The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

Speaking rights have been granted to ‘Public Watchdog’ Penny Bright at the CCO Strategy Review Committee Meeting to be held today, 21 April 2011 at 1.30pm at the Auckland Town Hall.

21 April 2011

Speaking rights have been granted to ‘Public Watchdog’ Penny Bright at the CCO Strategy Review Committee Meeting to be held today, 21 April 2011 at 1.30pm at the Auckland Town Hall.

My subject matter will (briefly) include:

1) Concerns about the lack of financial detail provided by CCOs.

2) A request for a ‘Register of Interests’ for all Board members of CCOs and staff employed by CCOs responsible for property and procurement.

3) A request for details of all consultants and private contractors employed by all CCOs and Watercare; including the names of the consultants/contractors; scope, value and terms(length) of contracts.

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

5) How the Boards of all CCOs, and Watercare, become aware of their statutory duties arising from the Public Records Act 2005, s 17; the system(s) that are used to ensure that these statutory duties are implemented; and how the Auckland Council ensures that these statutory duties are enforced: 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.1

6) Watercare:

a) How much ‘council control’ exists over Watercare, regarding:

i) Auckland Council’s policy of opposition to ‘punitive action, for example water restriction’ being used regarding non-payment of accounts.

ii) Watercare Board meetings having a ‘public forum’ so that they can hear directly from the public.

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

(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.

(Brave, internationally famous WPG members, 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.)

More background information will be provided, on 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 are believed to be Metrowater stress-related heart attacks.)

c) 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? (The NZ Office of the Auditor-General is currently assessing my complaint on this matter.)

The allegation was that United Water NZ corporate overhead costs had been loaded on to South Australian customers, and United Water did not get their South Australian contract renewed.

d) In my considered opinion, Watercare CEO Mark Ford, must be instructed to answer these following questions, requested under the OIA, which have still not been answered. Is this Auckland Council going to ‘open the books’ and ensure ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government? If ‘YES’ – then please ensure that some Council control is exercised over Watercare, and these questions are answered in a full and proper way. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ “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’ http://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 http://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) http://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 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.” ……………………… ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 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

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Human rights, Transparency in Govt spending | Leave a comment

WATER PRESSURE GROUP SUBMISSION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE RE: PETITION 2005/106 OF PENELOPE BRIGHT AND 40 OTHERS (Reported 20 September 2007)

4 April 2011

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

www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/Documents/Reports/0/9/d/48DBSCH_SCR3880_1-Petition-2005-0106-of-Penelope-Bright-and-40-others.htm

WATER PRESSURE GROUP SUBMISSION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE RE: PETITION 2005/106 OF PENELOPE BRIGHT AND 40 OTHERS

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

A)      REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE LEGISLATIVE ACTION:

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.

B) REQUEST FOR AN URGENT FULL INQUIRY INTO THE CHARGING AND PRACTICES OF METROWATER AND WATERCARE SERVICES AND THE ACTIONS AND PRACTICES OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL’S FINANCE AND CORPORATE BUSINESS COMMITTEE – AND AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL.

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.

WHY ON EARTH SPREAD A DISASTER?  COMMONSENSE SAYS CHECK IT OUT FIRST!

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!


3) AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL’S FINANCE AND CORPORATE BUSINESS COMMITTEE.

(AND AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL )

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

Auckland Council’s books are NOT open – but we’ll be expected to pay a 4.9% rates increase? NO WAY!

