4 February 2015

URGENT ‘Open Letter’ /OIA request to Local Government Commissioners
re: Draft Greater Wellington Reorganisation Proposal.

Dear Local Government Commissioners,

Basil Morrison Chairman

Anne Carter Commissioner

Janie Annear Commissioner

Over the Christmas break, I have studied numerous documents pertaining to the Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal.

The following is my considered opinion:

1) There should be NO further amalgamations of Councils anywhere in New Zealand, until there is a full, thorough and independent audit of the Auckland ‘Supercity’, (based upon FACTS and EVIDENCE) which confirms how ‘cost-effective’ it has really been for the majority of Auckland Council citizens and ratepayers.

I note that in the ‘Application for Local Government Reorganisation – PROPOSAL FOR A UNITARY AUTHORITY WITH LOCAL BOARDS FOR THE WELLINGTON REGION’ – it is stated on page 47:

“The Auckland Council experience and overseas examples strongly suggest that there should be a reasonable expectation of efficiency savings from the creation of a combined Wellington Council.

Opportunities would likely come from the following areas:

* Common administrative and support functions (human
resources, procurement, ICT, finance, property
management, corporate and executive services)

* Common data management systems and processes

* Common regulatory functions, activities and
processes (building consents, resource consents,
liquor licensing, dog permits, and other permits and
licensing)

* Streamlined planning processes for resource
management, transport planning as well as plans
required under the Local Government Act

* Single ownership of assets and a comprehensive asset
management approach

* Services that are delivered at both a regional and
local level (economic development and tourism
marketing)

* Combined contract for services, for example rubbish
collection and road management.

….”
_________________________________________________________

OIA REQUEST 1:

PLEASE PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE UPON WHICH YOU LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONERS ARE RELYING / HAVE RELIED UPON IN ORDER TO BE ‘SATISFIED’ WITH THAT THIS ABOVE-MENTIONED STATEMENT IS FACTUALLY ACCURATE:
_________________________________________________________

2) In my considered opinion, this ‘Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal’ is fundamentally flawed, and this process should cease forthwith, because the public are not being given detailed FACTS or INFORMATION showing exactly where Councils in the Greater Wellington region are currently spending citizens and ratepayers public monies on Council services and regulatory functions.

This information is needed in order to establish a factual datum, upon which to measure current or future ‘cost-effectiveness’ in the provision of Council services and regulatory functions. There is no information of this type in the
Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal, so the public simply cannot make an ‘informed’ submission.

Please be reminded of your statutory duties arising from the Local Government Act 2002, regarding your ‘Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal’:

(Please note that the underlining of particular sections of this legislation is mine).

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0084/latest/DLM171803.html

Subpart 1—Purpose of local government

10Purpose of local government

(1)The purpose of local government is—

(a)to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and

(b)to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.

(2)In this Act, good-quality, in relation to local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions, means infrastructure, services, and performance that are—

(a)efficient; and

(b)effective; and

(c)appropriate to present and anticipated future circumstances.

Section 10(1)(b): replaced, on 5 December 2012, by section 7(1) of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2012 (2012 No 93).
Section 10(2): inserted, on 5 December 2012, by section 7(2) of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2012 (2012 No 93).
_________________________________________________

Schedule 3
Reorganisation of local authorities

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0084/latest/DLM4927102.htm

11Commission to determine preferred option

(1)As soon as practicable after the deadline for the receipt of alternative applications, the Commission must, in accordance with this clause, determine its preferred option for local government of the affected area.

(2)The Commission must first identify the reasonably practicable options for local government of the affected area.

(3)In deciding the extent to which it identifies the reasonably practicable options, the Commission must have regard to—

(a)the scale and scope of the changes proposed; and
(b)the degree of community support for relevant applications that has been demonstrated to the Commission; and
(c)the potential benefits of considering other options; and
(d)the desirability of early certainty about local government arrangements for the affected area.

(4)The reasonably practicable options—

(a)must include the existing arrangements for local government; and
(b)may include—

(i)the proposals in the application made under clause 3; or

(ii)the proposals in an alternative application made under clause 10; or

(iii)options, other than those referred to in paragraph (a) and subparagraphs (i) and (ii), formulated by the Commission; or

(iv)a combination of aspects derived from 2 or more of the options referred to in paragraph (a) and subparagraphs (i) to (iii).

(5)The Commission must be satisfied that any local authority proposed to be established or changed under a reasonably practicable option will—

(a)have the resources necessary to enable it to carry out effectively its responsibilities, duties, and powers; and

(b)have a district or region that is appropriate for the efficient performance of its role as specified in section 11; and

(c)contain within its district or region 1 or more communities of interest, but only if they are distinct communities of interest; and

(d)in the case of a regional council or unitary authority, enable catchment-based flooding and water management issues to be dealt with effectively by the regional council or unitary authority.

