The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

‘Open Letter’ to Pirate Party candidate Hussain A-SAADY – a couple of corrections and some information which may help you organise your own Public Meeting(s)?

13 February 2011


Dear Hussain,

Thank you for your (indirect) response to my invitation.

Please be reminded that the three Public Meetings that I have organised are NOT candidates meetings.

They are effectively MY ‘Public Watchdog’ meetings – primarily in order to help inform the voting public about corruption at local and central government level and within the judiciary, and privatisation (particularly concerning water privatisation with which I have been involved since July 1998).

As Public Meetings, you are entitled to attend as any other member of the public.

I am under no obligation whatsoever to set aside ANY time for other candidates, (including yourself) to give their policy positions, at ‘MY’ Public Meetings.

All candidates have the equal ability to organise similar public meetings to help inform the voting public about any issue.

(It appears that I am the only candidate, to date, that has availed myself of this opportunity).

You may not be aware of the law which covers this situation.

In order to assist so that you too can organise similar meetings, and similarly invite other candidates (if you so wish) and give them a brief amount of time to express their views on the topics that are significant to you – here is information which may be helpful to you:


The  Electoral Act 1993, Section 154   can be summarised as follows:

*”Using schoolrooms for election meetings*

*Candidates are entitled to hold election meetings in public schoolrooms free of charge (apart from the cost of lighting, cleaning and repairing any damage).

*Three days notice must be given to the governing body of the school.*

*Applications must be granted on a “first come first served” basis.”*

(I have included the full section of the Act as follows:

Electoral Act 1993

154 Use of public schoolrooms for election meetings
(1) Any candidate at an election may, for the purpose of holding public meetings of electors for electoral purposes during the period of an election, use free of charge, other than the cost of lighting and heating, and of cleaning after use, and of repairing any damage done, any suitable room in any public primary school or intermediate school or secondary school after the ordinary school hours, subject to the following provisions:
(a) 3 days’ notice of the proposed public meeting shall be given to the governing body of the school:
(b) the use of the school shall be granted in the order of receipt of applications by or on behalf of the candidates:
(c) no candidate shall have the use of the same room on a second occasion if any other candidate who has not before used it desires to make use of it at the same time under this section.
(2) If it is proved that any such meeting was not a public meeting within the meaning of this section, the person by whom and the candidate on whose behalf the meeting was convened shall each be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the term candidate means—
(a) any person who has declared his or her intention of becoming a candidate either by advertisement in a newspaper, or by circular, or by announcement at a public meeting, or by duly consenting to nomination, but does not include a candidate who has withdrawn his or her nomination; or
(b) any person whose name has been included in a list submitted under section 127.
Compare: 1956 No 107 s 90; 1975 No 28 s 35(1)(a); 1990 No 1 s 42(1), (2)


2) The reason why I extended an opportunity for Green Party’s  Richard Leckinger to address the meeting, although he is not a candidate is because I felt sorry for him in that he had just missed out on getting his nomination in on time, and still wanted to hear Green Party policy on privatisation and corruption.
(I’m sure other members of the public would also be interested).

(If the roles were reversed – I would very much an opportunity to put my view.)

Please be advised Hussain, that if I were to receive a similar invitation from you to attend a Public Meeting organised by yourself (or the Pirate Party), and was given a brief opportunity to state my views on the topic(s) of your choice, I for one, would be delighted to accept.

As a matter of courtesy, I would also respond directly to yourself, in the first instance.

(RSVP – sort of thing  🙂

Hope this clarifies matters and the information provided is of assistance to you.

Kind regards,

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.

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

Open response to Penny Bright regarding her invitation to attend public meetings.

