The Watchdog

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Jane Burgermeister Report: Latest ‘Irish Independent’ articles on Ireland and bank crisis:

5 April 2011


A week is a very long time in the disastrous world of Irish banking: Irish Independent

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Bankers’ criminal negligence, political incompetence and the ECB have all combined to dump the ‘costliest’ bailout in history on to the Irish taxpayer, writes Daniel McConnell

Sunday April 03 2011 Irish Independent

Last Thursday was to be the day that Ireland would finally liberate itself from the worst financial crisis in its history.

But what happened?

We, the taxpayers, shovelled another €24bn into our busted banks (of which only two will be left standing); Ireland was shafted by the ECB, which failed to deliver on a promised medium-term funding facility; the Government U-turned on its election promise to burn bondholders; and events in Spain and Portugal heightened the stakes even further.

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Ireland is occupied and ruled by a “Vichy Regime” acting for banks, says Irish Independent

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Gene Kerrigan: Transfer of power now truly complete

The policies imposed on the last coalition will continue into the foreseeable future, says Gene Kerrigan

Sunday April 03 2011 Irish Independent

Welcome to Occupied Ireland. We haven’t been invaded, there was no siege, but after last Thursday I trust the governing arrangements are crystal clear?

In recent weeks it wasn’t just the banks that were stress tested — the robustness of our democratic structures were assessed. And we saw the result. We are free to vote for a government, but it’s a puppet government, a Vichy regime.

The power lies with a handful of unelected EU mandarins, and the proconsuls they appoint to look after the details. The policies imposed on the late unlamented Biffo administration will continue — protect the bondholders, protect the euro, try to make up the difference by cutting services, wages and jobs. The jargon we must use to describe our rulers has been specified: “Our External Partners”.

Read more at:


Only a miracle can save financial system from complete meltdown

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Despite election pledges the Government never had any intention of burning bondholders, says James Fitzsimons

Sunday April 03 2011 Irish Independent

MICHAEL Noonan talks the talk, but last Wednesday the only walking he did was backwards. It confirms that the EU is running the show. The light we saw flicker at the end of the tunnel has been blown out and is unlikely to be rekindled any time soon.

The new Government had an opportunity to deliver on its election promises. It failed abysmally on one of the key issues. It didn’t renegotiate the EU/IMF deal to withhold repayments to the senior bondholders, as promised. It might have been shot down in flames had it persisted with this approach. But it would have preserved its credibility at home. Its proposed bank reorganisation is a whitewash, and only intended to distract us from the cover-up of what is going on at the highest level in Europe.

Read more at:


Irish Independent writer says country must snub “Frankfurt-Brussels” axis and introduce new currency

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

We need leaders who will ignore the eurobabble and just say no

The only things that will save us now are sheer bloody-mindedness — and a new currency, the punto, writes Aengus Fanning

Sunday April 03 2011 Irish Independent

IF THERE’S anything worse than having to look after your own affairs, it’s not being allowed to look after them.

We have made a dog’s dinner of managing our economy. It is a story of staggering incompetence that reached its peak on that fateful night in September 2008 when we gave an open guarantee to the banks.

I don’t believe that, even at that disastrous hour, as we perpetrated the biggest blunder in our economic history, we were doing anything other than the bidding of the Frankfurt-Brussels axis.

Read more at:

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Irish cabinet bounced into disastrous bank guarantee

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Cabinet got no say on guarantee: Willie O’Dea

Former minister was told ‘this is what we have to do’ in late night call

By DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

Sunday April 03 2011, Irish Independ

Former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea has revealed for the first time how the last Cabinet was bounced into issuing the bank guarantee, which has given a “blank cheque” to holders of senior bonds in Irish banks.

Mr O’Dea said a ‘fait accompli’ on the disastrous €440bn guarantee was presented by then Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to other ministers at 1am on the night in question.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information | Leave a comment

Jane Burgermeister Report: “Austrian Justice Minister drafts anti-corruption laws ..” introduces a ‘mandatory register for lobbyists’. Where’s NZ’s?

5 April

(Austria’s Justice Minister) Bandion-Ortner unveiled plans to establish a mandatory register for lobbyists and introduce a  fine of 10,000 euros  for MPS (Abgeordnete) who fail to list their links with lobbyists.