(6)For the purposes of subclause (5), the Commission must have regard to—

(a)the area of impact of the responsibilities, duties, and powers of the local authorities concerned; and

(b)the area of benefit of services provided; and

(c)the likely effects on a local authority of the exclusion of any area from its district or region; and
(d)any other matters that it considers appropriate.

(6A)If the application made under clause 3 is a local board reorganisation application,—

(a)subclauses (5) and (6) do not apply; and

(b)the reasonably practicable options must not include any proposed change to the boundaries or functions of the affected local authority; and

(c)the Commission must be satisfied that the governance arrangements proposed under a reasonably practicable option will—

(i)enable democratic local decision making by, and on behalf of, communities throughout the affected area; and

(ii)provide fair and effective representation for individuals and communities throughout the affected area; and

(iii)enable equitable provision to be made for the current and future well-being of all the communities within the affected area.

(7)In deciding whether any proposed changes are reasonably practicable, the Commission may—

(a)request further information from applicants and affected local authorities; and

(b)undertake any investigations and make any inquiries that the Commission considers appropriate.

(8)If the Commission identifies 2 or more reasonably practicable options, the Commission must determine its preferred option, having regard to—

(a)the criteria in clause 12(2), if subclause (6A) applies; or

(b)the criteria in clause 12(1) in any other case.

Schedule 3 clause 11(6A): inserted, on 8 August 2014, by section 69 of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2014 (2014 No 55).
Schedule 3 clause 11(8): replaced, on 8 August 2014, by section 69 of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2014 (2014 No 55).
_________________________________________________________

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0084/latest/DLM4927103.htmll
12Promotion of good local government

(1)For the purposes of clause 11(8), the Commission must be satisfied that its preferred option—
(a)will best promote, in the affected area, the purpose of local government as specified in section 10; and

(b)will facilitate, in the affected area, improved economic performance, which may (without limitation) include—

(i)efficiencies and cost savings; and

(ii)productivity improvements, both within the local authorities and for the businesses and households that interact with those local authorities; and

(iii)simplified planning processes within and across the affected area through, for example, the integration of statutory plans or a reduction in the number of plans to be prepared or approved by a local authority.
(2)For the purposes of clause 11(8)(a), the Commission must be satisfied that its preferred option—
(a)will best promote, in the affected area, the purpose of local government as specified in section 10; and

(b)will best promote the interests of the communities in the district in terms of—
(i)the benefits to all communities of a consistent or co-ordinated approach in the district; and

(ii)the benefits to particular communities of reflecting the particular needs and preferences of each community.

Schedule 3 clause 12(2): inserted, on 8 August 2014, by section 69 of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2014 (2014 No 55)

________________________________________________________

How can the statutory requirements for the meeting

“.. the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.”

possibly be met, if the CURRENT COSTS of infrastructure, Council services and regulatory functions are not spelled out, and confirmed in a proper, thorough, accurate, open, transparent and accountable way?

In order to assist, I have provided, under the ‘no cost / public service model’, ‘Transparency Templates’ which, in my considered opinion, are the mechanism by which the CURRENT actual costs of infrastructure, Council services and regulatory functions, across the Greater Wellington Region, can be accurately documented and assessed.

Having gone to the websites of each of the following Councils of the Greater Wellington Region:

Greater Wellington Regional Council
Wellington City Council
Hutt City Council
Upper Hutt City Council
Porirua City Council
Kapiti District Council
South Wairarapa District Council
Carterton District Council
Masterton District Council

I have compiled a list of 146 total Council Services and Regulatory Functions.

For ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government first question to be answered is, over the 9 Councils in the Greater Wellington Region, which of these 146 Council Services and Regulatory Functions are provided ‘in-house’, by Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), or ‘contracted out’ – or if not provided at all – ‘Not Applicable’ (N/A).

