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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

Press Release: PROTEST AGAINST THE AUCKLAND $UPERCITY AND THE CORRUPT CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF AUCKLAND!

1 November 2010

PROTEST AGAINST THE AUCKLAND $UPERCITY AND THE CORRUPT CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF AUCKLAND!

“Auckland Council Inauguration”
WHEN: MONDAY EVENING 1 NOVEMBER 2010

TIME: 5.30PM

WHERE: OUTSIDE AUCKLAND TOWN HALL
QUEEN ST, AUCKLAND CITY

“Serious questions regarding major conflicts of interest, lack of transparency and arguably corrupt practices regarding the Auckland $UPERCITY have still not been answered,” says Water Pressure Group Media Spokesperson Penny Bright.

“That is why, as a registered attendee, I will be raising these, and other questions at Transparency International’s 14th Conference in Thailand from 10 -14 November.

I will be seeking advice from anti-corruption international ‘heavyweights’ on whether the following constitute potentially corrupt practices.”

1) “How did Mark Ford, Executive Chair of the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA), tasked with setting up the ‘Supercity’ framework, end up with two of the ‘top jobs’ himself?

CEO of Watercare and Chair of the ‘statutory entity’ – Auckland Transport?

How was this not a clear ‘conflict of interest’?

2) Why did Mark Ford, as CEO, appoint water privatisers to key executive staff roles in publicly-owned Watercare Services – the ‘wholesale’ water/wastewater ‘ services provider to the Auckland region?

ie: David Hawkins, the former Mayor of Papakura District Council who played a pivotal role in privatising water services to United Water, now 100% owned by Veolia Water – the world’s biggest water multinational.

ie: Graham Wood, former Managing Director of United Water South Australia, to the position of General Manager Operations of Watercare Services, in or about 2007.

3) Why won’t Mark Ford disclose what, (if any) interests he had or may have, either pecuniary or non-pecuniary with:

1) United Water;
2) Veolia Water,

3) Veolia Transport (who have the contract with ARTA (of which he was Chair since 2007) to operate train services on the Auckland Passenger Rail Network.

4) Why, on the Watercare Services Ltd website, when Mark Ford was previously CEO, there was no section which covered the Watercare Shareholders Group,(the governing body made up of representatives of the Councils which own Watercare Services Ltd) 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.

How was (is) this ‘transparent’?

5) Where is the information which tells residents and ratepayers of the Auckland region where EXACTLY our monies are being spent?

From Franklin to Rodney, where is the publicly available information which shows over a range of 112 possible Councils services, which services are provided ‘in-house’; which are provided by CCOs; which services have been contracted out?

For council services which have been contracted out, where is the publicly available information which gives the name of the contractor, term, value and scope of the contractor?

If information detailing where public monies are being spent is not publicly available for public scrutiny – how is this ‘transparent’?

6) Where is the ‘Register of Interests’ for the Auckland Council elected representatives and their spouses; and council staff responsible for signing off contracts worth hundreds of millions of citizens and ratepayers hard-earned dollars?

HOW CAN CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS BE CHECKED IF THEY ARE NOT DECLARED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

If such ‘Register of Interests’ do not exist, or are not publicly available – how is this ‘transparent’?

7) Why has there has never been any ‘due diligence/ cost-benefit’ analysis since the last council amalgamations; of the ‘contracting-out’ model; or of the Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) model – yet the Auckland $UPERCITY has been forced upon the public of the Auckland region without a binding vote of citizens and ratepayers?

If such changes are forced upon the public, without any evidential basis to support that they will benefit the public majority – how is this not a form of ‘misuse of public office for private gain’ – it the beneficiaries of such changes are going to be the private sector?

How is this not corrupt?

Yet, according to Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’ – New Zealand, along with Denmark and Singapore is currently ranked as the least corrupt country in the world?

If New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world – then arguably – shouldn’t we be the most ‘transparent’?

These matters that pertain to the Auckland $UPERCITY, and others I intend to raise at the Transparency International Conference – to help provide a New Zealand corruption ‘reality check’ against the New Zealand corruption ‘perception’.”

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

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

“Anti-corruption https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

Ph (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Metrowater, Stop the $uper City | Leave a comment

Press Release: Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright defends the basic human right to water by cutting off a Metrowater water restriction clamp. (‘You Tube’)

14 July 2010

Mayoral Candidate Penny Bright ‘getting down’ and ‘getting dirty’ giving a practical ‘hands on’ public demonstration on how to defend families basic human right to water by removing a Metrowater water restriction ‘clamp’.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Auckland Mayoral campaign, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Human rights, Metrowater | Leave a comment

Mayoral Candidate Penny Bright defends a household’s right to water by cutting off a Metrowater ‘water restriction’ clamp.

14 July 2010

Mayoral Candidate Penny Bright ‘gets down and gets dirty’ giving a practical ‘hands on’ demonstration on how to defend families basic human right to water by removing a Metrowater water restriction ‘clamp’.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Auckland Mayoral campaign, Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Metrowater, Stop the $uper City | Leave a comment

OIA to Auckland City Council CEO David Rankin: re all steps taken by those responsible at Auckland City Council to ensure Metrowater complied with it’s statutory duties over the attempted Iosefa house sale?

9 June 2010

Auckland City Council CEO
David Rankin

OIA to Auckland City Council CEO David Rankin:

RE: HOW MUCH AUCKLAND CITY ‘COUNCIL CONTROL’ WAS EXERCISED OVER ‘COUNCIL CONTROLLED ORGANISATION (CCO) METROWATER, IN THEIR (UNLAWFUL) ATTEMPT TO SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION THE FAMILY HOME(S) OF MARIA AND LUAPO IOSEFA?

Dear David,

This sale by public auction was called off at the ‘eleventh hour’.
However, I now intend to find out to what extent those responsible at Auckland City Council for ‘monitoring’ Metrowater’s performance as a ‘Council Controlled Organisation’ (CCO) exercised, (if any) ‘council control’ over this attempted Iosefa house sale by public auction over a disputed Metrowater account.

1) Please provide all information, including, but not limited to; emails, meeting minutes, reports, memorandums; which detail exactly what steps were taken by the following parties to ensure that Metrowater’s CEO, staff members, lawyers, Board of Directors, complied with Metrowater’s statutory duties, as outlined in the following legislation, Metrowater’s ‘disputes process’; Metrowater’s 2009 Statement of Intent; and Metrowater’s 2009 Annual Report:

a) The Mayor of Auckland City Council, John Banks.
b) The Deputy Mayor of Auckland City Council, David Hay.
c) The Chair of the Finance and Strategy Committee of Auckland City Council, Doug Armstrong.
d) The Finance and Strategy Committee of Auckland City Council.
e) The CEO of Auckland City Council, David Rankin.
f) The General Manager of Finance for Auckland City Council, Andrew McKenzie.

A) The Local Government Act 2002;

METROWATER’S STATUTORY DUTIES AS A COUNCIL-CONTROLLED ORGANISATION UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2002 STATE:

” 59 Principal objective of council-controlled organisation

(1) The principal objective of a council-controlled organisation is to—

(a) achieve the objectives of its shareholders, both commercial and non-commercial, as specified in the statement of intent; and

(c) exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so; ”

_____________________________________________________
60 Decisions relating to operation of council-controlled organisations
All decisions relating to the operation of a council-controlled organisation must be made by, or under the authority of, the board of the organisation in accordance with—
(a) its statement of intent; and
(b) its constitution.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

B) The Human Rights Act

Human Rights Act 1993 No 82 (as at 01 October 2008), Public Act
Discrimination in provision of goods and services
44 Provision of goods and services

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person who supplies goods, facilities, or services to the public or to any section of the public—

(a) To refuse or fail on demand to provide any other person with those goods, facilities, or services; or

(b) To treat any other person less favourably in connection with the provision of those goods, facilities, or services than would otherwise be the case,—

by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

__________________________________________________________

C) The Human Rights Amendment Act 2001

Part 1A
Discrimination by Government, related persons and bodies, or persons or bodies acting with legal authority

* Part 1A (sections 20I to 20L) was inserted, as from 1 January 2002, by section 6 Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 96).

21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination

· (1) For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—

(j) Political opinion, which includes the lack of a particular political opinion or any political opinion.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
D) The Fair Trading Act 1986

Part 1 Misleading and deceptive conduct, false representations, and unfair practices
11 Misleading conduct in relation to services

No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of services.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Specifically, in relation to Metrowater’s publicly-stated ‘disputes process’, as advertised on the Metrowater website:

Metrowater’s stated ‘Customer Complaint Process’

http://www.metrowater.co.nz/sitecollectiondocuments/working_with_you_customer_terms_booklet.pdf

“Putting things right
Our customer complaint process
Resolving complaints

Metrowater is committed to providing you with high quality water and wastewater services. If you have any problems with our services, please contact us so that we can deal with your enquiry or complaint. We will investigate the matter and respond to your concern promptly, courteously and efficiently.

Three steps to resolving your complaint

Step 3: Other options
If we have been unable to work together to satisfactorily resolve a genuine dispute, either of us may refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal or, for matters over $7,500, to the Court.

Given that the undefended and (incorrect) ‘Judgment debt’ from CIV- 00Metrowater’s lawyers stated:

“It is irrelevant that Metrowater elected to pursue its claim in the District Court, rather than the Disputes Tribunal.”
__________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

E. METROWATER STATEMENT OF INTENT 2009 ( Pg 7)

“THE NATURE OF OUR BUSINESS

1. Commercial Reliability

…..

* Maintain a robust customer debt management process that is fair and reasonable and audited on an annual basis. ”

_________________________________________________________________________________________

F) METROWATER’S 2008/2009 ANNUAL REPORT:

“….

Ongoing debt which is still unpaid, after collection and legal process can be secured by Metrowater by obtaining a charging order on the debtors property through the district court.”