Where is the mandatory register for lobbyists  for ‘clean, green’ New Zealand – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ ?


Austrian Justice Minister drafts anti-corruption laws, launches media offensive

Jane Burgermeister | April 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Austria’s Justice Minister Dr Claudia Bandion-Ortner has drafted tough new laws in the wake of  corruption scandals that have rocked the country.

A bribery scandal involving an Austrian MEP Ernst Strasser who offered to influence EU bank laws in return for 100,000 euros highlighted the lax rules that have turned Austria into a “lobbying paradise”.

Bandion-Ortner unveiled plans to establish a mandatory register for lobbyists and introduce a  fine of 10,000 euros  for MPS (Abgeordnete) who fail to list their links with lobbyists.

In addition, a ban is set to be imposed on MPs promoting a cause in which they have a financial interest.

Also, new anti-corruption laws will carry a 10-year jail sentence for MPs to accept cash to change laws.

In a separate move, Social Democrat Parliament President Barbara Prammer is pushing for MPs to declare income from second jobs, adopting a model used by the German parliament to draw attention to potential conflict of interests. Read more of this post


April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information | Leave a comment

Former Pharma Rep (Gwen Olsen) Blows Whistle: Prescription Drug Industry a Scam

Former Pharma Rep Blows Whistle: Prescription Drug Industry a Scam


Read More: gwen olsen, pharmaceutical industry

Former Pharma Rep Blows Whistle: Prescription Drug Industry a Scam


A fifteen-year-veteran pharmaceutical rep from 1985 – 2000, Gwen Olsen worked for McNeil Pharmaceutical, Syntex Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott Labs and Forest Laboratories. She was a hospital rep and specialist rep for the majority of her career, educating residents in hospital teaching settings and selling prescription drugs to doctors in obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, cardiology, neurology, endocrinology and psychiatry.

Gwen has a unique industry insider’s perspective of the current U.S. healthcare dilemma, and utilizes both her experience and the insight she received in her extensive sales training with Pharma to illuminate marketing trends and illustrate how current greed and conflicts of interest make the system itself the biggest health risk to American consumers.

In the video below, Gwen blows the lid off Big Pharma’s greed motivations and how taking the pharmaceutical route, be it for heart disease, cancer, mental health or other issues, can be a tragic decision. She is an advocate of people informing themselves about diet and lifestyle, and taking charge of their health, rather than becoming victims of a warped, dishonest drug business.

For more information and videos, visit Gwen’s website at

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information | Leave a comment

The USA: ‘Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%’ – By Joseph E. Stiglitz


Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

Illustration by Stephen Doyle
May 2011

THE FAT AND THE FURIOUS The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many “good” middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role—for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent.

But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power—from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it’s tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement—we started way behind the pack, but now we’re doing inequality on a world-class level. And it looks as if we’ll be building on this achievement for years to come, because what made it possible is self-reinforcing. Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth. During the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s—a scandal whose dimensions, by today’s standards, seem almost quaint—the banker Charles Keating was asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had spread among a few key elected officials could actually buy influence. “I certainly hope so,” he replied. The Supreme Court, in its recent Citizens United case, has enshrined the right of corporations to buy government, by removing limitations on campaign spending. The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.

America’s inequality distorts our society in every conceivable way. There is, for one thing, a well-documented lifestyle effect—people outside the top 1 percent increasingly live beyond their means. Trickle-down economics may be a chimera, but trickle-down behaviorism is very real. Inequality massively distorts our foreign policy. The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military—the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that. Foreign policy, by definition, is about the balancing of national interests and national resources. With the top 1 percent in charge, and paying no price, the notion of balance and restraint goes out the window. There is no limit to the adventures we can undertake; corporations and contractors stand only to gain. The rules of economic globalization are likewise designed to benefit the rich: they encourage competition among countries for business, which drives down taxes on corporations, weakens health and environmental protections, and undermines what used to be viewed as the “core” labor rights, which include the right to collective bargaining. Imagine what the world might look like if the rules were designed instead to encourage competition among countries for workers. Governments would compete in providing economic security, low taxes on ordinary wage earners, good education, and a clean environment—things workers care about. But the top 1 percent don’t need to care.