1. Accessibility Services
2. Advertising Signs – Business /Commercial
3. Airport
4. Air Quality Control
5. Animal control, impounding, welfare
6. Archives
7. Arts and Culture
8. Asset and liability management
9. Beach control
10. Beautification
11. Biodiversity
12. Brothels – control of location and signage
13. Building consents processing, advice and compliance
14. Buildings – Earthquake safety
15. Business support
16. Bylaws (wide variety) and enforcement
17. Camping
!8. Car pooling
19. Citizens Awards
20. Citizenship Ceremonies
21. Citizens Advice Bureaux
22. Citizen and customer contact
23. Civil defence emergency management
24. Closed landfill management
25. Clubs and organisations
26. Coastal environmental development control
27. Coastal planning and management
28. Community centres, halls and facilities
29. Community grants and levies
30. Community planning
31. Community development, partnerships, services &
support
32. Council housing
33. Crematorium
34. Crime prevention
35. Cultural heritage conservation
36. Cycling
37. Decks
38. Democracy and Governance
39. District planning
40. Dog control
41. Earthquakes
42. Economic Development
43. Engineering
44. Entertainment and cultural venues
45. Environmental health control
46. Environmental monitoring
47. Ethnic Communities
48. Events promotion
49. Farming in parks
50. Fees and charges
51. Fences
52. Fire protection
53. Fireworks
54. Food premises licensing
55. Food stalls
56. Foot paths
57. Forests
58. Gambling and gaming machine policy
59. Gardens
60. Graffiti
61. Hairdressers
62. Harbourmaster
64. Hazards management / Hazard Register
65. Hazardous substances controls
66. Health – Advocacy and Programmes
67. Holiday Parks
68. Insects
69. Interpretation Services
70. Issues Resolution
71. Job Vacancies
72. Land development
73. Land drainage
74. Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
75. Land management
76. Land use planning
77. Landfills
78. Libraries
79. Liquor licensing
80. Maori relations
81. Marina operations
82. Motor cycle safety
83. Museums
84. Natural heritage conservation
85. Noise control
86. Official Information Act requests
87. Pacific Island communities
88. Parking control
89. Parking places
90. Parks and reserves
91. Passenger transport policy and facilities
92. Pensioner housing
93. Planning
94. Playgrounds
95. Pollution response
96. Pounds
97. Property Information Memorandum (PIM)
98. Property management
99. Property valuations
100. Public Information / Notices
101. Public/passenger transport planning
102. Rates
103. Recreation Centres
104. Recreation and sports programmes
105. Recycling
106. Refuse / rubbish transfer stations
107. Regional growth management planning
108. Regional parks
109. Regional planning
110. Resource planning (water, oil, land etc)
111. Resource consent processing and monitoring
112. Road asset management
113. Road construction
114. Road maintenance
115. Road safety
116. Rubbish
117. Safety in public places
118. Senior citizens
119. Service centres
120. Signs (Election)
121. Sports grounds and venues
122. Stock control
123. Stormwater management
124. Street furniture and trees
125. Street performers (buskers)
126. Street trading / selling (hawkers)
127. Swimming pools
128. Sustainability
129. Tenders
130. Toilets (public)
131. Tourist / visitor information and facilities
132. Town Centre and Business Precincts promotion
133. Trade waste
134. Traffic management
135. Transport network management
136. Transport policy and planning
137. Trees
138. Vehicles – abandoned / derelict
139. Walking and cycling
140. Walkways
141. War Memorials
142. Wastewater
143. Water quality monitoring
144. Water supply
145. Wharf management
146. Zoo

________________________________________________________

(See ‘Transparency’ Template – the first attached document).

‘TRANSPARENCY’ TEMPLATE FINAL WORD DOC FOR GREATER WELLINGTON REGION – CURRENT SERVICES & REGULATORY PROVISION (5) 2 February 2015

The next ‘Transparency Template’ document, is one which lists a series of questions to be asked of each of the 146 Council Services and Regulatory Functions, in order to compare ‘apples with apples’ over each of the 9 Councils in the Greater Wellington Region.

For example: Council Services and Regulatory Function Number 40
‘Dog Control’, in order to compare how – from Kapiti District Council to Masterton District Council, how is this currently carried out?

1. Type of Service / Regulatory provision:(In-house ,

CCO, Contracted-Out)

2. Name of Service / Regulatory Provider

3. Scope of Service / Regulatory Provision

4. Cost of Service / Regulatory Provision

5. Numbers of full-time staff directly employed on

providing service / RF

6. Numbers of part-time staff / temps directly

employed on providing CS / RF

7. Numbers of full-time staff providing admin support

for staff directly employed

8. Numbers of part-time staff / temps providing

admin support for staff directly employed

9. Offices / owned / rented – addresses

10. Cost of offices

11. Numbers of vehicles owned /hired

12. Cost of vehicles

13. Other overhead costs

14. If contracted – unique contract number

15. Contract managed by whom

16. Cost of contract management

17. Auditing of contract – by whom

18. Cost of auditing contract (by Council)

19. ‘Third Party’ contract auditing – by whom

20. Cost of ‘Third Party’ contract auditing

21. Fees / charges for services / functions

________________________________________________________

OIA REQUEST 2:

PLEASE PROVIDE THE INFORMATION THAT ‘FILLS IN’ THE FIRST ‘TRANSPARENCY TEMPLATE – which confirms over the 9 Councils in the Greater Wellington Region, which of these 146 Council Services and Regulatory Functions are provided ‘in-house’, by Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), or ‘contracted out’ – or if not provided at all – ‘Not Applicable’ (N/A).

