United Water’s seven New Zealand contracts have not been based on misrepresented pricing.

The evidence shows that Cabinet (and the Minister of Local Government) has been given critical information – including the South Australia Water ‘Statement of Claim’ which outlines very clearly the allegations of overcharging South Australian United Water ‘customers’ by transferring corporate overhead costs from New Zealand United Water operations – but to date apparently has done nothing to investigate these allegations.

The changes proposed in  the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill will make it easier for such private sector contracts – but how can the  House of Representatives allow these changes  which could help to spread a model which may be based on fraudulent misrepresentation?

It would make sense for United Water to put in cheaper tenders, and keep prices low, in order to win contracts to establish a foothold in New Zealand.

Is that what they have done?

A full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts in New Zealand must be undertaken forthwith; including an investigation of the role played by Executive Staff of Watercare Services, namely: Mark Ford, David Hawkins and Graham Wood.

The House of Representatives must exercise ‘prudent stewardship’ and ‘fiscal     responsibility’  – thus 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’, until this full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts in New Zealand has been undertaken.

I wish to be heard on this matter.

If I can be of any further assistance to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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

waterpressure@gmail.com

Mailing address:
86a School Rd
Kingsland
Auckland 1021

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November 17, 2010 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ

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