Or, more accurately, they think they don’t. Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity, in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important. America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise: the chances of a poor citizen, or even a middle-class citizen, making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries of Europe. The cards are stacked against them. It is this sense of an unjust system without opportunity that has given rise to the conflagrations in the Middle East: rising food prices and growing and persistent youth unemployment simply served as kindling. With youth unemployment in America at around 20 percent (and in some locations, and among some socio-demographic groups, at twice that); with one out of six Americans desiring a full-time job not able to get one; with one out of seven Americans on food stamps (and about the same number suffering from “food insecurity”)—given all this, there is ample evidence that something has blocked the vaunted “trickling down” from the top 1 percent to everyone else. All of this is having the predictable effect of creating alienation—voter turnout among those in their 20s in the last election stood at 21 percent, comparable to the unemployment rate.

In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit. Governments have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests have erupted in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The ruling families elsewhere in the region look on nervously from their air-conditioned penthouses—will they be next? They are right to worry. These are societies where a minuscule fraction of the population—less than 1 percent—controls the lion’s share of the wealth; where wealth is a main determinant of power; where entrenched corruption of one sort or another is a way of life; and where the wealthiest often stand actively in the way of policies that would improve life for people in general.

As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.

Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

Joseph E. Stiglitz

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information | Leave a comment

Code of conduct for Private Investigators from 1 April 2011

4 April 2011

NZPA | Thursday March 31, 2011
Code of conduct for PIs from tomorrow

From tomorrow private investigators will be covered by a code of conduct. ”


First Private Investigators – then MPs and Judges?

Penny Bright


NZPA | Thursday March 31, 2011 | 1 comment

Code of conduct for PIs from tomorrow

From tomorrow private investigators will be covered by a code of conduct. Associate Justice Minister Nathan Guy said the code would regulate licensed private investigators.

From tomorrow private investigators will be covered by a code of conduct.

Associate Justice Minister Nathan Guy said the code would regulate licensed private investigators.

“Private investigators’ work has changed significantly over the years. Instead of mainly domestic issues, most work now focuses on alleged employee theft or insurance fraud,” he said.

The code removes an “outdated” ban on photographing or recording without consent, but places tighter restrictions on surveillance in certain locations.

For example, a private investigator would not be able to take photographs or make other recordings of a person in a private home without the consent of the lawful occupants.

It also restricted private investigators installing surveillance equipment on private property, vehicles or other personal items.

Breaches of the code could be taken to the Licensing Authority, which could impose sanctions ranging from a reprimand to suspension or cancellation of a licence or certificate.

A Department of Internal Affairs investigation team would look into complaints.

The code does not impact on existing laws such as those for trespass.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ | Leave a comment


4 April 2011

The Local Government and Environment Select Committee Report of 20 September 2007, which ruled Metrowater ‘Charitable payments’ were ‘unacceptable’:


Requesting that the House conduct an Inquiry into the charging and practices of Metrowater and Watercare Services Ltd, and the actions and practices of Auckland City Council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee.                                                                                         28 June 2007


Given the significant public interest and concern over revelations of water services pricing policy in Auckland City (namely the blatant use of Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) Metrowater’s use as a Ca$h Cow Organisation) we request the following IMMEDIATE  LEGISLATIVE action:

1)    That the proposed water charge increases, and payments from Metrowater’s ‘user-charges’

for water and wastewater to be used to subsidise Auckland City Council rates be STOPPED FORTHWITH by the House, because, for reasons following, they are UNLAWFUL.

a)   Metrowater’s scope of work both as stated in their Statement of Intent and in their ‘Customer Contract’ is only for the provision of water and wastewater services –  NOT stormwater -which are both paid for on a ‘user-pays’ basis.

(The water supply is metered and currently charged at $1.288 per m3.

The wastewater is based on a never-ending ‘guesstimate’ based on 75% of the incoming

amount of metered water and currently charged at $3.08 per m3.)

b)   Metrowater’s ‘Customer Contract’ specifically EXCLUDES stormwater.

