The Watchdog

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OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF AUCKLAND COUNCIL RE: FOLLOW UP TO MATTERS REGARDING TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND WATER PRIVATISATION,RAISED BY PENNY BRIGHT AT THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL GOVERNING BODY MEETING 16 DECEMBER 2010.

OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF AUCKLAND COUNCIL RE:

FOLLOW UP TO MATTERS I RAISED AT THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL GOVERNING BODY
MEETING 16 DECEMBER 2010  REGARDING TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY,
AND WATER PRIVATISATION:

.

(Already emailed to the Mayor Len Brown and all Auckland Councillors and Local Board members).

10 February 2011

OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF AUCKLAND COUNCIL –
RE: FOLLOW UP TO MATTERS I RAISED AT THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL GOVERNING BODY MEETING 16 DECEMBER 2010:

Mayor of  Auckland Council
Len Brown.

Dear Len,

You granted me speaking rights for the meeting of the Governance Body of Auckland Council on 16 December 2010.

SUBJECT MATTER:


“1) Having just returned from Transparency International’s
14th International Anti-Corruption Conference (10 – 13 November 2010), I wish to raise with the Auckland Council, the  serious lack of  ‘transparency’ regarding information (not) being made available to citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region.

[Please be reminded that New Zealand is ‘perceived’  to be the least corrupt country in the world (along with Denmark and Singapore).  Arguably – New Zealand should therefore be the ‘most transparent’?]

a) The failure of former Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency  – Mark Ford, to provide information requested under the OIA, on 25 June 2010, on any of the following matters relating to his appointment of known ‘water privatisers’ involved with United Water to key ‘Executive staff’ positions at Watercare, and related matters:

b) The declining of my OIA request dated 11 October 2010,  to the former Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency  – Mark Ford – which requested information on rates expenditure in the Auckland region:

2) Developments with the ‘railroading’ of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2010, and implications regarding the application of  ‘due diligence’ to the current seven New Zealand United Water contracts.

(Please note that South Australia Water are NOT renewing their contract with United Water South Australia.)

3) The continuing persecution of Water Pressure Group members over disputed water services accounts.”


It was resolved, and minuted that the following would happen:

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/governingbodyminutes20101216.pdf

8. DEPUTATIONS:

8.1 Deputation – Ms Penny Bright

Resolution number GB/2010/34

MOVED by Councillor Cathy Casey, seconded by Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse

a) That the report be received.
b) That Ms Penny Bright be thanked for her presentation.
c) that the issues raised by Penny Bright be forwarded to the appropriate Committee or Forum.
– CARRIED “

____________________________________________________

(Please be reminded that my presentation, and responses from elected representatives have been recorded on video, for the public record.)

Although I have raised this matter with the appropriate senior member of ‘Democracy’ Services on more than one occasion – I have received no official ‘outcome’.

These are serious matters.

WHAT issues have gone WHERE exactly?

I look forward to your prompt reply, as I will be discussing these issues at my Botany by-election campaign meeting dealing with privatisation and ‘grand’ corruption at local government level on Sunday 13 February 2011, at Botany Downs Secondary College, 575 Chapel Rd, Dannemora, from 3- 5pm.

Yours sincerely,

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

Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th Anti-Corruption Conference 2010
Auckland Mayoral Candidate 2010.
Independent Candidate Botany by-election 2011.

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127


___________________________________________________________________________________

REQUEST FOR ‘SPEAKING RIGHTS’ – FULL VERSION WITH BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Subject: ‘Open Letter’ / Request for ‘Speaking Rights’ at Auckland Council meeting Thursday 16 December 2010


6 December 2010


Auckland Council Mayor
Len Brown

Dear Len,

I am requesting ‘speaking rights’ at the next meeting of Auckland Council to be held on Thursday 16 December 2010, under provision SO 3.20.1 of Auckland Council Standing Orders, as advised by  Auckland Council Democracy Services Advisor, Mike Giddey:

“In essence SO 3.20.1 says deputations may be received provided an application has been lodged with the Chief Executive at least 7 working days before the date of the meeting concerned and has been subsequently approved by the Chairperson (Mayor).