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.
“The second is a request to ATA for information which was declined on the basis that it would involve substantial collation or research.
The ATA was subject to the Official Information Act 1982 rather than the Local Government Official Information
and Meetings Act 1987, but the provisions are very similar. If a requestor is not satisfied with a
decision to withhold information there is provision for a complaint to be made to the Ombudsmens
Office to review the decision.
It is not appropriate for the Auckland Council to take the place of theOmbudsmen and these examples will not be analysed any further.”
Page 1

Item 12

Accountability and Performance Committee
10 March 2011

Response to deputation – Ms Penny Bright

Page 33

Response to deputation – Ms Penny Bright

File No.: CP2011/00949

Executive Summary

At its meeting on 16 December 2010 the Governing Body received a deputation from Ms Penny
Bright. The meeting resolved for her issues to be reported to the appropriate committee.
Ms Bright raised three issues:
(1) “The serious lack of ‘transparency’ regarding information (not) being made available to
citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region.” She provided specific examples.
(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.”

(3) “The continuing persecution of Water Pressure Group members over disputed water
services accounts.”
Comments on these issues are contained in the body of the report.

Recommendation/s

a)
That the report be received.

Background

At its meeting on 16 December 2010 the Governing Body received a deputation from Ms Penny
Bright. The meeting resolved for her issues to be reported to the appropriate committee.
Ms Bright raised three issues:
(1) “The serious lack of ‘transparency’ regarding information (not) being made available to
citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region.” She provided specific examples.
(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.”

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

Transparency – Requests for information:

Members will be well aware of the basic requirements of the Local Government Official
Information and Meetings Act 1987. Essentially, an organisation to which the Act applies is
required to provide information that is requested if it holds that information and if there are no
applicable grounds under the Act to withhold the information. If the information is withheld there is
provision for the requestor to have the decision to withhold the information reviewed by an
Ombudsman.

Item 12

Accountability and Performance Committee
10 March 2011

Response to deputation – Ms Penny Bright

Page 34

Ms Bright gives two examples of information either not being provided or being withheld. One is a
request for information to the Chairman of the ATA but the questions relate to his former position
as CEO of Watercare and chair of ARTA.
The second is a request to ATA for information which was declined on the basis that it would involve substantial collation or research.
The ATA was subject to the Official Information Act 1982 rather than the Local Government Official Information
and Meetings Act 1987, but the provisions are very similar. If a requestor is not satisfied with a
decision to withhold information there is provision for a complaint to be made to the Ombudsmens
Office to review the decision.
It is not appropriate for the Auckland Council to take the place of the Ombudsmen and these examples will not be analysed any further.
Nevertheless the principle of transparency is an important one and is top of the list of the
principles relating to local authorities in section 14 of the LGA 2002.
Transparency is assisted:
(i)
through the council making information available proactively in media releases and
publications such as the Governance Statement, Long Term Plan and Annual Report
and providing agendas and minutes on the web
(ii)
through the public receiving information under the provisions of the LGOIMA on
request
(iii)
through public attendance at meetings
(iv)
through the reporting of meetings and other activities in the media
(v)
through the declaration of conflicts of interest
The end result of transparency is a public and an electorate which is reasonably informed about
council decisions and actions and the reasons for taking those decisions and actions.
Transparency is not well-served if:
(i)
the council does not provide information freely
(ii)
the council has meetings with the public excluded unnecessarily
(iii)
media reporting is not factually correct or is biased
One of the projects in the Mayor’s 100 day plan relates to the web-casting of meetings and is
currently being investigated. Having video records of meetings available through the internet
gives the public an insight into how decisions are made and consequently enhances the
transparency of decision-making.

Local Government Act 2002 – Amendment Act 2010

Submissions on the Bill closed in June 2010. Most of the former councils in the Auckland Council
area made submissions. The Auckland Council itself has not considered the Bill nor resolved a
policy position on the matters covered in the Bill or Amendment Act.
Ms Bright’s concerns about the provision of water and any involvement of private enterprise are
well known. In her deputation she raised concerns about United Water Ltd, specifically referring to
United Water losing the Adelaide contract. It is not within the scope of this report to comment on
the issues surrounding this, other than to note Ms Bright’s concerns.
The relevant legislation is the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010, in
Section 24 “Restrictions on form and asset ownership of Watercare Services Limited”
(1)
The Auckland Council must, until the end of 30 June 2015,-
(a) remain the sole owner of Watercare Services Limited; and
(b) ensure that Watercare Services Limited does not dispose of any part of its
business or any assets that are necessary for the conduct of its business; and
(c) provide integrated water supply and wastewater services in Auckland only through
Watercare Services Limited

Item 12

Accountability and Performance Committee
10 March 2011

Response to deputation – Ms Penny Bright

Page 35

(2) The Auckland Council may decide, at its discretion, how it will provide water supply and
wastewater services in Auckland on and from 1 July 2015.”