“12 Definitions and Interpretations:

Wastewater – wastewater or sewage, excluding trade wastes as defined in the Auckland Regional Council’s Trade Waste Bylaw 1991) and the stormwater that is transported by the Auckland City Council’s stormwater drainage system”

c)   Stormwater is paid for under Auckland City Council rates, so how can it be LAWFUL to take money under a customer contract which excludes stormwater – then give it back to the Council for stormwater?

d)   How is it LAWFUL for user-charges to subsidise rates?

e)   Metrowater’s Constitution specifically excludes a ‘distribution’ being made to the shareholder, or the ‘incuring of debt to or for the benefit of the shareholder’.

Yet Metrowater are doing both! How is this LAWFUL?

e)   Are not ‘Charitable payments’ effectively a ‘Clayton’s ‘distribution’ or ‘dividend’?

f)   Since when was stormwater a ‘charity’?

g)   Doesn’t the Income Tax Act 1994, define a ‘charitable purpose’ to include ‘the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, or any other matter beneficial to the community’?  The facts are that the Metrowater price increases in order to fund more ‘charitable payments’ for stormwater are helping to create or exacerbate poverty!  Particularly when Metrowater, backed by Auckland City Council uses water restriction, and other punitive debt enforcement methods to effectively extort payment of their inflated charges.

h)     Behind closed doors on 23 May 2007, Metrowater made a major water policy pricing change in their Statement of Intent from ‘sustainable pricing’ to ‘return on public investment’.  “The Council considers that it is appropriate for Metrowater to return funds to its shareholder and supplier of capital to address the current subsidization of Metrowater’s customers by ratepayers…”

What manner of Council ‘beaurocrat babble’ is this? Metrowater customers ARE ratepayers!

i)    It is alleged that public consultation under the LTCCP was properly carried out, and that the public agreed with this proposal.  But it increases were said to be ‘small’.

j)    Under section 93 of the Local Government Act 2002 the LTCCP must use the ‘special consultative proposal’, which should have included:

Section 83 – a Statement of Proposal

“The summary of information must be a fair representation of major matters in the statement of proposal.”

There was no such statement of proposal.

Where was the ‘Statement of Proposal’ that was supposed to clearly state

2)  That section 193 of the local Government Act 2002 be STRUCK OUT  because Metrowater claim it expressly allows them (as a Council Controlled Organisation)  to restrict the flow of water to households.

a) The right to affordable safe water is a basic human right.

b) Water is VITAL  to life and ESSENTIAL to public health and sanitation.

c)  Metrowater is using that clause to act in a manner which is NOT ‘socially responsible’,and is  continuing to use water restriction as a means of debt enforcement of their inflated charges.

d)  This is against the stated advice of public health professionals who are opposed to this practice  because of the public health concerns which can be raised if families have insufficient water for health and sanitation.

3)   That Metrowater be INSTRUCTED  by this Select Committee, to CEASE FORTHWITH

their campaign of organized and systematic  intimidation use of debt enforcement proceedings against citizens, particularly Water Pressure Group  members, which we believe constitutes ‘legalised extortion’.

That Metrowater be likewise INSTRUCTED FORTHWITH to remove ALL Charging Orders which they have had placed over properties as a debt enforcement mechanism.

a)   This Committee has already been provided with the evidence of the 384 Court cases to date in which Metrowater have been named as parties to litigation – which included the unprecedented step of  initiating bankruptcy proceedings in the High Court.  Over disputed water bills!

b)   Metrowater have failed to follow their own Disputes Process, but are refusing to provide the information which would confirm this. Metrowater have had over $7 million set aside for ‘doubtful debt’ and have written off over $1.5 million of ‘bad debt’ since 1997; yet continue to persecute particularly WPG members, and are putting many of them, particularly the elderly and unwell under huge stress with threats of legal action through debt enforcement agents, lawyers and the Courts.

c)   Stress is a killer.  We have already had one WPG member, only 49 years old, die in May 2005, of heart attack, which his wife (a qualified doctor practicing in New Zealand)  believes was Metrowater stress-related. This member had a blood pressure condition, and was VERY stressed when threatened with arrest for refusing to attend a Court Order to be financially examined as to his means to pay Metrowater’s unfair, unreasonable and we believe fraudulent bill – when Metrowater had failed to follow their stated Disputes Process, as stated in their ‘Customer Charter’.

