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BREAKING NEWS! :Penny Bright, Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group to address Watercare Board at ‘Public Forum’ Thursday 26 May 9.00am – FIRST TIME EVER!

25 May 2011

Penny Bright,  Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group to address Watercare Board at ‘Public Forum’ Thursday 26 May 9.00am – FIRST TIME EVER!

Notice of Watercare Board meeting –

26 May 2011

Page Content

The May board meeting of Watercare Services Ltd will be held on 26 May 2011.

Time: 9am.

Venue: Hobson Room, Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland.

The meeting will be open to the public and the Chairman invites deputations.


1.         Apologies

2.         Deputations and Public Forum


25 May 2011


Dear Robert Fisher,

The subject matter for my deputation to the  Watercare ‘Public Forum’ is very similar to that for which I had been granted for  the CCO Strategy Review Committee Meeting which was held on 21 April 2011.

(Unfortunately, the scheduled time of the meeting was changed, and I didn’t get the message – so I didn’t attend.)

A) Request for a publicly-available  ‘Register of Interests’ for all Board members of Watercare and staff employed by Watercare responsible for property and procurement.

B) A request for the following details of all consultants and private contractors employed by Watercare; including the names of the consultants/contractors; scope, value and terms(length) of contracts, to be made publicly-available.

C) Clarification as to whether there is a central ‘Register of Contracts’ held by  Watercare; where is it held, and who at Auckland Council is responsible for double-checking that it is accurate and up to date.

D)The following resolution of Water Pressure Group members, was raised and passed on to the Auckland Council Governing Board meeting on Tuesday 24 May 2011:



“THAT: Water Pressure Media Spokesperson Penny Bright to raise directly with the Governing Body of Auckland Council and the Board of Watercare Services  at their upcoming meetings on 24 and 26 May 2011:

a)     The persecution and harassment of Water Pressure Group members to please cease forthwith; all outstanding disputed Metrowater bills to be waived; all court action initiated by Metrowater to cease forthwith; and all penalties such as credit restriction, charging orders over properties and the like to be lifted forthwith.

b)    Water Pressure Group members request a meeting with Mayor Len Brown to discuss these and related matters, as soon as possible. “

(Please be reminded that had it not been for Water Pressure Group members, the practice of Metrowater being used as a ca$h cow, to subsidise rates thorough the rort of  ‘charitable payments’, would not have been ruled ‘unacceptable’ by Parliament, and eventually phased out.

Our brave, internationally famous WPG members, who have been at the forefront since 1998 of the fight against the commercialisation and privatisation of Auckland water services – and user-charges, particularly for wastewater services, which have proved financially crippling for larger, poorer families – have been through enough.

The  previous ‘combative’ track record of Metrowater which included digging up the streets to permanently disconnect water supplies form the mains; attempts by Metrowater to bankrupt WPG members over disputed bills; abuse of the ‘legal system’ to intimidate, bully and harass WPG members; the singling out of a Samoan family and attempts to auction their family home over a disputed water account; the untimely deaths of two WPG members from what we believe were Metrowater stress-related heart attacks.)

E ) WPG members,  of course, are still opposed to Watercare, becoming the ‘one big Auckland water company’ – which we have been warning the public about since 1998 – because that has been the corporate agenda since the mid-1990’s, and the public have neither voted for this, nor the $upercity full stop

The model was the one used in South Australia – first ‘vertically integrate’ into ‘one big water company’ – then contract out the operation and management to United Water (100% owned by Veolia – the world’s biggest water multinational).

United Water now have seven NZ water services contracts.
But were they based on misrepresented pricing?
Did United Water put in cheaper tenders in order to get a foothold in NZ?

(Attempts to get both the NZ Parliament and the Office of the Auditor-General to investigate this matter, have to date been unsuccessful.)

F) The Water Pressure Group still want  Watercare CEO Mark Ford, to be be instructed to answer these following questions, requested under the OIA, which have still never been answered.

(Revised LGOIMA request to Mark Ford, CEO of Watercare Services Ltd)

1) 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.

2) 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’…/Water_RIS_2010.doc


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. ”


3) 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:

a) 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,

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

4) 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.

5) 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.

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

a) United Water;
b) Veolia Water,
c) 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

7) All/any information from  Watercare Board members, or Watercare staff in ANY capacity relating to the request for a ‘full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts’ as requested in the following:

Petition 2008/60, presented by Su’a William Sio, on

9 December 2009:

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

and/or my request to the Office of the Auditor-General to conduct  such an inquiry/investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright
Media spokesperson
Water Pressure Group

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

“Anti-corruption campaigner”

May 25, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting corruption internationally, Fighting water privatisation in NZ

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