7) METROWATER’S ‘ACTING’ CEO TIM HAMMOND, CONFIRMATION THAT MARIA AND LUAPO IOSEFA, ARE ‘THE FIRST CASE’ WHERE METROWATER HAVE ATTEMPTED TO SELL A HOME, BY AUCTION:

“The CEO of Metrowater, Tim Hammond, has confirmed in writing, (email dated Friday 5 February 2010), that Luapo and Maria Iosefa have effectively been singled out, and treated differently from other Metrowater customers, in regards to the ‘debt management’ process been followed in this case.”

“Query #2: How is it, then, that the Iosefa family have had proceedings filed in the High Court to sell their house…?

Response #2: …….

This is the first case where a Metrowater debtor has reached this relative position of exposure, necessitating such action ………………..”

(If this is the ‘first case’ – then obviously, Maria and Luapo Iosefa are being treated differently to ‘other debtors’).

________________________________________________________________________________________________

2) Please provide the information which confirms which following members of Metrowater’s ‘monitoring bady’ – the Finance and Strategy Committee of Auckland City Council approved/endorsed Metrowater’s declining of the Iosefa’s offer of $150 per week, and the unprecedented sale by public auction of the Iosefa family home 9am Wednesday 9 June 2010.

Mayor John Banks
Deputy Mayor David Hay
Councillor Doug Armstrong
Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar
Councillor Mark Donnelly
Councillor Richard Northey
Councillor Cathy Casey

“I confirm that I made an offer to Buddle Findlay this morning on behalf of Mr & Mrs Iosefa for $150 per week. I undertook to keep an eye on the payment to ensure they would keep it current. MW through their lawyer have declined that offer.
Mr & Mrs Iosefa have no other ready monies.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155”
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

3) Please provide copies of all ‘annual audits’ of Metrowater’s debt management processes, since the commencement of the auditing process.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

4) Please provide the information which confirms the number of ‘long-term’ Metrowater debtors,on an individual basis, both residential and commercial, since 2007 on an annual basis, whose ‘accumulated debt’ was over $20,000.

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

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Human rights, Metrowater | Leave a comment

EXTORTIONIST BLACKMAIL BY ‘CORPORATE CONTROLLED ORGANISATION’ METROWATER? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

8 June 2010

Tim Hammond
CEO
Metrowater

Dear Tim,

1) Please confirm that Metrowater’s lawyers have been instructed to stop the sale by auction on Wednesday 9 June 2010, of Maria and Luapo Iosefa’s family home at 89 Canal Road Avondale.

2) Your lawyer has admitted that the Statement of Claim upon which this (undefended) Judgment by Default, was obtained, was factually inaccurate:

“6b) We accept that there is a typographical error in paragraph 6 of the statement of claim in proceeding CIV-2009-004-0375. As at 24 February 2009, the balance of $1 ,992.74 was due and owing by your clients to Metrowater. The claim states that the period to which that debt relates was from 9 October 2008 to 8 January 2009. However, the debt relates to invoices for the period from 7 April 2008 to 8 January 2009 (for water supplied between 4 January 2008 to 5 January 2009). The judgment will not be set aside on the basis of this error and, in any event, the time for raising such a query has long passed.”

3) This statement also proves that Metrowater are acting unlawfully in following your ‘disputes process’ as outlined on your website.

The amount claimed is $1,992.74, which is obviously less than $7,500 – thus should have gone – to the Disputes Tribunal, according to YOUR publicly stated ‘disputes process’.
http://www.metrowater.co.nz/sitecollectiondocuments/working_with_you_customer_terms_booklet.pdf

“Step 3: Other options
If we have been unable to work together to satisfactorily resolve a genuine dispute, either of us may refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal or, for matters over $7,500, to the Court.”

This is, quite simply, unlawful.

How is it that neither yourself no your ‘lawyer’ are apparently aware of Metrowater’s statutory duties arising from the Fair Trading Act?

Metrowater have a lawful obligation to follow the ‘Disputes Process’ you have publicly stated on your website.

You have not.
________________________________________
Fair Trading Act 1986

Part 1 Misleading and deceptive conduct, false representations, and unfair practices
11 Misleading conduct in relation to services

No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of services.”
Please be reminded that Maria and Luapo Iosefa have never received a reply from Metro Water to their ‘Letter of Dispute’ faxed to Metrowater on 2 July 2003.

4) This is just one more ‘irregularity’ on top of the host of others that have been already made clear to you, which proves why this corporate bullying and vindictive harassment of Maria and Luapo Iosefa must cease forthwith.

Tim – either YOU instruct your lawyer to stop this house sale NOW – or we will (like we did last time).

Look forward to your prompt confirmation that Metrowater’s lawyers have been so instructed.

5) The (unlawful) stress and pressure Metrowater are putting on Maria and Luapo Iosefa in attempting (for the SECOND time) to auction their family home is unacceptable, extortionist behaviour.

Would you consider this ‘socially responsible’ behaviour of a ‘Council controlled Organisation’ (CCO) if it was happening to YOU Tim, or members of YOUR family?

Consider the consequences if either Maria or Luapo suffered a major health problem as a result of actions for which YOU would have to take responsibility as CEO.

We have already had one member of the Water Pressure Group die of a heart attack which we believe was Metrowater stress-related.

6) I have also just received an email from the Iosefa’s family lawyer, Peter Jacobson, which states:

“I confirm that I made an offer to Buddle Findlay this morning on behalf of Mr & Mrs Iosefa for $150 per week. I undertook to keep an eye on the payment to ensure they would keep it current. MW through their lawyer have declined that offer. Mr & Mrs Iosefa have no other ready monies.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155”

Please confirm that YOU, Tim Hammond, CEO of Metrowater, have instructed Metrowater’s lawyer to decline this offer.

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

Tim Hammond
to Penny Bright
date Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 3:55 PM
subject Response to open letter re Iosefa case

hide details 3:55 PM (7 hours ago)

Penny,

To answer the various points from your open letter

1) I can confirm Metrowater has not instructed the lawyers to stop the sale at this stage. Metrowater does not see from the points raised that there is a legal argument to support withdrawing or halting the proceedings and instead we continue to work through both parties lawyers on alternate settlement options.

2) Metrowater has informed the Court of the typographical error but as noted in Buddle Findlay’s letter the judgment is not likely to be set aside on the basis of this error.

3) The total amount claimed is not $1,992.74 that is simply the value of one of the charging orders. The full amount owed for water and wastewater services alone on this account is over $25,000.

4)&5) Refer item 1 above. Also please note that the Iosefas have chosen to continue to not pay for their water and wastewater services over several years. They have also refused to engage with Metrowater over their mounting debt. Metrowater has over the years made numerous attempts to work with the Iosefas to settle this debt, including at various times making offers to forgo various costs and charges in return for the Iosefas making a genuine commitment and effort to pay for the water and wastewater services they receive. The Iosefas have also in the past had other property on which they have been forced by the courts to pay their water and wastewater charges meaning they should be aware of their legal obligations to pay for those services. This choice not to pay, and to not even try to pay, for the water and wastewater services they receive is what has got the Iosefas into this unfortunate situation. Metrowater’s preference remains for the debt to be settled without the need for the sale of the property (see response to item 6 below).

6) Mr Jacobson has indeed put a settlement proposal on behalf of the Iosefas. While this proposal as put was not acceptable to Metrowater, it did offer a potential starting point for a settlement that Metrowater might be able to accept. To that end Metrowater has instructed its lawyers to discuss a counter proposal with Mr Jacobson that can hopefully lead to settlement without the sale of the property being necessary

Regards

Tim Hammond
Acting Chief Executive

Tel: +64 9 624 4700
Email: tim.hammond@metrowater.co.nz
Web: http://www.metrowater.co.nz

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Human rights, Metrowater | Leave a comment

WHERE IS THE AUCKLAND CITY ‘COUNCIL CONTROL’ OVER CCO METROWATER?

8 June 2010

Mayor John Banks
Deputy Mayor David Hay
Councillor Doug Armstrong
Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar
Councillor Mark Donnelly
Councillor Richard Northey
Councillor Cathy Casey

OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF METROWATER’S ‘MONITORING BODY’ –
THE FINANCE AND STRATEGY COMMITTE OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

To all you above-mentioned members of the Auckland City Council Finance and Strategy Committee of Auckland City Council, please confirm that you endorse Metrowater’s declining of the Iosefa’s offer of $150 per week, and the unprecedented sale by public auction of the Iosefa family home tomorrow 9am Wednesday 9 June 2010.

This information will be made available to the voting public.

“I confirm that I made an offer to Buddle Findlay this morning on behalf of Mr & Mrs Iosefa for $150 per week. I undertook to keep an eye on the payment to ensure they would keep it current. MW through their lawyer have declined that offer. Mr & Mrs Iosefa have no other ready monies.

Peter Jacobson
Bay Law Office
T 6270-390 F 6272-155”

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

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Human rights, Metrowater | Leave a comment

Have CCO Metrowater followed the law, complied with their statutory duties and ‘Statement of Intent’ in the Iosefa case? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

5 June 2010

On Wednesday 9 June 2010, Metrowater are attempting to sell by public auction the family home of Maria and Luapo Iosefa over a disputed Metrowater bill.

This is the first time that Metrowater have ever obtained a ‘Sale Order’ in the High Court
to force the sale of a family home, over a (disputed) Metrowater account.

This is a ‘test case’, happening right now, of how the corporate CCO model for water services, Metrowater actually works in practice.

Metrowater has statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002, to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner, and in accordance with their Statement of Intent, regarding their ‘debt management processes.

METROWATER’S STATUTORY DUTIES AS A COUNCIL-CONTROLLED ORGANISATION UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2002 STATE:

” 59 Principal objective of council-controlled organisation

(1) The principal objective of a council-controlled organisation is to—

(a) achieve the objectives of its shareholders, both commercial and non-commercial, as specified in the statement of intent; and

(c) exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so; ”

____________________________________________________
60 Decisions relating to operation of council-controlled organisations

All decisions relating to the operation of a council-controlled organisation must be made by, or under the authority of, the board of the organisation in accordance with—
(a) its statement of intent; and
(b) its constitution.

Metrowater has a ‘debt management process’ clearly outlined in their ‘Statement of Intent’, as follows:

METROWATER STATEMENT OF INTENT 2009 ( Pg 7)

“THE NATURE OF OUR BUSINESS

1. Commercial Reliability

…..