The week before he died, Metrowater has restricted the water to his household.
Metrowater then sent a letter to the grieving widow threatening to sell the family home!

d)  Metrowater has a statutory duty to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner.  This must be enforced. The recent tragic death over the disconnection of electricity has thrown the role of State Owned Enterprises (the ‘commercialised model’ at central government level) into sharp relief. Judge Salmon’s ruling needs overturning on this point.

4)   That this Committee order Metrowater, as the bare minimum to fully reimburse:

a)  Those citizens, who were intimidated into paying Metrowater accounts and legal fees by their improper  use of bankruptcy proceedings as a debt enforcement mechanism ( the Insolvency Act 1967 is for use against insolvent persons who CANNOT pay – not solvent persons who WILL NOT pay ( in the case of WPG members who had refused to pay because they were DISPUTING Metrowater’s accounts).

b)  Fully reimburse and compensate the one WPG member who was adjudicated bankrupt.

c)  Fully reimburse those who (‘unlawfully’)  had their funds seized under Garnishee Orders in the District Court once bankruptcy proceedings failed once people’s ‘pots of gold’ were identified to prove solvency.


1) METROWATER: The WPG has ten years of  accumulated evidence proving that Metrowater, the commercialized model for water and wastewater services, has effectively been a rort and a fraud perpetrated upon the public in Auckland City.

We want the ‘Abolish Metrowater Bill’ – the abolition of the commercialized profit-making model for water services and it’s replacement with the essential public service model and the abolition of user charges and fixed charges as the method of payment.

a) User-charges are NOT fairer.

They violate our basic human right to affordable water by disproportionately burdening poorer

families compared with wealthier families.

The main beneficiaries of the 20% rates reduction that occurred when Metrowater was established

were those who paid the most rates. The wealthy living in high valued properties and big companies.

Metrowater have made over $90 million profit since 1997. This is PROOF of their overcharging.

$90 million profit is NOT consistent with fair and reasonable charging and keeping tariffs to a minimum.

Over $26 million has been returned to Auckland City Council in the form of  ‘Charitable Payments’ for stormwater. This further financially cripples poorer families through user-charges to subsidise the rates particularly of wealthier families and big companies.

Fixed charges – where ‘everyone pays the same amount’ hit hardest those on low fixed incomes, like pensioners who don’t use much water.

To shift payment for water services from the owner to the occupier (ie: from landlord to tenant) will

again disproportionately burden poorer families, and violate the basic human right to affordable water.  Particularly non-payment of water bills  becomes grounds for eviction.

b) Metrowater is NOT more efficient.

Metrowater is now losing/wasting nearly 18% of the water it receives from wholesaler Watercare,

compared with 13.3% when they were forced upon us in 1997.

c) User-charges do NOT encourage water conservation and work against environmental sustainability.

The commercialized, ‘profit-making’ model is fundamentally opposed to conserving water, because the more water saved – the less income received.

65% of water used in households does NOT have to be drinking water quality. A HUGE amount!

Why use drinking quality water to flush the toilet, wash the clothes,  water the garden?

Imagine how much income Metrowater would lose if they gave incentives for households to retrofit

rainwater tanks, to catch the rain before it turned into problem stormwater!

d) Metrowater are not ‘socially responsible’, as required by the Local Government Act and act as if they are above and unaccountable to the law.

They have stated that they are NOT covered by the Health Act.

While continue to tamper with families basic human right to water – I have been threatened with

a potential  $20,000 fine for taking full personal responsibility for organizing a water unrestriction.

Metrowater have not followed their Disputes Process as required by the Fair Trading Act.

Metrowater got a warning from the Commerce Commission in 2003 for publicly stating that the water they supplied was ‘Aa’ grade at a time it was NOT.