Disputed water services accounts

Watercare Services Ltd will be presenting its next six-monthly report to councillors in April. This
will provide an opportunity for questions about its delivery of services and policies relating to
customers.

Attachments

There are no attachments for this report.

Signatories

Authors
Warwick McNaughton – Governance Support Manager
Authorisers
Darryl Griffin, Manager Democracy Services
Andrew McKenzie, Chief Finance Officer
____________________________________________________________________________________

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 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.”

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

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Transparency in Govt spending | Leave a comment

Media Release: AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement has privatized Canadian water, trade committee hears

[Water Warriors] Media Release: AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement has privatized Canadian water, trade committee hears

|

Maude Barlow

to water-warriors

show details 7:26 AM (18 minutes ago)
A very important and disturbing story on how a trade agreement has been used to set up water rights for a foreign compnay. We are fighting back.
Maude

 

Subject: Media Release: AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement has privatized Canadian water, trade committee hears

MEDIA RELEASE
March 8, 2011

AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement has privatized Canadian water, trade committee hears

Ottawa — The record-setting $130-million NAFTA settlement with AbitibiBowater has effectively privatized Canada’s water by allowing foreign investors to assert a proprietary claim to water permits and even water in its natural state, says trade lawyer and Council of Canadians board member Steven Shrybman, in a presentation to Parliament today.

“It would be difficult to overstate the consequences of such a profound transformation of the right Canadian governments have always had to own and control public natural resources,” says Mr. Shrybman in his presentation to the Standing Committee on International Trade, which is studying the AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement from last August.

“Moreover, by recognizing water as private property, the government has gone much further than any international arbitral tribunal has dared to go in recognizing a commercial claim to natural water resources.”

In 2008, AbitibiBowater, a Canadian firm registered in the United States, closed its pulp and paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor, NL. The company asserted rights to sell its assets, including certain timber harvesting licenses and water use permits. These permits were contingent on production. More importantly, under Canada’s constitution they are a public trust owned by the Province, not by private firms. So the Newfoundland government moved to re-appropriate them as it has a right to do under Canadian law. AbitibiBowater sidestepped the courts to challenge the Newfoundland government.

“The case clearly put the concept of water as a public trust on a direct collision course with treaty-based corporate and commercial rights. However, rather than defend public ownership and control of water, the federal government has agreed to settle AbitibiBowater’s claim,” says Mr. Shrybman. “By stipulating that the payment of compensation is on account of rights and assets, the government of Canada has explicitly acknowledged an obligation to compensate AbitibiBowater for claims relating to water taking permits and forest harvesting licenses.”

By settling with the company rather than challenging its case, we have no response from the federal government to refute the company’s proprietary claims to water and timber rights, explains Mr. Shrybman. The settlement also fails to identify the particular rights for which compensation will be paid, and makes no attempt to exclude any of the company’s claims, “thereby acknowledging the validity of the claims.”

“Moreover, by recognizing a proprietary claim to water taking and forest harvesting rights, Canada has gone much further than any international tribunal established under NAFTA rules, or to our knowledge, under the rules of other international investment treaties,” he says.

A statement by the government that the settlement shall not set a precedent is “entirely ineffective,” because of NAFTA’s National Treatment clause which grants foreign companies treatment no less favourable than national companies in like circumstances.