* Maintain a robust customer debt management process that is fair and reasonable and audited on an annual basis. ”
___________________________________________________________________

Metrowater’ CEO Tim Hammond, sent this response on 2 June 2010:

from Tim Hammond
to Penny Bright
date Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 5:01 PM
subject Response to emaul of 2 June 2010 regardign Iosefa case

Jun 3

Dear Penny,

Thank you for your email of 2 June 2010. Metrowater does not believe there has been a mistake made in the invoicing as claimed and our legal advisors Buddle Findlay are responding directly to Mr Jacobson the Iosefa’s legal advisor directly regarding the points he has raised. In the meantime I can confirm Metrowater will not at this point be instructing its lawyers to withdraw the legal action.

Yours sincerely

Tim Hammond
Acting Chief Executive

Tel: +64 9 624 4700
Email: tim.hammond@metrowater.co.nz
Web: http://www.metrowater.co.nz

____________________________________________________________________

Are Metrowater complying with their statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002, to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner, and in accordance with their Statement of Intent regarding their ‘debt management processes’?

YOU BE THE JUDGE!

If you DON’T think that Metrowater are complying with their statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002, to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner, and in accordance with their Statement of Intent regarding their ‘debt management processes – email
CEO Tim Hammond and tell him so.

tim.hammond@metrowater.co.nz

The body that has the statutory duty to ‘monitor the performance’ of Metrowater, is the Finance and Strategy Committee of Auckland City Council.

If you DON’T think that Metrowater are complying with their statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002, to act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner, and in accordance with their Statement of Intent regarding their ‘debt management processes, email the members of Finance and Strategy Committee and demand that that some ‘Council Control’ is exercised over this ‘Council Controlled Organisation’ – Metrowater – and that Metrowater is instructed to cease forthwith proceedings against the Iosefas in the High Court to sell their family home.

Email the Chair of Auckland City Council’s Finance and Strategy Committee, Councillor Doug Armstrong:

cr.armstrong@aucklandcity.govt.nz

Email other members of the Auckland City Council Finance and Strategy Committee:

cr.bhatnagar@aucklandcity.govt.nz
cr.goldsmith@aucklandcity.govt.nz
cr.hay@aucklandcity.govt.nz
cr.donnelly@aucklandcity.govt.nz
cr.northey@aucklandcity.govt.nz
cr.casey@aucklandcity.govt.nz

NB! Both Auckland City Councillors Doug Armstrong and Paul Goldsmith are Citizens and Ratepayers candidates who will be standing for the ‘SUPER CITY’ Auckland Council, in the election this October:

http://whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz/files/2010/04/Candidate-profile-pack.pdf

Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward

Cr Paul Goldsmith Auckland City Councillor

Orakei Ward
Cr Douglas Armstrong QSO Auckland City Councillor

Email Mayor John Banks, and ask him why he is allowing Metrowater’s unprecedented corporate bullying and harassment against the Iosefa family to happen ‘on his watch’?

mayor@aucklandcity.govt.nz

Email the Minister of Local Government – Rodney Hide – and demand that he intervene to stop this house sale, given the ‘statutes’ which are supposed to ensure that CCOs act in a ‘socially responsible’ manner, and in accordance with their ‘Statement of Intent’ – appear in the case of Metrowater, to be meaningless, and not worth the paper they are written on.

r.hide@ministers.govt.nz
_____________________________________________________________________

MY LATEST REPLY TO METROWATER’S CEO – TIM HAMMOND:

4 June 2010

URGENT ‘OPEN LETTER’ TO METROWATER’S CEO TIME HAMMOND-
“ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE FULL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ALL POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES, FOR INSTRUCTIONS TO METROWATER’S LAWYERS?

Dear Tim,

RE: Metro Water Limited (“Metrowater” v Iosefa -the letter from Metrowater’s lawyer, Sherridan Cook, Buddle Findlay dated 3 June 2010, regarding Metrowater’s proposed sale by public auction on Wednesday 9 June, of the family home of Maria and Luapo Iosefa, 89A Canal Rd Avondale.

(For ease of reference, I have raised my concerns about statements made by your lawyer, directly after each one of your lawyers paragraphs: )
______________________________________________________________________

Letter from Metrowater’s lawyer, Sherridan Cook, Buddle Findlay dated 3 June 2010

“Metro Water Limited (“Metrowater”) v losefa

1. We refer to your letters dated 2 and 3 June 2010.

2. The allegation in your letters that Metrowater is acting unreasonably by continuing to proceed with the sale is rejected. Your clients have known about the potential for a sale order for some time. Specifically, on 3 December 2007, Metrowater wrote to Mr and Mrs losefa and explained that, if their outstanding account was not paid,Metrowater would be left with no alternative but to proceed with a sale order.
______________________________________________________________________

(2) Your lawyer states: “…Metrowater would be left with no alternative but to proceed with a sale order.’

This is clearly not true, and not consistent with Metrowater’s Statement of Intent.

METROWATER STATEMENT OF INTENT 2009 ( Pg 7)

“THE NATURE OF OUR BUSINESS

1. Commercial Reliability

…..

* Maintain a robust customer debt management process that is fair and reasonable and audited on an annual basis. ”

_____________________________

4) METROWATER HAVE STATED PUBLICLY IN THEIR 2008/2009 ANNUAL REPORT:

“….

Ongoing debt which is still unpaid, after collection and legal process can be secured by Metrowater by obtaining a charging order on the debtors property through the district court.”
Metrowater had charging orders over Maria and Luapo Iosefa’s property.

But – in the case of this family – Metrowater are taking steps that they are not with any other family, in applying to sell their property.
________________________________________
______________________________

3.Following that letter, Metrowater obtained further judgments against your clients and it continued to request settlement of their outstanding account. In November 2009,Metrowater obtained a sale order for your clients’ property. The sale was set down for February 2010 and we understand that you were aware of that sale order. However, Metrowater elected not to proceed with the sale at that time. As you know, Metrowater has now obtained a new sale order.

4.On 18 March 2010, you wrote to us and requested all the invoices (over a 10 year period) that had been sent to your clients. On 16 April 2010, we sent you those invoices by email together with a breakdown of the total amount outstanding. On 20 April 2010, you advised us that you could not open the documents attached to our email. On that same day, we re-sent those documents by post.

5.Therefore, you and your clients have known of the outstanding debt, and the potential for sale, for a considerable period of time. The delay in raising the issues in your recent letters is not in any way the result of Metrowater’s conduct.

6.In any event, none of the issues raised in your letters, or the report from Verisure Investigators Limited, will prevent the sale of the property on 9 June 2010. We respond to the issues raised in your 2 June letter as follows:

(a) Metrowater is not in breach of its statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002. As discussed above, your clients were advised in December 2007 of the potential sale if their outstanding account was not paid. Metrowater has
given your clients a number of opportunities to pay the outstanding account, including a settlement proposal in its letter dated 14 November 2008 and a settlement request in our letter dated 16 April 2010. Metrowater’s approach to recovery of the debt has been socially responsible and consistent with the interests of its customers.
______________________________________________________________________

6. (a) Your lawyer states:

“Metrowater is not in breach of its statutory duties under the Local Government Act 2002″

This is clearly not true.
_________________________________

METROWATER’S STATUTORY DUTIES AS A COUNCIL-CONTROLLED ORGANISATION UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2002 STATE:

” 59 Principal objective of council-controlled organisation

(1) The principal objective of a council-controlled organisation is to—

(a) achieve the objectives of its shareholders, both commercial and non-commercial, as specified in the statement of intent; and

(c) exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so; ”

____________________________________________________
60 Decisions relating to operation of council-controlled organisations

All decisions relating to the operation of a council-controlled organisation must be made by, or under the authority of, the board of the organisation in accordance with—
(a) its statement of intent; and
(b) its constitution.
_________________________________

As outlined in my response to para 2) Metrowater are in clear breach of your Statement of Intent:

METROWATER STATEMENT OF INTENT 2009 ( Pg 7)

“THE NATURE OF OUR BUSINESS

1. Commercial Reliability.

* Maintain a robust customer debt management process that is fair and reasonable and audited on an annual basis. ”
______________________________________________________________________

(b) We accept that there is a typographical error in paragraph 6 of the statement of claim in proceeding CIV-2009-004-0375. As at 24 February 2009, the balance of $1 ,992.74 was due and owing by your clients to Metrowater. The claim states that the period to which that debt relates was from 9 October 2008 to 8 January 2009. However, the debt relates to invoices for the period from 7 April 2008 to 8 January 2009 (for water supplied between 4 January 2008 to 5 January 2009). The judgment will not be set aside on the basis of this error and, in any event, the time for raising such a query has long passed.
______________________________________________________________________

6(b) Your lawyer is admitting that Metrowater’s Statement of Claim was factually incorrect.
The ‘Judgment Debt’ arising from Metrowater’s factually incorrect Statement of Claim, was a ‘Judgment by Default’ – an undefended hearing, which Metrowater are using as the basis to sell the Iosefa’s family home.
_________________________________
_____________________________________

(c) Mr and Mrs losefa are the registered proprietors of the property described in certificate of title NA 136B/742 (“Property”). There are two dwellings on the Property. One dwelling is a weatherboard duplex. The water meter for this dwelling is meter 05A057572.
We understand that, in or about 2004, a new dwelling was built on your clients’ Property. A separate title was not issued for the new dwelling (although we understand it may be numbered 89C Canal Road). In 2004, Metrowater received an application from your clients for a water connection to the new dwelling. A connection was provided to the new dwelling and a water meter installed, being meter 03A263003.

The new dwelling is not on a separate title; it is a secondary dwelling on the Property. As a result, the water meter for the new dwelling is also on the Property. Your clients are responsible to Metrowater for payment of the water
and waste water services supplied to the two dwellings (as recorded on the two water meters) on the Property. There has not been a duplication of billing.
______________________________________________________________________

(d) Metrowater is not attempting to sell three dwellings in its advertisements.Metrowater is advertising for sale the property described in certificate of title NA136B/742, which contains two dwellings as discussed above. A copy of the
advertisement is enclosed. It does not show 89B Canal Road (NA136/743).