…respectfully must decline for reasons:
* unequal time
* only your issues.
* Greens vs other non-candidates
* misrepresentation as “independent” mention her candidacy in Bb-e (not neutral)
* control of who the audience is
* speaking time at the end, which invariably gets dropped or shortened
* as she points out – it’s not related to the by-election
* difference between freedom of speech “expression” and “equal speaking time”
*******Start of letter******
Dear Ms. Bright,
Thank you for the invitation to attend “Public Meetings Organized by ‘Independent Public Watchdog’ Penny Bright”, however I must respectfully decline the invitation. I feel it necessary to decline based on my own moral beliefs in [what?]equal and fair representation at any public speaking opportunity%alternatively, talk about how 2 minutes speaking time does not mean freedom of speach, censorship rant%. I understand that this meeting is being billed as an equal opportunity for the various candidates to speak, however, I note that the meetings were described as “not candidates meetings”, and that the itinerary is to has been chosen by you, the meeting facilitated by you, and I assume the bulk of the speaking will be by you as well. To hold a meeting in which one candidate chooses the agenda, gets the bulk of the speaking and controls the topic and flow of the meeting is hardly fair or equal to the other candidates, and interferes with their ability to address the topics and questions fully.
As a candidate for MP of the Botany district I can wholly appreciate Penny’s stance on the topics of transparency and corruption in our government (and indeed it is even one of my own policies and that of the Pirate Party as well).  However, focusing solely on this one topic leaves out any number of other topics which are equally important to myself and surely to other candidates here.  I feel that it is important to address issues which are significant to all candidates who are speaking at the meeting.  Some of the issues that I find very important are:
* Patent reform –
* Copyright reform –
* Censorship –
* Government transparency (we probably don’tneed to include this one)
* Freedom of speech –
* Right to individual privacy –
[we need to list a blurb about each of the above issues] – i disagree – it will become tl;dr. leave that for elsewhere (or below the ——–). Keep the list though.
If Ms. Bright would accomodate and add these issues to the agenda, as well as other ones proposed by other candidates in attendance, I would be more likely to attend.
I would also like to point out  that speaking time for each candidate is allocated at the end of the  meetings, which often means that there is inadequate time for each candidate to address issues, interfering with their ability to express  their opinion or rebuttal fully.
And so it is with the utmost regret that I feel that I must decline Miss Bright’s gracious invitation to attend her public meetings.
[…] although the Pirate Party and I feel that government corruption and transparency are very important issues, and although PPNZ advocates for [policy], these meetings are not primarily about the Botany by-election.
———————–maybe the following:———————–
Despite my decision not to attend these meetings, I would like to comment on the issues listed in the [agenda] for the “PUBLIC MEETINGS ORGANISED BY INDEPENDENT ‘PUBLIC WATCHDOG’ PENNY BRIGHT”.
–          Water privatisation & NZ ‘grand’ corruption. ???
–          Corruption and the Auckland $UPERCITY . accuse Len Brown?
–          Where EXACTLY are our rate$ being spent? PPNZ agrees this should be public information and advocates publishing govt expenses over [value] online.
–          Why a proposed $UPERCITY 5% rate increase? Note that this is against an election pledge, but [that is ok with just cause]. If [PPNZ policy was implimented] then specific spending could be criticised.
Public Meeting: Sunday 20 February 2011, 3 – 5pm
Tangaroa College, Haumia Way, Flat Bush.
–          To whom exactly is NZ in debt? public, private, or both?
–          Where EXACTLY are our taxes being spent? restate [PPNZ policy]
–          Who will benefit from future privatisation? talk about state vs user co-operative ownership wrt ability to control the message.
Public Meeting: Sunday 27 February 2011, 3 – 5pm
Somerville Intermediate, 39 Somerville Rd, Somerville.
–          NZ ‘WHITE COLLAR’ CRIME & CORRUPTION? make it about how big content has undue influence over legislature, and also ACTA.
–          How did over 60 finance companies collapsein NZ maybe individual privacy? maybe how RBNZ has too close connections to finance companies and banks?
– ‘the least corrupt country in the world’? well… compare to countries that have serious problems, though there is still some room for improvement.

February 12, 2011 - Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Transparency in Govt spending

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