Metrowater continue to use ‘legalised’ bullying and harassment and water restriction as a means

of debt enforcement against some ‘customers’ while just writing off the debts of others.

e) Metrowater’s Directors are appointed not elected. They are not directly accountable to the people. Although we the people of Auckland own Metrowater 100% through Auckland City Council,

the business of  this ‘natural’ monopoly supplier of water services is carried out behind closed

doors by consecutive Boards of Directors who have overseen and authorized these above practices.

f) Metrowater is now going to have to pay tax.          (Councils do not have to pay tax.)

g) This CCO model has now spread to Manukau Water, with a separate Board of Directors, and is learning Metrowater’s bullying ways – namely using water restriction as a means of debt enforcement.

h) It is this CCO model which has been suggested for Auckland Regional Governance changes.


THE ANSWER?  The Water Pressure Group supports the Christchurch model.

Water meters but no user-charges.   (Can use water meters to check for leaks)

Charges for water and wastewater services are a proportion of the property-based  rate so the cost to the community of water services are spread more equitably on the basis of ‘ability to pay’ – publicly owned, operated and managed as an essential, non-profit-making basis, under the direct democratic control of our elected representatives.

2) WATERCARE SERVICES LTD: Why the WPG want a full inquiry into their charging and practices.

The secret corporate water privatization agenda – Watercare to become ‘one big Auckland Water Company.

The role of the Waikato pipeline as part of that privatization agenda.

The role of ‘privatisers’ working for Watercare, (and Metrowater and Manukau Water as CCO’s).

Watercare misleading the public about water quality and effectively stopping a Court case which

Could have informed the public about their actions.

Watercare’s policy and actions on stopping pollutants going into waterways and sewer lines.

Why do Watercare need to put up their prices?

a) The WPG believes that for many years there has been a secret water privatization agenda for

Auckland regional water services – commercialise – corporatise then privatize.

b) The corporate agenda, we believe, is for Watercare to become ‘vertically integrated’ – become one big

Auckland water company taking over the ‘retail’ functions of water services currently controlled by

Councils or Council Controlled Organisations.

c) The plan would then be to contract out the operation and management of water services in the

Auckland region to United Water – the water multinational who already has established such a

foothold in Papakura under a 30 year contract.

Such contracting out /franchising /Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) are the most common form of

water privatisation internationally – operation and management for private profit, water services

infrastructure which is still ‘publicly’ owned.

The Local Government Act 2002 – still allows such water privatization, contracts for 15 years –

which is what the United Water contract with Adelaide, South Australia provides – commercialized

–          corporatised – vertically integrated – then PRIVATISED.

d) Such a proposal, for vertical integration – then privatisation was put forward by United Water, at the Public-Private-Partnership Conference held in Auckland in August 2002.

e) The development of the Waikato pipeline, was part of this privatization agenda – ‘do up the asset –

before you flick it off!’  Apparently, when the multinationals expressed interest in Watercare in the

early 1990’s, they stated words to the effect – ‘you’re not much use to us unless you have a continuous

water supply in case of a big drought’.

Watercare commissioned Thames Water in 1995, to do a report on the suitability of Waikato water to

augment Auckland water supplies. Suddenly, (how convenient) we got a ‘big drought’ – and the

Waikato pipeline was rushed through, originally as an ‘emergency’ water supply – but since its

commissioning – has been effectively forced down our throats on a daily basis.

Within two years, Thames Water had a foothold in the Auckland region as part of the multinational

United Water consortium in Papakura.

f) Join the dots!  The ex-privatising Mayor from Papakura, David Hawkins, we believe is still Corporate

Liaison Manager for Watercare Services.  The new CEO for Metrowater, Jim Bentley, is ex-Thames Water, and spent the first five months in New Zealand working for Watercare, project managing

the ‘Three Waters Strategy’, which is the latest attempt to push the ‘one big Auckland water company’. The voting public do not choose these people.

g) Watercare have lied to the public about the quality of the water they provide, saying that treated Waikato river water was ‘Aa’ grade, at a time it was not.

Watercare stated that the treated Waikato river water was ‘pure’ and ‘safe to drink’.

When Rarotongan grandmother Annie King took a $30 disputes tribunal claim to try and turn off

the $165 million Waikato pipeline because of Watercare’s alleged misleading and deceptive conduct

under the Fair Trading Act – her case was never heard in Court. (It was transferred to the Manukau District Court) Both Watercare and Manukau City Council demanded and got a Court Order for  $70,000 ‘security for costs’ before this case could be heard.  Annie King is a sickness beneficiary.  Having spent some hundreds of hours researching this issue – I helped Annie prepare her Court documentation.