“It is not therefore an overstatement to describe the consequences of this settlement as effectively representing a coup-de-grace for public ownership and control of water and other natural resources with respect to which some license or permit had been granted.”

Shrybman suggests water takings by tar sands operations in Alberta, a golf course in Ontario or a water bottling plant in Quebec are other examples of where even a partial recovery of water rights by the provinces could detrimentally affect business. If any of these companies were foreign owned they could claim compensation on the same terms granted AbitibiBowater.

***

The Council of Canadians strongly believes there is no place in existing or future trade agreements for such overstretching investment protections. It has repeatedly called on the federal government to reopen NAFTA to remove the investor-to-state dispute process. The Council also recently joined several other Canadian organizations in writing to all members of the European Parliament urging them to reject the inclusion of NAFTA-like investment protections in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which could be signed by the end of the year.

– 30 –

For more information:

Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians: 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org

To read Mr. Shrybman’s full presentation to the trade committee: http://canadians.org/

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Fighting water privatisation in NZ | Leave a comment

VOTERS OF BOTANY! It’s ‘people power’ time! Vote proven INDEPENDENT Public Watchdog Penny Bright into the House of Parliament!

Quarter page,  Pg 3 advertisement in both Howick and Botany Times (2 March 2011)  and Howick and Pakuranga Times (3 March 2011)!
These free Times community newspapers cover the entire Botany electorate plus more.

This is the wording – (can’t access the ad on-line unfortunately – just asked.)

Irrespective of the result of the election (5 March 2011) – I will have achieved my main aim of shining a public spotlight on the issues of privatisation and corruption.

Becoming the first MP elected as a ‘Public Watchdog’ to act from INSIDE the House will be a HUGE bonus!

Here’s hoping that history will be made by the people of Botany!

______________________________________________________________________________________

(The photo used was taken from the photo used in the Howick and Botany Times article 10 February 2011)

“I’m public’s watchdog” says Bright.

( Advertisement – layout doesn’t match ad – but this is the wording!)

_________________________________________________________________

VOTERS OF BOTANY!

It’s ‘people power’ time!

It’s time for a fiercely independent ‘Public Watchdog with a  proven track record of defending the public  interest INSIDE  the House of Parliament.

Someone with the guts to ask the hard questions!

Eg:  To whom exactly is NZ in debt? Open the books!

Where exactly is our public money being spent?

How much public money is going to greedy corporate welfare beneficiaries?

How much public money is being spent on the ‘contractocracy’

vs the ‘bureaucracy’?

(ie: Private ‘piggy in the middle’ contractors

vs  ‘in-house’ central & local govt employees?)

Who else is holding MPs and the Government accountable?

Where’s the ‘transparency’?

NZ is ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world – but our MP’s don’t even have a ‘Code of Conduct’!

Why aren’t the public given the name of the contractors; the scope, term and value of billion$ of private sector contracts at local and central government level?

Why is there no ‘Register of Interests’ for local government elected representatives and staff responsible for  property and procurement’?

Who decides who gets the contracts?  ($$$???)

Why has there never been any ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the ‘commercialise, corporatise – PRIVATISE ‘Rogernomics’ model – that this National/Act Government wants to extend?

Who has, and will benefit from future privatisation and asset sales?

The public?

How will the ‘Mums and Dads’ who can’t afford to pay their power bills, going to afford to invest in the power companies?

How do ‘vested interests’ get there way at the policy level  – before legislation is passed?

Have we got endemic  ‘State capture’ in NZ?

Who is benefiting from the  Auckland $upercity?

The public or multinational contractors?

Please – give me a chance to act as a public watchdog from inside Parliament!

For more information:  https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz www.stopprivatisation.org.nz

Authorised by Penny Bright 86A School Rd, Kingsland.   waterpressure@gmail.com

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Stop the $uper City, Transparency in Govt spending | Leave a comment

John Key drops 8 points as leader in the TVNZ poll but National is ‘unscathed’ over proposed asset sales? yeah right

www.nbr.co.nz/article/national-strong-polls-nn-86491

“TVNZ-Colmar Brunton and 3News polls last night showed National was unscathed despite its proposal to partially sell state-owned assets.”