______________________________________________________________________

6(d) Your lawyer states:

“It does not show 89B Canal Road (NA136/743).”

What then is Metrowater’s understanding of the property ’89B Canal Road (NA136/743′?

Which property is 89B Canal Road (NA136/743), and who owns it, according to Metrowater?
______________________________________________________________________

(e) We have seen an order dated 26 May 2009 for substituted service of the claim documents (in proceeding CIV-2009-004-0375) and an affidavit of service of those documents. We have no reason to believe that your clients were not
served personally and/or served in accordance with the order for substituted service.

______________________________________________________________________

6(e) Your lawyer states:

“We have no reason to believe that your clients were not
served personally and/or served in accordance with the order for substituted service.”

Are Metrowater’s lawyers aware of the following?

‘Affidavit of Peter de Jong in support of ex parte Notice of Interlocutory Application for Orders Dispensing with Personal Service of the Defendant and Granting Substituted Service’ sworn 29th April 2009, which states:

“3. ON 16 April 2009, I served the First Defendant, Luapo Iosefa, at 89a Canal Road, Avondale, Auckland.

Particulars supporting service marked as exhibit “A”.

However – the above-mentioned exhibit “A”, states:

“2. I served that documents at 89C Canal Rd, Avondale.”

______________________________________________________________________

7) We respond to the issues raised in your 3 June letter, and the report from Verisure Investigators Limited, as follows:

(a) The statement of claim did not need to be supported by an affidavit and Metrowater was entitled to obtain judgment by default without filing or serving evidence of the unpaid debt.

______________________________________________________________________

7 (a) Your lawyer states:

“Metrowater was entitled to obtain judgment by default without filing or serving evidence of the unpaid debt”

But – your lawyer has admitted that Metrowater’s Statement of Claim was factually incorrect.

The ‘Judgment Debt’ arising from Metrowater’s factually incorrect Statement of Claim, was a ‘Judgment by Default’ – an undefended hearing, which Metrowater are using as the basis to sell the Iosefa’s family home.

So – Metrowater are lawfully entitled just to ‘make it up’ or ‘get it wrong’ and sell a family home on that basis?
Surely any Court Judgment needs to be on FACTS and CORRECT information?

How does this meet Metrowater’s above-mentioned statutory duties to:

“(c) exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so; “
______________________________________________________________________

(b) The terms of the two supply contracts that applied during the period in which the debt arose were identical in all material respects. The fact that two supply contracts applied is immaterial.
______________________________________________________________________

(c) It is irrelevant that Metrowater elected to pursue its claim in the District Court, rather than the Disputes Tribunal.
______________________________________________________________________

7 (c) Your lawyer states:

“It is irrelevant that Metrowater elected to pursue its claim in the District Court, rather than the Disputes Tribunal.”

Please be reminded of Metrowater’s stated ‘Customer Complaint Process’

http://www.metrowater.co.nz/sitecollectiondocuments/working_with_you_customer_terms_booklet.pdf

“Putting things right
Our customer complaint process
Resolving complaints

Metrowater is committed to providing you with high quality water and wastewater services. If you have any problems with our services, please contact us so that we can deal with your enquiry or complaint. We will investigate the matter and respond to your concern promptly, courteously and efficiently.

Three steps to resolving your complaint
Step 1: Call us
If you are unhappy or concerned about any aspect of our service, please phone our Customer Services Team on 09 624 4800, and our trained staff will do their best to resolve your issue there and then.

If the matter cannot be resolved immediately by our Customer Services Team, we will investigate the situation further to determine what occurred and what we can do to resolve the matter.

We will always try to respond to you with an answer within five working days – by telephone where possible, or in writing. In the case of a longer investigation, we will give you an initial reply within five working days and a more detailed response within ten working days.

If for any reason you are still unhappy with the resolution, or you believe Metrowater has breached a specific duty or obligation owed to you, you may wish to move to Step 2

Step 2: Work with us
If you have a specific complaint and are not happy with the response you receive, you may wish to discuss mediation or arbitration with us. If both parties agree to proceed with mediation or arbitration, we will usually share any costs involved.

If mediation or arbitration is not acceptable to either party or if we can not agree that there is a genuine basis for complaint, you can seek to have the matter escalated through more formal proceedings.

Step 3: Other options
If we have been unable to work together to satisfactorily resolve a genuine dispute, either of us may refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal or, for matters over $7,500, to the Court.

Disputes involving outstanding payments
If there is a payment or outstanding balance on an account relating to a genuine dispute involving a specific breach of obligations or duties we will, while the dispute is being considered, freeze the disputed amount. This means Metrowater will not initiate any further collection actions or charge any interest on the disputed amount while we investigate the matter.”
___________________________________________________________

Are you or your lawyer aware of Metrowater’s statutory duties arising from the Fair Trading Act?

That Metrowater have a lawful obligation to follow the ‘Disputes Process’ you have publicly stated on your website?
______________________________________________________________________

Fair Trading Act 1986

Part 1 Misleading and deceptive conduct, false representations, and unfair practices
11 Misleading conduct in relation to services

No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of services.”

Please be reminded that Maria and Luapo Iosefa have never received a reply from Metro Water to their ‘Letter of Dispute’ faxed to Metrowater on 2 July 2003.

______________________________________________________________________

(d) We have addressed in paragraph 6(b) above the issue of the period in which the debt arose.

(e) As discussed above, there are two dwellings on certificate of title NA136B/742. As a result, there are two water meters for certificate of title NA 136B/742.
______________________________________________________________________

(f) Mr and Mrs losefa are responsible to Metrowater for payment of the water and waste water services supplied to the two dwellings on certificate of title NA136B/742. They were sent invoices for those services, which they have failed to pay.
______________________________________________________________________

(g) Metrowater was entitled to obtain a sale order and the sale order was correctly issued by the Sherriff.
______________________________________________________________________

7 (g) Your lawyer states:

“Metrowater was entitled to obtain a sale order and the sale order was correctly issued by the Sherriff.

As outlined above in response to your lawyers paras (2), (6 a), (6 b), (6d), (6e),(7a),(7c) this is clearly not the case.
______________________________________________________________________

(h) Metrowater has not been reckless or prejudiced against the losefas. There has not been a miscarriage of justice. In all of the above circumstances, our client will not withdraw its sale order. We will defend any application for an injunction to prevent the sale and/or any application to set aside the judgment.

Yours faithfully,
BUDDLE FINDLAY
_______________________________________________________

7 (h) Your lawyer states:

“Metrowater has not been reckless or prejudiced against the losefas. There has not been a miscarriage of justice. In all of the above circumstances, our client will not withdraw its sale order.”

Are Metrowater and your lawyer, also aware of Metrowater’s statutory duties arising from the Human Rights Act 1993, and the Human Rights Amendment Act 2001?

Human Rights Act 1993 No 82 (as at 01 October 2008), Public Act
Discrimination in provision of goods and services
44 Provision of goods and services

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person who supplies goods, facilities, or services to the public or to any section of the public—

(a) To refuse or fail on demand to provide any other person with those goods, facilities, or services; or

(b) To treat any other person less favourably in connection with the provision of those goods, facilities, or services than would otherwise be the case,—

by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of

discrimination.

___________________________________________________________

Human Rights Amendment Act 2001

Part 1A
Discrimination by Government, related persons and bodies, or persons or bodies acting with legal authority

* Part 1A (sections 20I to 20L) was inserted, as from 1 January 2002, by section 6 Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 96).

21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination

· (1) For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—
(j) Political opinion, which includes the lack of a particular political opinion or any political opinion.

______________________________–

Maria and Luapo Iosefa are the first case where Metrowater have applied for a Sale Order to sell their property over a (disputed) Metrowater account.

As they are the ‘first’ – they are being treated in a way that is different to everybody else (who have Charging Orders over their property).

Therefore, if they are not being treated the same as others in the same situation – then they are being treated unfairly, and in a discriminatory manner.

It is my considered opinion, that the discrimination is political in nature and arises from the fact that Maria and Luapo Iosefa are members of the Water Pressure Group – the evidence being as follows:

EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF POLITICAL OPINION – EXPRESSED POLITICAL BIAS TOWARDS WATER PRESSURE GROUP MEMBERS GENERALLY, AND MYSELF AS WPG MEDIA SPOKESPERSON:

a)It appears that Metrowater are discriminating against the Iosefa family, in commencing legal proceedings to sell their house, because they are members of the Water Pressure Group.

b) Metrowater’s discriminatory attitude towards Water Pressure Group members, and myself as Water Pressure Group Media Spokesperson, has been clearly expressed in Court documents presented by Metrowater’s acting Solicitor, Mr Michael Tolhurst from City Law, in the recent above-mentioned case of Metrowater v W Blake – CIV-2008-004-001058, 27 Jan 2010); and in the transcript of evidence of Metrowater’s Legal and Complaince Officer, Mr John Hilario, arising from that same case:

i) “PLAINTIFF’S MEMORANDUM FOR JUDICIAL CONFERENCE ON 22 DECEMBER 2009

5. The other issue about which the Plaintiff is concerned in this matter is the allocation of time at 2 days. This is a straightforward case. The Plaintiff has provided water under a contract for supply for which the Defendant, Mr Blake has failed to pay.
The Plaintif’s task is to prove supply and non-payment.

Mr Blake has an advocate who will no doubt be in Court with him, Penny Bright.
Ms Bright is a political activist who is not legally trained. She indicated she would be calling witnesses to attest to Bill of Rights violations regarding the charging for water and general illegalities in regards to the formation of the Plaintiff Company. Ms Bright made these representations to the Court at the last Judicial Conference.