The facts are that the short and long term health effects of drinking treated Waikato water were not

assessed before the pipeline was built.

The facts are that compared with European Drinking Water Standards, NZ Drinking Water Standards (at the time this research was done in 2003) allowed us to drink a virtual chemical cocktail.

h) Why are our rivers allowed to be used as ‘liquid tips’?

What steps are Watercare taking to stop ‘point discharges’ of contaminants into our waterways?

What steps have Watercare taken to learn from ‘international best practice’ to help stop this?

i) Isn’t it true that Watercare makes money out of ‘trade waste’ – allowing polluters to use the sewers

also as ‘liquid tips’?

j) What is Watercare doing to encourage water conservation given that 65% of water for residential

use doesn’t have to be drinking water quality?

k)   Why do Watercare need to double their prices  CHECK FACTS!



Why the WPG want a full inquiry into their actions and practices.

We believe that  Metrowater’s ‘monitoring body’ under the Local Government Act 2002 – the majority of the Finance and Corporate Business Committee (FCBC) have failed to carry out their statutory duties.  This Auckland City Council ‘gamekeeper’ has been working hand in hand with the Metrowater ‘poacher’  effectively to defraud the public, because the Council have had their hand deeply in Metrowater’s till.  The majority on the FCBC has supported and endorsed Metrowater’s victimization and bullying of WPG members when we have repeatedly gone to them in good faith,  because they also have had a vested interest in trying to shut down the only group which has ever effectively stood up to them.

a) The principles underpinning the Local Government Act 2002, of ‘open, transparent and democratically

accountable” local government have been fundamentally violated. This legislation has not been working.

b) The democratic rights of citizens to ‘impart and receive’ information, have been found to have been

breached by three different District Court Judges.

c) Metrowater is the monopoly supplier of water services in Auckland City – yet ‘commercial sensitivity’

has been used as the excuse to put Metrowater matters under ‘CONFIDENTIAL’.

‘Political sensitivity’ has been the real reason. They don’t want the public to know what’s going on.

d) Some controlling unelected Council beaurocrats appear to be managing Auckland City Council, behind the public’s back,  as if it were their own private corporation.

This has got to stop. Council staff with no concept or understanding of public service or being public servants should leave and join the private sector – or be removed forthwith for not acting lawfully.

e) Council Officers and elected Councillors who have had acted as ‘meeting chairs’, have been proven in

Court not to know, understand or implement the key legislation upon which their jobs and statutory duties are based.  As a ‘judicially recognised’ public watchdog, on behalf of the WPG, it has been proven

in Court that my understanding of the law on these matters has been greater than theirs – yet I am still being arrested.

f) It is now 15 times that I have been arrested, in my role as duly-elected WPG Media Spokesperson in defending the public’s right to ‘open, transparent  and democratically accountable’ local government, yet I have not yet lost in Court. (So far – I have won 5 cases and the Police have dropped 5).

In Court I have found that those who have sworn an oath to uphold the law –do not know what the law is – and neither do the Council staff who are supposed to advise them.

g) Whatever mechanisms are supposed to exist to ensure that those working in Local Government in

Auckland City actually know what they lawfully should be doing – are NOT working.

What is the point of making law if it’s not upheld or implemented?

As a Public Watchdog – why is it my job to tell them their job?

If it is the job of the Police to uphold the law, before which we are all supposed to be equal – why do they keep arresting me – why not the Mayor?

h) The Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act legislation is NOT working at Auckland City Council.

What is ‘best practice’ elsewhere, at other Councils for ensuring that both elected representatives and

Council staff become familiar with the LAW that is supposed to govern their jobs?

i) When in good faith, on behalf of the WPG, I made a series of submissions to the FCBC, explaining

Metrowater’s actions and how they had failed to follow their own disputes process – the FCBC set up a ‘Working Party’ – which whitewashed Metrowater’s actions and supported Metrowater using Charging Orders and bankruptcy as methods of debt enforcement, although we had provided extensive evidence of Metrowater’s failure to follow their disputes process.

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Metrowater | Leave a comment