________________________________________________________

OIA REQUEST 3:

PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FOR EACH OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED 146 COUNCIL SERVICES AND REGULATORY FUNCTIONS ACROSS THE 9 COUNCILS IN THE GREATER WELLINGTON REGION:

GREATER WELLINGTON individual service comparison

1. Type of Service / Regulatory provision:(In-house ,

CCO, Contracted-Out)

2. Name of Service / Regulatory Provider

3. Scope of Service / Regulatory Provision

4. Cost of Service / Regulatory Provision

5. Numbers of full-time staff directly employed on

providing service / RF

6. Numbers of part-time staff / temps directly

employed on providing CS / RF

7. Numbers of full-time staff providing admin support

for staff directly employed

8. Numbers of part-time staff / temps providing

admin support for staff directly employed

9. Offices / owned / rented – addresses

10. Cost of offices

11. Numbers of vehicles owned /hired

12. Cost of vehicles

13. Other overhead costs

14. If contracted – unique contract number

15. Contract managed by whom

16. Cost of contract management

17. Auditing of contract – by whom

18. Cost of auditing contract (by Council)

19. ‘Third Party’ contract auditing – by whom

20. Cost of ‘Third Party’ contract auditing

21. Fees / charges for services / functions

________________________________________________________

OIA REQUEST 4:

Please provide the information which explains why in your ‘Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal’, (Volume 1) there is no mention made of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) that currently exist within the Great Wellington Region.

http://www.lgc.govt.nz/assets/Wellington-Reorganisation/Wellington-reorg-Draft-Proposal-Wellington-Volume-1.pdf
_________________________________________________________

FYI – here is an OIA that I have sent to the CEO of Auckland Council, Stephen Town, requesting the following information pertaining to the purported ‘efficiency savings’ arising from the ‘combined Auckland Council’ :

“31 December 2014

Stephen Town
Auckland Council CEO

‘Open Letter’ /OIA request to Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town :

Please provide the EVIDENCE of ‘efficiency savings’ since the Auckland Council forced amalgamation on 1 November 2010:

Dear Stephen,

In the ‘Application for Local Government Reorganisation – PROPOSAL FOR A UNITARY AUTHORITY WITH LOCAL BOARDS FOR THE WELLINGTON REGION’ – it is stated on page 47:

“The Auckland Council experience and overseas examples strongly suggest that there should be a reasonable expectation of efficiency savings from the creation of a combined Wellington Council.

Opportunities would likely come from the following areas:

* Common administrative and support functions (human
resources, procurement, ICT, finance, property
management, corporate and executive services)

* Common data management systems and processes

* Common regulatory functions, activities and
processes (building consents, resource consents,
liquor licensing, dog permits, and other permits and
licensing)

* Streamlined planning processes for resource
management, transport planning as well as plans
required under the Local Government Act

* Single ownership of assets and a comprehensive asset
management approach

* Services that are delivered at both a regional and
local level (economic development and tourism
marketing)

* Combined contract for services, for example rubbish
collection and road management.

….”

A) Please provide the EVIDENCE which confirms in each of the above-mentioned categories the ACTUAL ‘savings’ (if any) which have been made, by comparing the ACTUAL costs for each category, and ‘sub’category, of the 8 previous Councils in the Auckland region in the last ‘rating year’ prior to the forced Auckland Council amalgamation on 1 November 2010.

B) Please provide the information which confirms the ‘reorganisational’ costs of the Auckland Council forced amalgamation on 1 November 2010, in each of the above-mentioned categories, including all costs relating and pertaining to the establishment and operational costs of the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA), particularly the costs of appointed ATA members and staff.

C) Please provide the information which confirms the costs of establishing, and/or extending the roles of the following 7 ‘substantive’ Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), in each of the above-mentioned categories.

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/representativesbodies/CCO/Pages/Home.aspx

Auckland Council Investments Limited
Auckland Council Property Limited
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited
Auckland Transport
Auckland Waterfront Development Agency Limited
Regional Facilities Auckland
Watercare Services Limited
_________________________________________________________

Please be reminded of possible legal consequences for ‘contravention of statute’, if your above-mentioned statutory duties, are arguably not carried out, in a proper way:

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328788.html

107Contravention of statute

(1)Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year who, without lawful excuse, contravenes any enactment by wilfully doing any act which it forbids, or by wilfully omitting to do any act which it requires to be done, unless—

(a)some penalty or punishment is expressly provided by law in respect of such contravention as aforesaid; or

(b)in the case of any such contravention in respect of which no penalty or punishment is so provided, the act forbidden or required to be done is solely of an administrative or a ministerial or procedural nature, or it is otherwise inconsistent with the intent and object of the enactment, or with its context, that the contravention should be regarded as an offence.