6. There is nothing pleaded by the Defendant in regards to alleged Bill of Rights abuse and illegality around the formation of Metrowater. It is submitted therefore that any briefs of witnesses appearing for Mr Blake ought only to deal with his defence to the claim ie that he was not ever supplied with water and that Metrowater is unable to charge him for water because Metrowater has no way of knowing what water has been used by him if any. It is submitted that any briefs of evidence which are prepared by Ms Bright or Mr Blake which deal with the political situation surrounding the formation of Metrowater and the right of Metrowater to charge for wastewater ought to be struck out by the Court. Certainly if the Court does not feel that it can take that step at this stage it is submitted that a direction to this effect ought to be given to Ms Bright and Mr Blake. The Plaintiff’s concern is that a straightforward matter of the failure by Mr Blake to pay for his water has been turned into a political sideshow by Ms Bright. This case is a claim for unpaid water but has been estimated to take 2 days only because Ms Bright indicated to the Court last time it came before the Court that she was intending to call people to give evidence re the formation of Metrowater, consequent illegality of that formation and breaches of the Bill of Rights. None of those matters are dealt with at all in the Statement of Defence which speaks loosely of fraud and harassment but does not deal at any stage with the Bill of Rights or illegalities in Metrowater’s ability to supply and charge for water and wastewater. …………………….

MW Tolhurst Solicitor for the Plaintiff

22 December 2009”

ii) TRANSCRIPT OF THE NOTES OF EVIDENCE

Metrowater v Blake – CIV -2008 – 004 – 001058 (27 Jan 2010)

Cross-examination by Ms Bright of Metrowater’s Legal and Compliance Officer Mr John Hilario:

Pg 12 (Lines 7 – 17)

“A. Based on Metrowater records the reason for charging Mr Blake on an unmetered basis was that on or about 19 May 1999 pursuant to its then policy on dealing with non-paying accounts, Metrowater disconnected Mr Blakes’s property from the public network. The metre was removed. Immediately thereafter Mr Blake reconnected his property to the public network without Metrowater’s consent.

By way of background to this action by Mr Blake, he is a member of the Water Pressure Group which is headed by Ms Penny Bright. In particular this group took exception to the decision by the Auckland City Council to separate the provision of water services from charges which up until the date of separation had been part of the general rates charge paid by ratepayers.

Pg 16 (Lines 7 – 27)

“Q. In terms of Metrowater’s customer terms, is it fair to say that Metrowater is also covered by the Human Rights Act, section 44, provision of goods and services, subsection (1) it shall be unlawful for any person who supplies goods, facilities or services to the public or any section of the public, (a) to refuse or fail on demand to provide any other person with those goods, facilities or services or, (b) to treat any other person less favourably in connection with the provision of those goods, facilities or services than would othersie be the case by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

A. Well I’m not sure what the question is.

Q. Does this legislation apply to Metrowater in your understanding?

A. Well from what I know the Human Rights Act will apply to all entities and persons in New Zealand so in that sense, yes we are covered by that but at the same time our policy is to treat all our customers alike.

Q. Would it be fair to say that one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under section 21 of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2001, subsection (1) for the purposes of this Act the prohibited grounds of discrimination include (j) political opinion which includes the lack of a particular political opinion or any political opinion. Do you accept that Metrowater is covered by that legislation?

A. I haven’t memorised the Act but if it’s as you read it then, yes I accept it.

Q. Is it your view that the Water Pressure Group is effectively an organisation with a political aim of being opposed to Metrowater because it’s opposed to user charges which Metrowater support?

A. I believe the Water Pressure Group has represented itself to be a political organisation.

Q. Is that how a person such as yourself sees the Water Pressure Group?

A. In my personal capacity, yes.

Q. How about in your official role as the Legal and Complaince Officer of Metrowater – do you see the Water Pressure Group basically as a political organisation with an aim that’s diametrically opposed to Metrowater’s basic reason for being?

A. As Metrowater’s lawyer I basically see the Water Pressure Group as a group of people who don’t pay their water charges.”


____________________________________________________________________________________________________

PLEASE CONFIRM BY 5PM TODAY FRIDAY 4 JUNE 2010, THAT YOU TIM HAMMOND, TAKE FULL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AS CEO OF METROWATER, AND HAVING READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS LETTER, CONFIRM THAT, KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY, YOU WILL NOT INSTRUCT YOUR LAWYER SHERRIDAN COOK TO WITHDRAW THE SALE ORDER IN THE “Metro Water Limited (“Metrowater”) v losefa MATTER.

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

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Metrowater, Stop the $uper City | Leave a comment

UPDATE! NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST WATER PRIVATISATION – SATURDAY 12 JUNE

4 June 2010

Hi folks!

HEAPS happening!

1) FIGHTING EXTORTIONIST BULLYING CCO METROWATER, AS THEY ATTEMPT – FOR THE SECOND TIME- TO UNLAWFULLY SELL A FAMILY HOME OVER A DISPUTED WATER BILL! METROWATER ARE A DISGRACE.

Been very busy helping to stop Auckland City Council water services CCO Metrowater from attempting (for the second time!) to sell the home of the Iosefa family from Canal Rd Avondale over a disputed water bill.

The Iosefas have been billed for TWO water meters, when only ONE is connected to the property that they own.

These ‘irregularities’ have been brought to the formal attention of Metrowater’s lawyers, Metrowater and Aucklans City Council. WE checked the invoices. Pity Metrowater didn’t.

If Metrowater don’t back off, an injunction will be filed to stop the sale (set down for auction 9 June ), and an application will be filed to ‘set aside’ the ‘judgment debt’, which is not substantiated by the invoices provided by Metrowater for the time period specified in Metrowater’s ‘Statement of Claim’.

It has been a total ‘pig’s breakfast on a number of fronts and I look forward to some major repercussions arising from this disgraceful display of vindictive corporate bullying, harassment and unbridled ‘social irresponsibility’ by Metrowater,and Auckland City Council.

Particularly the action of Auckland City Mayor John Banks, who had me dragged out of the Auckland Town Hall on Thursday 27 May 2010, after I applied for speaking rights in a proper way to address what was happening with the Iosefa family (and the National Day of Action).

Remember folks!
It is this ‘Metrowater’ CCO model that is proposed to be spread over the entire Auckland region – first CCOs – then PPPs……………..NO WAY!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

2) Audio link to interview aired on Green Planet FM Thursday 3 June 2010:

<http://“>www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/VIEW+00000001+00000098>

Outline of the $UPERCITY ‘corrupt corporate coup’ and the strategic positioning of water privatisers in Watercare and Auckland Transition Agency.

Have received positive feedback, and hope to try and get written transcript to help get the word out.

There is information on this interview that you won’t have heard anywhere else!

The plan is to get a You Tube video made – taking key audio ‘clips’ from the interview, and adding some names /faces/ key quotes etc.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

3) NEED MONEY TO HELP WITH PUBLICITY PLEASE FOLKS!

Posters – $750 (+GST) for 50 key sites over Auckland City – should be up tomorrow night – which should help to get people talking!
A poster ‘blitzkreig’ is what will REALLY help to crank up publicity!
People have heard about the Day of Action – now they need to see the ‘wall paper’!

(These are the BIG AO size posters that advertise events and are plastered up all over the place.)

100 people $10 each? – IT’S URGENT!

Suggest you see it as an ‘investment’ against water privatisation! 🙂

Don’t yet have ‘PayPal’ set up on website http://www.stopprivatisation.org.nz

Please direct credit donations to help with Auckland-based publicity and ‘Day of Action’ costs to:

ANZ 11 5401 0279690 00

Reference for auditing:
‘Publicity donation’

(Once upon a time – I would have underwritten such costs myself and been reimbursed once donations came in.
Only get $150 per week (from flatmate) – and am a bit overdrawn.. 😦

NEED SOME FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE HERE FOLKS!

Thanks!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

4) Grey Power are getting behind this National ‘Day of Action’.

Alan McCulloch (former Mayor of East Coast Bays) and ‘Zone Director for the Auckland region of Grey Power, said I could quote him:

“Grey Power is totally opposed to any privatisation of water”.

5) Listed below are Council areas which DO have contact people and rallies planned.

The big City Councils are covered, but we really need people to ‘pick up the ball’ for those City and district councils which are not yet covered.

It’s not a huge big deal folks!

A 2 hour protest outside your Council Chamber, people and placards standing up to be counted against our precious water being ‘commercialised – corporatised – then PRIVATISED’?

Can you please have a good look at the City and District Councils outstanding and think of people YOU know who might be interested in helping?

If YOU can make contact with those people, and confirm that YES they will help be a contact person – please email me back, and Maria and I can ensure that this contact info is updated.

We don’t have long folks!

PLEASE HELP!!!!

WE ARE IT!

SEIZE THE MOMENT!

GRAB THAT PHONE! 🙂

Grey Power?
Labour?
Greens?
NZ First?
Unions?
Human rights/ social justice groups?

Which Council areas can YOU help get ‘contact people’ for?

How can YOU help use your networks to advertise this event?

🙂

_________________________________________________________________

1) CONTACT PEOPLE AND NATIONAL ACTION PLANNED TO DATE!

AUCKLAND CITY: Rally outside Auckland Town Hall, Queen St Auckland City.
12 noon – 2pm
(Methodist Mission (over the road from the Town Hall)
booked from 1 – 3pm
so people can fill in and sign hard copy ‘submissions’ against
proposed changes to the Local
Government Act 2002 (Amendment) Bill and have a cuppa!

CONTACT PERSON: Penny Bright waterpressure@gmail.com
Ph (09) 846 9825 021 211 4 127
https://waterpressure.wordpress.com
____________________________________________________________

CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL : A BIG demonstration is already being organised
in Christchurch on by ‘OUR WATER – OUR VOTE’
Sunday 13th June – Cathedral Square – 3pm
( In case of rain, the Cathedral will be open)

CONTACT PERSON: Eugenie Sage Ph (03) 329 8177

So – Christchurch water activists are going to have their solidarity ‘National Day of Action’ against water privatisation on the Sunday – not the Saturday.

http://www.ourwaterourvote.org.nz
Flyer Delivery

“The next big event is on!! A water rally is being held in Cathedral Square on June 13th…………………………

If you have any questions please contact us.

Thanks very much – with your help this will be an event to remember.