As you said on the phone your best bet would be to lodge your application with me and I will forward it to the Chief Executive and the Mayor for approval.”


SUBJECT MATTER:

1) Having just returned from Transparency International’s
14th International Anti-Corruption Conference
(10 – 13 November 2010), I wish to raise with the Auckland Council, the  serious lack of  ‘transparency’ regarding information (not) being made available to citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region.

[Please be reminded that New Zealand is ‘perceived’  to be the least corrupt country in the world (along with Denmark and Singapore).  Arguably – New Zealand should therefore be the ‘most transparent’?]

a) The failure of former Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency  – Mark Ford, to provide information requested under the OIA, on 25 June 2010, on any of the following matters relating to his appointment of known ‘water privatisers’ involved with United Water to key ‘Executive staff’ positions at Watercare, and related matters:


__________________________________________________

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.

( http://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.


http://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 contractsas 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

______________________________


b) The declining of my OIA request dated 11 October 2010,  to the former Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency  – Mark Ford – which requested information on rates expenditure in the Auckland region:

11 October 2010

OPEN LETTER/OIA REQUEST TO THE EXECUTIVE CHAIR OF  THE AUCKLAND TRANSITION AGENCY- MARK FORD:

Where EXACTLY are public rates monies being spent NOW across the Auckland region?

PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1) On a Council by Council basis:

Franklin, Papakura, and Rodney District Councils;
Auckland, Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore City Councils;
Auckland Regional Council

Which services are:

a)  Currently provided ‘in-house’;
b)  Provided by a Council Controlled Organisation(CCO);
c)  Contracted out;
d)  Not Applicable (not provided by that Council)?

2) On a Council by Council basis:

Franklin, Papakura, and Rodney District Councils;
Auckland, Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore City Councils;
Auckland Regional Council

For each one of the 112 ‘Council service’s, on a ‘one-by-one’ basis, please provide the following information on those services  which have been ‘contracted out’:

a) The name of the contractor.
b) The length of the contract.
c) The value of the contract.
d) The general ‘scope’ of the contract.

The provision of this information will provide,  for the FIRST TIME, to citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region, a very accurate and current picture of WHERE EXACTLY OUR  public rates monies are being spent.  ….”

_____________________________________________________

THIS OIA REQUEST WAS DECLINED:

“We hereby decline your request as information requested cannot be made available without substantial collation or research.”

Bruce Thomas
Public Information Manager
Auckland Transition Agency

(Please be reminded of the following statutory duty which arises from the Public Records Act 2005

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345729.html?search=ts_act_Public+Records+Act+2005_resel&p=1#DLM345729

17 Requirement to create and maintain records
(1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.
(2) Every public office must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all public records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act or required by or under another Act.
(3) Every local authority must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all protected records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act.

2) Developments with the ‘railroading’ of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2010, and implications regarding the application of  ‘due diligence’ to the current seven New Zealand United Water contracts.

(Please note that South Australia Water are NOT renewing their contract with United Water South Australia.)

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

United Water losing Adelaide contract

Posted Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:13pm AEST

United Water loses Adelaide contract (7pm TV News SA)

United Water and its 470 local workers have lost the contract to manage Adelaide pipe and sewerage network.

SA Water has decided not to shortlist the French-owned company for a new contract, due to start from the middle of next year.

The South Australian Government last year accused United Water of breaching its contract.

Treasurer Kevin Foley says people have been paying too much for their water.

“South Australian water users have paid more for water to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by a failed Liberal government water privatisation to the French,” he said.

A case went to court but both parties recently agreed to allow an independent expert to resolve their dispute.  ……………”

_____________________________________________________

3) The continuing persecution of Water Pressure Group members over disputed water services accounts.

(Please be advised that I have included detailed background information FYI which I do not intend to cover in full.
My proposed address to Council will be brief and to the point.)


Yours sincerely,

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

Attendee: Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009
Attendee: Transparency International’s 14th Anti-Corruption Conference 2010

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

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February 10, 2011 - Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Transparency in Govt spending

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