(2)Nothing in subsection (1) applies to any contravention of any Imperial enactment or Imperial subordinate legislation that is part of the laws of New Zealand, or to any omission to do any act which any such Imperial enactment or Imperial subordinate legislation requires to be done.

(3)In subsection (2), the terms Imperial enactment and Imperial subordinate legislation have the meanings given to them by section 2 of the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988.

Compare: 1908 No 32 s 129
Section 107(2): inserted, on 1 January 1989, by section 2 of the Crimes Amendment Act 1988 (1988 No 114).
Section 107(3): inserted, on 1 January 1989, by section 2 of the Crimes Amendment Act 1988 (1988 No 114).
__________________________________________________

Please be advised that I am prepared to make myself available to discuss any of the above-mentioned matters with you.

This offer also applies to any elected representatives from any Councils in the Greater Wellington region.

FYI – a copy of the ‘Open Letter’ I sent, on 15 January 2015, to all Mayors and Councillors in the Greater Wellington Region is available here:

http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz/stop-the-wellington-supercity/

FYI – the following was a front page article on the Wairarapa Times Age, 17 January 2015:
“Supercity scheme ‘flawed’ – Bright

It hasn’t worked in Auckland and it won’t here, says activist ”
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wairarapa-times-age/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503414&objectid=11387595

Also FYI – here is the You Tube clip of my presentation to about 120 people at the Carterton Memorial Hall on Friday 23 January 2015:

“Why the Auckland ‘Supercity’ is a SUPER MESS”

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

‘Anti-corruption whistle-blower’

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

Attendee: 2009 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2010 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2013 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2014 G20r Anti-Corruption Conference

2013 Independent Auckland Mayoral candidate (polled 4th with 11,723 votes)

www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz

15 January 2015

‘Open Letter’ from Penny Bright  to all Mayors and Councillors of the ‘Greater Wellington Region’ – why I recommend the Wellington ‘Draft Reorganisation Proposal’ should cease forthwith.
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Wellington City Council
Hutt City Council
Upper Hutt City Council
Porirua City Council
Kapiti District Council
South Wairarapa District Council
Carterton District Council
Masterton District Council
Dear Mayors and Councillors,

Over the Christmas break, I have studied numerous documents pertaining to the Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal.

The following is my considered opinion:
1) There should be NO further amalgamations of Councils anywhere in New Zealand, until there is a full, thorough and independent audit of the Auckland ‘Supercity’, (based upon FACTS and EVIDENCE) which confirms how ‘cost-effective’ it has really been for the majority of Auckland Council citizens and ratepayers.
2) This ‘Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal’ is fundamentally flawed, and this process should cease forthwith, because the public are not being given detailed FACTS or INFORMATION  showing exactly  where Councils in the Greater Wellington region are currently spending citizens and ratepayers public monies on Council services and regulatory functions.
This information is needed in order to establish a factual datum, upon which to measure current or future  ‘cost-effectiveness’ in the provision of Council services and regulatory functions.
There is no information of this type in the Draft Wellington Reorganisation Proposal, so the public simply cannot make an ‘informed’ submission.
FYI – here is an OIA that I have sent to the CEO of Auckland Council,  Stephen Town, requesting the following information pertaining to the purported ‘efficiency savings’ arising from the ‘combined  Auckland Council’ :