Sincerely

Our Water Our Vote steering group”

___________________________________________________________

DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL: Rally from 12 noon – 2pm outside Dunedin Council
Chambers:
Civic Centre, 50 The Octagon

CONTACTS: Fliss Butcher Email: fbutcher@dcc.govt.nz Ph (03) 477 9972
Lyndon Weggery Email: LWeggery@hotmail.com
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

FRANKLIN DISTRICT COUNCIL: Rally from 12 noon – 2pm outside Franklin District
Council Chambers

82 Manukau Road
Pukekohe

CONTACTS: Judy Spencer/Margaret Swift Ph Judy (09) 236 3899

Contacts for Franklin against Water Privatisation

Email: thestudio@paradise.net.nz

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL: Rally outside Hamilton City Council Chambers
Council Offices
Garden Place
Hamilton
11 am – 1pm? (Need urgent confirmation of times 🙂

CONTACT PERSON: Mischelle Rhodes tommopmog@gmail.com
Ph (07) 847 7405
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

HUTT CITY COUNCIL: Rally outside Hutt City Council Chambers

Main Council Building,

30 Laings Road Lower Hutt

12 noon – 2pm

CONTACT PERSON: Anna Sutherland for Hutt City, anna@yorkbay.net.nz,
PH 021 349 411.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

MANUKAU CITY COUNCIL: Rally outside Manukau City Council
Chambers

Manukau Civic Centre,
31-33 Wiri Station Road (opposite Manukau District
Court), Manukau City Centre.

12 noon – 2pm

CONTACT PERSON: Bill Wiki Email: billwiki@ihug.co.nz
Ph 021 058 6538

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

NORTH SHORE CITY COUNCIL: Rally outside North Shore City Council Chambers
1 The Strand
Takapuna

12 noon – 2pm

CONTACT PERSON: Kerry Bevan Email: kbnzrepublican@yahoo.co.nz
Ph: (09) 473 3747
( assisted by Percy Allison Ph (09) 443 0369)
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

WAITAKERE CITY COUNCIL: Rally outside Waitakere City Council Chambers
6 Henderson Valley Road
Henderson
Waitakere

12 noon – 2pm

CONTACT PERSON: Mered Barrar capwaitakere@xtra.co.nz Ph:(09) 836 6389

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL:

Meet at the bucket fountain, Cuba Mall, Wellington at 11am on Saturday June 12th for leafleting and encouraging people to make submissions on the bill. At 12.30pm we will go from there to the Wellington City Council 101 Wakefield St Wellington to demand that they reject privatisation as a present or future option for supply of water.

CONTACT PERSON: Sam Buchanan in Wellington: quackysam@hotmail.com

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

WHANGEREI DISTRICT COUNCIL: Proposed Rally outside Whangerei District
Council Chambers
Forum North Building, Rust Avenue, Whangarei

12 noon – 2pm – assistance needed with placards / speakers

CONTACT PERSON: Clare Swinney
Ms Clare Swinney, 27 Kirikiri Rd, Woodhill, Whangarei. Ph: 00649-4307252 Inside NZ: 09-4307252 Mobile: 021-0732885

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
LIST OF COUNCILS STILL NEEDING CONTACT PEOPLE AND CONFIRMATION OF RALLIES FOR NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST WATER PRIVATISATION

Palmerston North City Council

http://www.pncc.govt.nz

Private Bag 11034

Palmerston North

06 356 8199 (ph)

06 351 4471 (fax)

info@pncc.govt.nz

Porirua City Council

http://www.pcc.govt.nz

PO Box 50218

Porirua City

04 237 5089 (ph)

04 237 6384 (fax)

enquiries@pcc.govt.nz

Tauranga City Council

http://www.tauranga.govt.nz

Private Bag 12022

Tauranga

07 577 7000 (ph)

07 577 7193 (fax)

info@tauranga.govt.nz

Upper Hutt City Council

http://www.uhcc.govt.nz

Private Bag 907

Upper Hutt

04 527 2169 (ph)

04 528 2652 (fax)

askus@uhcc.govt.nz

Invercargill City Council

http://www.icc.govt.nz

Private Bag 90104

Invercargill

03 211 1777 (ph)

03 211 1433 (fax)

service@icc.govt.nz

Carterton District Council

ADDRESS:

Council Chambers
Holloway Street, Carterton

http://www.cartertondc.co.nz

PO Box 9

Carterton

06 379 6626 (ph)

06 379 7832 (fax)

info@cdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.cartertondc.co.nz/governance.html

________________________________________________________

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council

ADDRESS:
28-32 Ruataniwha Street
WAIPAWA

http://www.chbdc.govt.nz

P O Box 127

Waipawa

06 857 8060 (ph)

06 857 7179 (fax)

info@chbdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.chbdc.govt.nz/mayor-and-councillors/

________________________________________________________________

Far North District Council

ADDRESS:

Memorial Avenue
Kaikohe

http://www.fndc.govt.nz

Private Bag 752

Kaikohe

09 405 2750 (ph)

09 401 2137 (fax)

ask.us@fndc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.fndc.govt.nz/your-council/elected-representatives#a0

_______________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Gisborne District Council

ADDRESS:
15 Fitzherbert Street

Gisborne

http://www.gdc.govt.nz

PO Box 747

Gisborne

06 867 2049 (ph)

06 867 8076 (fax)

service@gdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.gdc.govt.nz/councillor-contact-details/

_____________________________________________________________________________

Hastings District Council

ADDRESS:

207 Lyndon Road East
Hastings

http://www.hastingsdc.govt.nz

Private Bag 9002

Hastings

06 878 0500 (ph)

06 878 0555 (fax)

council@hdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/councillors

Hauraki District Council

William Street

Paeroa

http://www.hauraki-dc.govt.nz

PO Box 17

Paeroa

07 862 8609 (ph)

07 862 8607 (fax)

info@hauraki-dc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.hauraki-dc.govt.nz/

__________________________________________________________________________

Horowhenua District Council

ADDRESS:

126-148 Oxford Street
Levin

http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz

Private Bag 4002

Levin

06 949 4949 (ph)

06 949 4957 (fax)

enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/YourCouncil/Your-Councillors/

Kaipara District Council

ADDRESS:

42 Hokianga Road

Dargaville

http://www.kaipara.govt.nz

Private Bag 1001

Dargaville

09 439 7059 (ph)

09 439 6756 (fax)

council@kaipara.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.kaipara.govt.nz/council.htm

_____________________________________________________________________________

Kapiti Coast District Council

ADDRESS:

175 Rimu Road
Paraparaumu

http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz

Private Bag 601

Paraparaumu

04 904 5700 (ph)

04 904 5830 (fax)

kapiti.council@kapiticoast.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/Your-Council/Elected-Members/Mayor-Kapiti-Coast-District-Council/

http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/Your-Council/Elected-Members/Councillors/

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Kawerau District Council

ADDRESS:

Ranfurly Court
Kawerau

http://www.kaweraudc.govt.nz

Private Bag

Kawarau 3075

07 323 8779 (ph)

07 323 8072 (fax)

kaweraudc@kaweraudc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.kaweraudc.govt.nz/aboutourcouncil/councilstructure.asp

Manawatu District Council

ADDRESS:

135 Manchester Street
FEILDING

http://www.mdc.govt.nz

Private Bag 10001

Feilding

06 323 0000 (ph)

06 323 0822 (fax)

public@mdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.mdc.govt.nz/asp/contacts.asp?level1=contacts&level2=mayor/councillors

Masterton District Council

ADDRESS:

64 Chapel Street
Masterton

http://www.mstn.govt.nz

PO Box 444

Masterton

06 378 9666 (ph)

06 378 8400 (fax)

mdc@mstn.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.mstn.govt.nz/council/councillors/index.php

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________________________________________________________________

Matamata-Piako District Council

ADDRESS:

Te Aroha Office

35 Kenrick Street,

Te Aroha

http://www.mpdc.govt.nz

PO Box 266

Te Aroha

07 884 0060 (ph)

07 884 8865 (fax)

info@mpdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.mpdc.govt.nz/our-council/councillors-mayor/councillor-profiles.html

____________________________________________________________________________________

New Plymouth District Council

ADDRESS:

Civic Centre, Liardet St

New Plymouth

http://www.newplymouthnz.com

Private Bag 2025

New Plymouth

06 759 6060 (ph)

06 759 6072 (fax)

enquiries@npdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.newplymouthnz.com/TheCouncilAndItsPeople/CouncilPeople/MayorAndCouncillors/

________________________________________________________________________________

Opotiki District Council

ADDRESS:

108 St. John Street
OPOTIKI

http://www.odc.govt.nz

PO Box 44

Opotiki

07 315 3030 (ph)

07 315 7050 (fax)

info@odc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.odc.govt.nz/AboutCouncil/Representation/Pages/Representation.aspx

___________________________________________________________________________________

Otorohanga District Council

ADDRESS:

17 Maniapoto Street
Otorohanga

http://www.otodc.govt.nz

PO Box 11

Otorohanga

07 873 8199 (ph)

07 873 7991 (fax)

info@otodc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.otodc.govt.nz/Council/ElectedMembers.htm

________________________________________________________________________________

Papakura District Council

ADDRESS:

35 Coles Crescent

Papakura

http://www.papakura.govt.nz

Private Bag 7

Papakura

South Auckland

09 295 1300 (ph)

09 298 1906 (fax)

customerservices@papakura.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.papakura.govt.nz/council.htm

___________________________________________________________________________________

Rangitikei District Council

ADDRESS:

46 High St,

Marton

http://www.rangdc.govt.nz

46 High Street

Marton

06 327 8076 (ph)

06 327 6970 (fax)

info@rangdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.rangdc.govt.nz/index.php/mayor

http://www.rangdc.govt.nz/index.php/councillors

___________________________________________________________________________________

Rodney District Council

ADDRESS:

50 Centreway Road,

Orewa

http://www.rodney.govt.nz

Private Bag 500

Orewa

Auckland

09 426 5169 (ph)

09 426 7280 (fax)

info@rodney.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.rodney.govt.nz/YourCouncil/mayorcouncillors/Pages/MayorCouncillors.aspx