“Prime Minister John Key was still first choice for prime minister in both political polls, despite taking an 8-point hit in the TVNZ poll to 48 percent.”

Hmmmm………… Prime Minister John Key takes an ‘8-point hit in the TVNZ poll’….. doesn’t quite sound like National was ‘unscathed’ over its ‘proposal to partially sell state-owned assets’?

I notice that the John Key /National Government PR spin machine has gone into turbo-drive.

The majority of New Zealanders have not had a collective frontal lobotomy, and do remember that what is good for big business is usually not good for most of us, and HATE the ‘P’ word – “PRIVATISATION”.

So – John Key has moved away from mentioning the word ‘privatisation’ (partial or otherwise) and the term now referred to is ‘mixed ownership’…..

Good try – but sorry John – it won’t work.

It is my prediction that the John Key ‘ordinary bloke’ honeymoon is well and truly over.

As John Key’s ‘true blue’ corporate raider colours increasingly show through his carefully spin-doctored packaging – his (and National’s) slide in the polls will continue.

Hopefully dramatically.

The most ‘dramatic’ poll result would be if I were to be elected as the new MP for Botany on my clear anti-privatisation /anti-corruption ‘Public Watchdog’ platform.

Penny Bright
Future MP for Botany?

http://waterpresure.wordpress.com

Penny Bright | Monday, February 21, 2011 – 11:22am

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ | Leave a comment

CENTRAL GOVT. CORRUPTION?Botany By-election: PUBLIC MEETING: Sunday 20 February 2011, 3 – 5pm, Tangaroa College

‘POLITICALLY EXPLOSIVE’

PUBLIC MEETINGS with SOLUTIONS!

_____________________________________________

PUBLIC MEETING: Sunday 20 February 2011, 3 – 5pm
Tangaroa College, Haumia Way, Flat Bush.

CENTRAL GOVT. CORRUPTION & PRIVATISATION:

–          More on the Pansy Wong ‘conflict of interest’.

–          To whom exactly is NZ in debt?

–          Where EXACTLY are our taxes being spent?

–          Who will benefit from future privatisation?

–          SPEAKERS:

–          Penny Bright: “Anti-corruption campaigner”

–          Nicola Grace: “Vitamin C Can Cure Coalition”

NZ’s ‘Health’ system – based on ‘wellness’ or ‘sickness’?

________________________________________

_

PUBLIC MEETING: Sunday 27 February 2011, 3 – 5pm
Somerville Intermediate School,

39 Somerville Rd, Somerville.

CORRUPTION IN THE NZ ‘JUSTICE’ SYSTEM?

–          How ‘transparent’ are our NZ Courts?

NZ ‘WHITE COLLAR’ CRIME & CORRUPTION?

–          How did over 60 finance companies collapse

in NZ – ‘the least corrupt country in the world’?

SPEAKERS:

–          Penny Bright: “Anti-corruption campaigner”

–          Vince Siemer: ‘Judicial’ Public Watchdog.

–          Suzanne Edmonds: ‘Exposing Unacceptable

Financial Activities’ (EUFA) Spokesperson.

–          Evelian Gilbert: Merrill Lynch/John Key researcher.

–          Authorised by Penny Bright 86A School Rd Kingsland

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Transparency in Govt spending | 1 Comment

You Tube – The Botany Candidates on Asset sales – Jami-Lee Ross admits he’s not the one to vote for if you’re opposed to asset sales.

You Tube – The Botany Candidates on Asset sales – Jami-Lee Ross admits he’s not the one to vote for if you’re opposed to asset sales.

16 February 2011

“If you’re completely opposed to asset sales I’m probably not the person for you”.