“31 December 2014

Stephen Town

Auckland Council CEO

‘Open Letter’ /OIA request to Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town :
Please provide the EVIDENCE of ‘efficiency savings’ since the Auckland Council forced amalgamation on 1 November 2010:
Dear Stephen,
In the ‘Application for Local Government Reorganisation – PROPOSAL FOR A UNITARY AUTHORITY WITH LOCAL BOARDS FOR THE WELLINGTON REGION’ –  it is stated on page 47:
“The Auckland Council experience and overseas examples strongly suggest that there should be a reasonable expectation of efficiency savings from the creation of a combined Wellington Council.
Opportunities would likely come from the following areas:
*     Common administrative and support functions (human resources,        procurement, ICT, finance, property management, corporate and executive services)
*     Common data management systems and processes
*      Common regulatory functions, activities and processes (building consents, resource consents, liquor licensing, dog permits, and other permits and licensing)
*     Streamlined planning processes for resource management, transport planning as well as plans required under the Local Government Act
*     Single ownership of assets and a comprehensive asset management approach
*      Services that are delivered at both a regional and local level (economic development and tourism marketing)
*     Combined contract for services, for example rubbish collection and road management.
….”
A) Please provide the EVIDENCE which confirms in each of the above-mentioned categories the ACTUAL ‘savings’ (if any) which have been made, by comparing the ACTUAL costs for each category, and ‘sub’category, of the 8 previous Councils in the Auckland region in the last ‘rating year’ prior to the forced Auckland Council amalgamation on 1 November 2010.
B) Please provide the information which confirms the ‘reorganisational’ costs of the Auckland Council forced amalgamation on 1 November 2010, in each of the above-mentioned categories, including all costs relating and pertaining to the establishment and operational costs of the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA), particularly the costs of appointed ATA members and staff.
C) Please provide the information which confirms the costs of establishing, and/or extending the roles of the following 7 ‘substantive’ Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), in each of the above-mentioned categories.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
‘Anti-corruption whistle-blower’  “
______________________________________________
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETING AT WHICH I WILL BE SPEAKING AGAINST THE PROPOSED WELLINGTON ‘SUPERCITY’ BASED ON FACTS, EVIDENCE AND MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE AUCKLAND ‘SUPERCITY (for the 1%)’:
 

When:      7.30pm to 9pm, Friday 23rd January 2015

Where:    Carterton Memorial Club, Broadway, Carterton

Speaker:  Penny Bright

Penny grew up in Carterton and is now an Auckland resident with a colourful character. She is presenting facts and evidence about the Auckland Super-City and what this has meant for the majority of Auckland citizens and residents.

 

Penny calls herself an “investigative activist” and uses the electoral process as an effective way to campaign for open, transparent and democratically accountable local and central government. She has taken a stand by refusing to pay her rates since 2008 because Auckland City and now the Auckland Super-City cannot tell her how her rates are being spent which is a legal requirement under the Local Government Rating Act.

 

Penny stood:

 

  • For the Auckland mayorality in 2010 and in 2013 polling 4th with nearly 12,000 votes.
  • For Epsom in 2011 versus John Banks
  • For Helensville in 2014 versus John Key

Penny is one of those brave souls who is sacrifiing her own time to fulfill what she considers is her public duty to ensure that we have open and transparent democracy.

 

For more information: Bridget Evans  b.p.l.evans@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.”> or 06 379 7192

__________________________________________
I will be explaining from firsthand knowledge and experience how this Auckland ‘Supercity for the 1%’ has been a disaster for the rest of us.
Auckland Council rates and debt have skyrocketed, while services, transparency, accountability and democracy have plummeted.
Seven democratically elected Auckland Councils were replaced with seven undemocratically selected ‘Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) – which are effectively ‘Corporate Controlled Organisations’, and have been the mechanism by which the Auckland region is being run ‘like a business, by business, FOR business’.
The highly unpopular Auckland City Council Controlled Organisation, responsible for providing water and wastewater services – Metrowater, has now been effectively replaced with a GIANT ‘regional’ Metrowater – Watercare Services Ltd, (formerly the ‘wholesale’ water services provider).
The corporate agenda of the Auckland ‘Supercity’ and the ‘one big Auckland Water Company’ – were forced upon the people of the Auckland region.
We never got a vote on whether we wanted either – both were railroaded through Parliament by central government.
Please be advised that the CCO model has never been subject to any ‘cost-benefit analysis:
EVIDENCE is available here:
‘Economies of scale’ resulting in the forced amalgamation of the Auckland region, have worked, in my opinion, for BIG business, property developers, investors and financial institutions NOT the majority of Auckland citizens and ratepayers.
A ‘bigger public trough – for bigger but fewer private snouts’.
First CCOs – then PPPs? (Public-Private Partnerships)?
Who knew that Auckland Council in 2011, got the lawful right to borrow overseas, in their own right, because of their size?
I didn’t – until a few days ago!
Which Auckland citizens and ratepayers remember being specifically consulted on whether or not WE thought it was a good idea for Auckland Council to borrow on our behalf – from whom – for what?
Given that the liability  for the repayment of any Auckland Council debt – ultimately falls back on  citizens and ratepayers?
Read for yourself and ask – ‘in whose interests is this Auckland ‘Supercity’ Council, really working?
(Follow the dollar …….?)

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On 1 November 2010, the previous eight councils in Auckland amalgamated to form Auckland Council – New Zealand’s largest local authority.

Auckland is New Zealand’s leading economic region, generating more than a third of the nation’s GDP

A strong institutional framework for local and regional governments supports our financial strength and stability. This includes the requirement to ensure our operating revenue is greater than our operating expenses each year.

We use borrowings to invest in new assets. How we manage borrowings and investments is contained in its Treasury Management Policy. More information is also available through our annual report.