_________________________________________________________________________________

Rotorua District Council

ADDRESS:

Civic Centre

1061 Haupapa Street

Rotorua

http://www.rdc.govt.nz

Private Bag 3029

Rotorua Mail Centre

Rotorua 3046

07 348 4199 (ph)

07 348 4195 (fax)

mail@rdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.rdc.govt.nz/YourCouncil/ElectedMembers.aspx

_______________________________________________________________________________

Ruapehu District Council

ADDRESS:

59 – 63 Huia Street,

Taumarunui

http://www.ruapehudc.govt.nz

Private Bag 1001

Taumaranui 3946

07 895 8188 (ph)

07 895 3256 (fax)

info@ruapehudc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.ruapehudc.govt.nz/pages/council/elected_reps.html

_____________________________________________________________________________________

South Taranaki District Council

ADDRESS:

105-111 Albion Street
Hawera

http://www.stdc.co.nz

Private Bag 902

Hawera

06 278 0555 (ph)

06 278 8757 (fax)

contact@stdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.stdc.co.nz/index.php?page=home.php

____________________________________________________________________________________

South Waikato District Council

ADDRESS:

Torphin Crescent,

Tokoroa

http://www.swktodc.govt.nz

Private Bag 7

Tokoroa

07 885 0340 (ph)

07 885 0718 (fax)

info@southwaikato.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.southwaikato.govt.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=92&Itemid=106

___________________________________________________________________________________

South Wairarapa District Council

ADDRESS:

19 Kitchener Street,

MARTINBOROUGH

http://www.swdc.govt.nz

P O Box 6

Martinborough

06 306 9611 (ph)

06 306 9373 (fax)

enquiries@swdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLORS CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.swdc.govt.nz/container_pages/contacts.asp?section=mayor&level1=contacts&level2=mayor

http://www.swdc.govt.nz/container_pages/contacts.asp?section=c&level1=contacts&level2=councillors

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________________________________________________________________________

Stratford District Council

ADDRESS:

Miranda Street,

Stratford

http://www.stratford.govt.nz

PO Box 320

Stratford

07 765 6099 (ph)

07 765 7500 (fax)

stratforddc@stratford.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://stratford.govt.nz/content.php/article/meet-the-council/m/31

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Tararua District Council

ADDRESS:
26 Gordon St

Dannevirke

http://www.tararuadc.govt.nz

PO Box 115

Dannevirke

06 374 4080 (ph)

06 374 4137 (fax)

info@tararuadc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.tararuadc.govt.nz/asp/contacts.asp?section=mayor&menu=ba

http://www.tararuadc.govt.nz/asp/contacts.asp?section=councillors&menu=bb

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Taupo District Council

ADDRESS:

72 Lake Terrace,

TAUPO

http://www.taupodc.govt.nz

Private Bag 2005

Taupo

07 376 0899 (ph)

07 378 0118 (fax)

general@taupo.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.taupodc.govt.nz/Your-Council/Taupo-District-Council/

_______________________________________________________________________________

Thames-Coromandel District Council

ADDRESS:

515 Mackay Street,

Thames

http://www.tcdc.govt.nz

515 Mackay Street

Thames

07 868 0200 (ph)

07 868 0234 (fax)

customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.tcdc.govt.nz/Council/Mayor-and-Councillors/

_____________________________________________________________________________

Waikato District Council

ADDRESS:

15 Galileo St,

Ngaruawahia,

http://www.waikatodc.govt.nz

Private Bag 544

Ngaruawahia

07 824 8633 (ph)

07 824 5808 (fax)

publicEnquiries@waidc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.waikatodc.govt.nz/Your-Council/Mayor-and-councillors.aspx

_____________________________________________________________________________

Waipa District Council

ADDRESS:

101 Bank Street,

Te Awamutu

http://www.waipadc.govt.nz

Private Bag 2402

Te Awamutu

07 872 0030 (ph)

07 872 0033 (fax)

info@waipadc.govt.nz

MAYOR AND COUNCILLOR CONTACT DETAILS:

http://www.waipadc.govt.nz/Council/AboutTheCouncil/Councillors.htm
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June 3, 2010 Posted by | Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Metrowater, Stop the $uper City | Leave a comment

Auditor- General! Please reconsider your refusal to inquire into the Metrowater CCO model

5 May 2009

OPEN LETTER

Auditor-General

Kevin Brady

Dear Kevin,

Regarding my request on 6 April 2009, for you  to inquire into the cost-effectiveness of the Metrowater CCO model and your refusal to so do on 24 April 2009:

As a matter of some urgency, can you please provide a copy of whatever written (or other) evidence upon which you are relying, to substantiate your comment:

” Legislation is currently being prepared for consideration by Parliament. The question of the cost-effectiveness of the CCO model is a part of that policy debate.”

This is news to me.

The placing of over $28 BILLION worth of public assets into Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), is absolutely pivotal to the proposed Auckland ‘Supercity’ model.

: “All Auckland Auckland Council’s major commercial trading and infrastructure activities should be undertaken through CCOs”

[Recommendation 21 A of the Report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance]

The CCO model, (as you know), has not yet been subject to ANY ‘cost-benefit’ analysis by any body, including your Office – the Office of the Auditor-General.

Commonsense would suggest that even if you are correct in your above-mentioned claim,

The question of the cost-effectiveness of the CCO model is a part of that policy debate,” then, if that ‘policy debate’ is to be meaningful – there still needs to be factual evidence which supports the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of the CCO model.

Which there is not.

I have taken legal advice from a prominent QC on this matter and am informed that your decision,

“I therefore do not intend to carry out an inquiry into this issue“,  is judicially reviewable.

Rather than embark on that judicial process, I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision.

It would be very much appreciated if you could give me your response by this Friday 8 May 2009.

There is $28 billion worth of public assets at stake here – this is a matter of significant urgency and public interest.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson

Water Pressure Group

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

Ph (09) 846 9825

021 211 4 127

_________________________________________________________________________________

On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 11:46 AM, Kevin Brady <Kevin.Brady@oag.govt.nz> wrote:

Dear Penny

Thank you for your email of 6 April, copied to a range of others, in which you asked me to inquire into the cost-effectiveness of the Metrowater CCO model.

The Public Audit Act gives the Auditor-General a discretion on whether to inquire into matters that are raised with us. We receive many requests every year, and carefully consider the appropriate response in each case.

As you note in your letter to me, the future of Metrowater is a policy matter that is the subject of current political consideration. The Royal Commission has made specific proposals on this issue, and the government has now made policy decisions in response. Legislation is currently being prepared for consideration by Parliament. The question of the cost-effectiveness of the CCO model is a part of that policy debate. The Auditor-General is not a policy agency. It would be inappropriate for me to inquire into what are essentially policy matters, particularly while they are being debated at a political level and through the parliamentary process. I therefore do not intend to carry out an inquiry into this issue. You will have an opportunity to raise your concerns with the select committee that considers the legislation.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Brady

Kevin Brady
Controller and Auditor-General
Office of the Controller and Auditor-General, Tumuaki o te Mana Arotake
Level 5, 48 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Private Box 3928, Wellington
Ph: + 64 4 917 1500  |  DDI: + 64 4 917 1502  |  Fax: + 64 4 917 1509
Email:  kevin.brady@oag.govt.nz

—–Original Message—–
From: Kevin Brady
Sent: Friday, 24 April 2009 11:36 a.m.
To: Serena Boyer
Subject: FW: Auditor- General! An URGENT inquiry into the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of the CCO Metrowater is required NOW!

—–Original Message—–
From: Penny Bright [mailto:waterpressure@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 6 April 2009 01:21pm
To: Kevin Brady
Cc: Penny Bright; Bernard.Orsman@nzherald.co.nz; brian.rudman@nzherald.co.nz; Brian Gaynor; edward.rooney@theaucklander.co.nz; editor; Ian Wishart; ian sinclair; news@nzpa.co.nz; news@radiolive.co.nz; news@theindependent.co.nz; news@radionz.co.nz; news@newstalkzb.co.nz; news@tvnz.co.nz; MIGRANT NEWS; newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz; news@star-times.co.nz; news@niufm.com; newsed@nzpa.co.nz; news@95bfm.co.nz; cosdesk@tv3.co.nz; hunter.wells@tvnz.co.nz; phill.prendeville@tvnz.co.nz; phil kitchin; philt@times.co.nz; crcl@snl.co.nz; tinz@paradise.net.nz; leo.donnelly@ombudsman.parliament.govt.nz; mark.holman; Boris van Beusekom; Mark Thornton; jamiemelbourne@gmail.com; sophie@captimes.co.nz
Subject: Auditor- General! An URGENT inquiry into the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of the CCO Metrowater is required NOW!
__________________________________________________________________________________
6 April 2009

OPEN LETTER TO THE AUDITOR-GENERAL, KEVIN BRADY, CALLING FOR AN URGENT INQUIRY INTO THE ‘COST-EFFECTIVENESS’ OF THE METROWATER ‘CCO’ (COUNCIL CONTROLLED ORGANISATION) MODEL, FOR THE MAJORITY OF AUCKLAND CITY CITIZENS AND RATESPAYERS.

Dear Auditor-General,

Please be reminded of the ability of citizens to request an inquiry into any matter concerning a public entity’s use of its resources:

“Public Audit Act 2001

18  Inquiries by Auditor-General
(1) The Auditor-General may inquire, either on request or on the Auditor-General’s own initiative, into any matter concerning a public entity’s use of its resources.”

As Media Spokesperson for the Water Pressure Group, and a judically recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ for Metrowater, water and Auckland Regional Governance matters, I make this urgent request for the following reasons:

1) Since the Metrowater ‘commercialised’ (profit-making) model for water services was established in 1997, and ‘user-charges’ were introduced for wastewater services, there has never been a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of that model, first as a LATE (Local Authority Trading Enterprise) and now as a CCO (Council Controlled Organisation).

2) The public were told that the following benefits would accrue from this ‘more efficient’ Metrowater model:
a) Metrowater would be more ‘efficient’.
b) ‘User-charges’ would be ‘fairer’.
c) ‘User-charges’ would encourage water conservation.