National Party’s Jami-Lee Ross’s reply to the question:

“How can I vote for you if I’m totally opposed to State-Owned asset sales?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zht3kVIwaX0

Botany By Election Candidates Forum

7.30 – 9.30PM, Tuesday 15 February 2011

EAST CITY WESLEYAN CHURCH

219 BURSWOOD DRIVE, BOTANY

 

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

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting water privatisation in NZ | Leave a comment

You Tube clip of Botany by-election debate 15 February 2011.

16 February 2011

Forwarded FYI.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LINO0-bXE

Each of the following five candidates in the Botany by-election had 4 minutes to explain who they are are why people should vote for them.

Alphabetically:

Penny Bright
Lyn Murphy
Jami-Lee Ross
Michael Wood
Paul Young

Filmed and forwarded by

Vincenteastwood <guerillamrnews@gmail.com>

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

YouTube – Videos from this email
Reply
Reply

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ | Leave a comment

“Botany candidates keep it clean” Posted on 15 February 2011 by BELINDA MCCAMMON

http://kiwi247.com/news/botany-candidates-keep-it-clean

Botany candidates keep it clean

Posted on 15 February 2011 by BELINDA MCCAMMON

Botany’s first by-election debate provided few fireworks this evening but plenty of opportunity for party candidates to try out well-worn campaign lines.

Full Story at BELINDA MCCAMMON

Botany’s first by-election debate provided few fireworks this evening but plenty of opportunity for party candidates to try out well-worn campaign lines.

Five of the ten Botany by-election candidates were asked to take part in the candidates meeting, with organisers saying having all candidates there would have been too difficult to manage and the other five candidates represented fringe parties.

National candidate Jami-Lee Ross, Labour candidate Michael Wood, New Citizen Party candidate Paul Young, Act candidate Lyn Murphy and Independent candidate Penny Bright gave a brief speech before answering questions from the crowd of about 80.

About 20 of those were Labour Party supporters, sitting in a block, the rest were made up of supporters from the other candidates with a probably only a minority of undecided voters at the debate.

The candidates were asked a range of questions from the audience, covering all the main themes, including the environment, law and order, access to the country’s beaches and affordable housing.

But there were Botany-specific questions as well, with candidates asked how they would represent the interests of the 49 percent of Botany residents who were born overseas, one of the highest rates for any New Zealand electorate.

Jami-Lee Ross proved to be a safe-pair of hands for National, sticking to message and sounding knowledgeable and confident well beyond his years.

Labour’s Michael Wood, Ross’ main challenger, did his best to target Ross but at times came unstuck.

Wood drew a shout of “hypocrite Labour” from the floor when he said he did not support privatisation with Ross wasting no time capitalising on it, saying the National Government had learnt from the mistakes of ministers like Phil Goff.
Wood said he would champion more community services and especially targeted the need for parents to have their early childcare funding restored.

Ross was asked if he was a person who could keep his promises given he said he would serve three years as an Auckland councillor but has said he would resign if elected as an MP less than a year into his term.

Ross said he was committed to Botany and could not have foreseen Pansy Wong would resign when he stood for council.

Candidates kept the debate clean, with no-one getting too personal, though Ross clearly couldn’t resist referring to Wood as his “fellow candidate from Mt Roskill”.

Wood doesn’t live in the electorate and is a local ward member in the Mt Roskill electorate

Penny Bright, a well-known local body activist, provided rare moments of light relief.

She said the by-election was a good time to send a message to the Government.

“First Egypt, then Botany – it’s people power time.”

Bright also managed to raise the most laughs when answering a question on asset sales, saying she was against them.

“Partial privatisation is like partial pregnancy, there is no such thing.”

Heckling was kept to a minimum and when the audience did seem to be getting too vocal, the facilitator Lloyd Wong asked people to respect the church the debate was taking place in and it’s spirituality.

The by-election is on March 5.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Botany By-election 2011, Fighting water privatisation in NZ | Leave a comment