Under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, we have flexible powers to set, access and collect rates to fund its activities.

………

Our group debt at 30 June 2014 was $6.36 billion. The Long-term Plan notes that group debt is expected to increase to reach a peak of $12.5 billion in 2021/2022.

Our main funding sources are the domestic market (both retail and wholesale), theLocal Government Funding Agency and offshore markets.

………………………..

Offshore bond investors

The Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 was amended in September 2011 to allow Auckland Council to borrow in foreign currency.

Council established a US$2.5 billion Secured Medium Term Notes Programme on 30 November 2011, allowing multi currency borrowings in offshore markets.

If any bonds are listed, they will be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Auckland Council undertook its first issue in March 2012.

All borrowings under the programme are fully hedged to eliminate foreign currency fluctuations.

Offshore investors, like domestic investors, receive as security the benefit of the charge over Auckland Council’s rates and rates revenue. ”

 

____________________________________
BACKGROUND INFORMATION – WHY I (AND OTHERS) OPPOSED THE AUCKLAND ‘SUPERCITY’ FROM THE BEGINNING:
The following is BACKGROUND information – submissions I made to the Royal Commission on Auckland Regional Governance back in 2008, which I think is still VERY relevant to the Wellington Draft Reorganisation Proposal – to which I am firmly opposed, for basically the same reasons, which are fully explained as follows.
There is some considerable work that has gone into the production of the information attached to this email – the reading of which I believe should be very useful in understanding the reasons why, I and others were opposed to the Auckland ‘Supercity’ proposal from the start.
It won’t take long to read!
But it’s information that you won’t find anywhere else.
The attached documents are as follows – I’ve cut and pasted key points underneath the following links to the full copies of these documents:
 
1) ROGERNOMICS WRECKED AUCKLAND
22 APRIL 2008
2) AUCKLAND ROYAL COMMISSION – WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
3) TEMPLATE FOR THE AUCKLAND REGION SHOWING  WHICH COUNCIL SERVICES HAVE BEEN CONTRACTED OUT:
4)TEMPLATE FOR THE AUCKLAND REGION SHOWING AND COMPARING CONTRACTED SERVICE DETAILS:
______________________________________
1) “Rogernomics wrecked Auckland”  (Submission to Royal Commission).
 
This outlines how Auckland used to have a functioning Auckland Regional body – the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA), together with functioning Borough Councils – it was NOT broken – but together with the 1989 Local Government reforms (amalgamations), moved away from the ‘in-house’ / ‘public service’ model – to the ‘commercialise – corporatise – privatise  – ROGERNOMIC$ model.
 

ROGERNOMIC$ WRECKED AUCKLAND! (22 April 2008)

THE OLD AUCKLAND REGIONAL AUTHORITY (ARA), FROM 1963 – 1986, USED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR:

 


Bulk water supply
Main sewerage
Principal public transport
The airport
Centennial Memorial Park
Milk distribution

 

It built regional roads
Established regional reserves
Oversaw civil defence
Improved regional planning

 

IN THE 1970s THE ARA BECAME RESPONSIBLE FOR:

 

Refuse disposal
Catchment authority

 

Under the Rogernomics reforms – where public assets were ‘commercialised, corporatised then privatised’ – delivery of public services was separated from regulatory functions.

 

This happened to the ARA.

 

In 1988 the ARA became the ARC.

 

Public transport (bus services); forests; refuse disposal and water services were corporatised between 1989 and 1992.

 

In 1992 the ARC was then effectively gutted.

 

Under the Local Government Amendment Act 1992, regional councils were restricted to regulatory roles and the new ARC was only allowed to keep regional parks.

 

All the other ARC assets were taken over by a special statutory body – the Auckland Regional Services Trust (ARST).

…………………………….

THIS MODEL WASN’T BROKEN!

 

ROGERNOMIC$ REFORMS DESTROYED THE ARA!

 

THIS ‘INQUIRY’ NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW UNTIL A REAL FULL AND INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE ASKS AND ANSWERS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:



 1)  WHERE ARE OUR RATES MONIES BEING SPENT NOW?

2)  WHAT WAS THE BENEFIT TO THE PUBLIC OF THE LAST COUNCIL AMALGAMATIONS  IN 1989?

3) HOW DOES CONTRACTING OUT OF PUBLIC SERVICES, INCLUDING ‘PUBLIC-PRIVATE- PARTNERSHIPS’ BENEFIT THE PUBLIC MAJORITY?