3) The FACTS to date, are:
a) There has never been any form of ‘cost-benefit’ analysis which proves that the ‘contracting out’ of water services maintenance and operation has been more ‘cost-effective’ for the citizen and ratepaying majority, compared with the former provision of those services being provided ‘in house’, through the former Auckland City Council ‘Works Department.

b) Metrowater’s ‘user-charges’ for water services (currently $1.47  m3 for water and $3.53m3 for wastewater), cost families of 8 over $500 every 3 months – over $2000 per year, on top of property rates.
All households, rich or poor, pay the same amount for the same quantity of water (upon which the wastewater charge is ‘guesstimated’) used.

This is NOT ‘fairer’.
It is a clear breach of the International Human Right to Water.
New Zealand as a ‘State Party’ is supposed to be progressively implementing the International Human Right to Water – not working to progressively UNDERMINE and VIOLATE it!

“UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS General Comment No. 15 (2002) The right to water (Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights)
26 November 2002.

1.Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

11.The elements of the right to water must be adequate for human dignity, life and health, in accordance with Articles 11(1) and 12.
The adequacy of water should not be interpreted narrowly, by mere reference to volumetric quantities and technologies. Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic good.

27…. Any payment for water services has to be based on the principle of equity, ensuring that these services, whether privately or publicly provided, are affordable for all, including socially disadvantaged groups. Equity demands that poorer households should not be disproportionately burdened with water expenses as compared to richer households.”

If there is a ‘GIANT’ Metrowater set up for the Auckland region, with ‘user-charges’ introduced for wastewater – the Metrowater experience is that means there will be a huge rates reduction for high-valued properties (20% rates reduction across the board in Auckland City in 1997), with huge Metrowater bills for average to large families living in low-valued properties.

What will $2000 per year water services bills mean for those large poorer families living in Manukau, Waitakere and the North Shore?

c) The experience of the Metrowater ‘user-pays’ model has NOT led to water conservation, mainly because Metrowater, has lost/wasted more water than when they were established in 1997.
(The amount of ‘unaccounted for’ water lost or wasted by Metrowater
was        13.65% in 1997-1998.
The amount of ‘unaccounted for’ water lost or wasted by Metrowater peaked at 17.7% in 2007 -2008.

4) The ‘commercialised’ (profit-making) Metrowater model, has been proven to be diametrically opposed to encouraging genuine water conservation and genuine environmental ‘sustainability’.
If citizens and ratepayers use less water, (ie: ‘demand’ is down), Metrowater makes less profit.
That is why, unlike Waitakere City’s EcoWater, Metrowater are not genuinely interested in encouraging the use of water tanks, (eg: by giving rates rebates), or encouraging more efficient use of the 65% of household water that does not need to be drining water quality, to flush toilets, wash clothes, water gardens etc. Metrowater’s ‘encouragement’ of water conservation is, in my considered view, merely ‘greenwash tokenism’.

5) CCO, in the case of Metrowater, has stood for Ca$h Cow Organisation.
Auckland City Council had been using Metrowater price increases to subsidise rates through the mechanism of ‘Charitable Payments’ – which the Local Government and Environment Select Committee ruled was ‘unacceptable’.
(As you know, it was a Water Pressure Group petition which triggered this Local Government and Environment Select Committee Inquiry.)

6) It has taken 22 arrests over a four year period, in defending the right of the public to ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government, for Metrowater matters to be no longer hidden from the public under the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ agenda at Auckland City Council meetings.

7) Under the CCO model, the operation and management is taken out from under direct Council control.
Those on the Board of Metrowater’s Directors, are appointees, over whom the public have no control.
CCO meetings are not open to the public.
The ‘Council Control’ over the CCO model, is limited mainly to approving a ‘Statement of Intent’, into which there is no process for direct involvement of the public.
There is effectively NO participatory democracy for the public majority under the CCO model.

THE NEED FOR URGENCY IN THE CONDUCT OF SUCH AN INQUIRY IS BECAUSE THE ROYAL COMMISSION FOR AUCKLAND REGIONAL GOVERNANCE, IS EFFECTIVELY RECOMMENDING A ‘GIANT’ METROWATER CCO FOR THE WHOLE AUCKLAND REGION:

“CHAPTER 21 : COUNCIL ORGANISATIONS AND COUNCIL-CONTROLLED ORGANISATIONS:

21 A All Auckland Council’s major commercial trading and infrastructure activities should be undertaken through CCOs

21 B Larger commercial and infrastructure CCOs of the Auckland Council should have an obligation to operate as a successful business as required under the State-Owned Enterprises Act with a clear set of financial targets and objectives.

21 C Statements of intent should be agreed three-yearly (matching the electoral cycle) between the boards of CCOs and the Auckland Council and be subject to quarterly reporting and annual performance review.
…”

“CHAPTER 26: THE THREE WATERS

26 A The Auckland Council should have overall responsibility for setting policy in relation to the three waters.

26 B Subject to Recommendations 26 C and 26 D, Watercare Services Limited should assume statutory respnsibility for all water and wastewater services within the Auckland Council area.
The water and wastwater operations of (including assets and relevant
staff) of all abolished local authorities should be transferred to Watercare Services Limited on the establishment date. This includes the water and wastewater operations of Rodney District Council, North Shore City Council, Waitakere City Council, Papakura District Council, Franklin District Council, Metrowater and Manukau Water Limited.

26 C In urban areas, all drinking water and wastewater services should be supplied by one council-controlled organisation (Watercare Services
Limited) owned by the Auckland Council. (This is subject to existing contractual arrangements in Papakura.)

26 D  The Auckland Council should determine whether and/or the extent to which Watercare Services Limited will supply retail water and wastewater services in rural areas such as Franklin and Rodney.

26 E  No compensation should be payable for the transfer of water-related assets from the existing territorial authorities to the Auckland Council.

26 F  All assets relating to Auckland’s water services should remain in public ownership.

26 G The Auckland Council should determine the extent to which responsibilities for the delivery of stormwater services are shared between local councils and Watercare Services Limited.

26 H The current obligation on Watercare Services Limited to maintain prices for water and wastewater at minimum levels (subject to obligations be an effective business and maintain its assets in the long term) should continue.
So too should the prohibition on paying a dividend.

26 I Watercare Services Limited should be required by legislation to promote demand management.

26 J Both water and wastewater charges should be calculated on a volumetric (or notionally volumetric) basis.

26 K Uniform charges for water and wastewater should apply across the region.

26 L The “public good” protections in Watercare Services Limited’s current governance model should continue.
These protections relate, amongst other things to efficient management of the business, pricing and maintaining asset integrity.

26 M  Watercare Services Limited should be required to prepare a stormwater action plan.

Transition

26 N  The Establishment Board will have an oversight role in relation to the integration of local water network operations into Water Services Limited.  this integration will be undertaken by Watercare Servcies Limited.  Watercare Services Limited should consult with the Establishment Board on the development of a draft statement of intent, and agree on appropriate efficiency targets for the integration.”

Please be reminded that the ‘Rates Inquiry’ headed by David Shand, equally, without checking cost-benefit analyis of the Metrowater model (despite my best efforts at the two Auckland meetings) recommended the introduction of water meters and spreading of volumetric charging for water and wastewater services throughout NZ.

Please be advised that I have had confirmed from the following persons, that there has not been any ‘cost-benefit’ of the CCO model, not just for water, but for ANY CCO model!

You, yourself as Auditor-General, confirmed this in a telephone conversation on Tuesday 31 March 2009.

Nobody from the  Department of Internal Affairs Manager, has yet confirmed that there had been any ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the CCO model.

Peter McKinley from the AUT Local Government Study Centre, confirmed by telephone on Friday 3 April 2009, that to his knowledge he didn’t think ‘that anyone would have done one’.

Prof Ken Palmer confirmed by email on 3 April 2009 that to his knowledge there had been no cost-benefit analysis of the CCO model.

SO – WHO HAS DONE A ‘COST-BENEFIT’ ANALYSIS OF THIS PROPOSED CCO MODEL?

UPON WHAT FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF THE ‘COST-EFFECTIVENESS’ OF THE CCO MODEL, HAVE THE ROYAL COMMISSIONERS MADE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS?

HOW WILL THIS BE ‘PRUDENT STEWARDSHIP’ OF RATEPAYER RESOURCES – GUTTING COUNCILS OF WHAT REMAINS OF OUR SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC ASSETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE AND PLACING THEM UNDER A MODEL THAT HAS YET TO BE TESTED FOR ‘COST-EFFECTIVENESS’?

The time for an inquiry into the CCO Metrowater model is NOW.

In order to be of assistance, please be reminded of the following provisions of the Public Audit Act 2001:

“4  Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,- Crown-
(a) means Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand; and
(b) includes all Ministers of the Crown and all departments; but
(c) does not include-
(i) an Office of Parliament; or
(ii) a Crown entity; or
(iii) a State enterprise named in Schedule 1 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986”

“5   Meaning of public entity
(1) In this Act, public entity means each of the following entities:
(a) the Crown:”

“6 Act to bind the Crown”

“9. Duty to act independently
The Auditor-General must act independently in the exercise and performance of the Auditor-General’s functions, duties, and powers”

“Schedule 3
Provisions applying in respect of Auditor-General, Deputy Auditor-General, and employees of Auditor-General”

3 Oath of office
(1) The Auditor-General and Deputy Auditor-General must each, before undertaking any duties as such, take an oath of office that he or she will honestly and impartially perform the duties of his or her office.
(2) The oath must be administered by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Clerk of the House of Representatives.”

Looking forward to your prompt acknowledgement of this request, and confirmation that the Office of the Auditor-General will commence an INQUIRY INTO THE ‘COST-EFFECTIVENESS’ OF THE METROWATER ‘CCO’ (COUNCIL CONTROLLED ORGANISATION) MODEL, FOR THE MAJORITY OF AUCKLAND CITY CITIZENS AND RATESPAYERS. at your earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ for Metrowater, water and Auckland Regional Governance matters.

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Metrowater, Stop the $uper City | Leave a comment