4) THAT THERE IS AN INDEPENDENT COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS/FULL INQUIRY INTO:

THE ‘METROWATER’ COMMERCIALISED MODEL (CHARGING AND PRACTICES)
FOR THE OPERATION AND MANAGEMENT OF AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL’S WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES, TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT
:


a) Metrowater is ‘more efficient’.
b) User-charges are ‘fairer’.
c) ‘User-charges’ do in fact, encourage               water conservation
.

___________________________________

Please be advised that on 17 April 2008, I gave notice to the Auckland Regional Council (ARC),at their  ‘Extraordinary Meeting on Regional Governance’ that I was disputing and refusing to pay ARC rates as well.


My letter of dispute over ARC rates reads as follows:

“This correspondence  is formal notification that this rates invoice is in dispute.

Please be advised that this dispute will continue, and I will refuse to pay Auckland Regional Council rates, in the first instance, until such time as the following steps are taken to ensure ‘prudent stewardship of our resources’, as required by the Local Government Act 2002.

BACKGROUND:

A.  I believe that it is time to ‘ROLL BACK ROGERNOMIC$‘ – not spread this ‘commercialise, corporatise – PRIVATISE’ model to what remains of our public property at local government level.

This  appears to be the clear business agenda behind Auckland Regional Governance changes.

 

B.  I believe that the ‘ONE PLAN’  for the Auckland Region, comes from business, by business for business and will effectively set up a ‘bigger public trough for bigger private snouts’.

1. I object to there being no cost-benefit analysis which PROVES that the ‘ROGERNOMIC$
commercialise, corporatise – 
PRIVATISE  model  for the ownership, operation and management of public services provided by local government represents better value for the public than when councils owned, operated and managed  those services themselves ‘in house’.

2. I object to subsidising multinational transport companies, when there is no evidence to support that this has proven to be a more ‘efficient’ use of our public money.

” I advise that Auckland Regional Council does not hold any specific reports in regards to cost benefit of  public subsidies to privately owned passenger transport companies.”

(Letter from Mike Lee 27 February 2008)

3. I object to the proposal to spread the ‘Council Controlled Organisation’ model for water services when there has there never been an independent cost-benefit analysis or full inquiry into the Metrowater ‘user-pays’ commercialised model for water services to establish whether  the mantra that Metrowater would be more ‘efficient’; that ‘user-charges are fairer’; and that ‘user-charges encourage conservation’ has proven to be true –  ON THE BASIS OF FACTS AND EVIDENCE.

4.  I object to the ARC supporting ‘one big Auckland water company’, when it is clear that has been the corporate agenda for years, and will allow the privatization of Auckland water services through contracting out (Public-Private-Partnership) the operation and management to multinational water company, United Water, who already have privatized Papakura’s water services.)”

_____________________________________

Please be advised that I have launched my own ‘People’s Rates Inquiry’ – the job that the ‘Rates Inquiry’ SHOULD have done – namely – to find out where EXACTLY our public rates monies are being spent.

I sent an Official Information Act request to every Regional, City and District Council in New Zealand, asking the following questions:

“OPEN LETTER / OFFICIAL INFORMATION ACT (OIA) REQUEST

Date:_____________________________

To CEO

_________________________  City Council / District Council

Dear _____________________,

Under the Local Government Act 2002, (Section 14, subsection (1), is enshrined the statutory duty that Council conducts its business, “in an open, transparent and democratically accountable manner”, AND that Council “should ensure prudent stewardship and the efficient and
effective use of its resources in the interests of its district or region.”

Please then provide the following information:

1) For 2008 – 2009 financial year the $ amount budgeted to spend on Council staff salary and wages.

2) For 2008 – 2009 financial year the $ amount budgeted to spend on private sector providers of:

a) Goods
b) Services
c)  People:
i) Temporary labour
ii) External ‘experts’
iii) ‘Specialist advisors’

3) The information which confirms which (if any)  operations and management of Council services have been contracted out to the private sector.

a)  If so, for each service provided by Council – which companies have these contracts.


b)  What is the value of each of these contracts.


c)   For how long is the term of each of these contracts.


d)  Who decided which company would get these contracts.


e)  When were the decisions made as to which companies would get these contracts.

4)  The information which confirms how the contracting out of Council services is authorised,

and by whom.

5)  The information  which confirms that there are internal Council audit processes in place, which check for relationships between Council staff and contractors; and such checks are made.

6)  The information  which confirms that there are external  ‘third party’  audit processes in place, which check for relationships between Council staff and contractors; and such checks are made.

7) The information which confirms that there has been an independent cost-benefit analysis of the last ‘amalgamation’ in 1989,  to determine whether or not this has resulted in a ‘more efficient’ useof public monies, and that the public majority have benefited from this exercise, in THIS Council area.

a) If, ‘YES’, a copy of this independent ‘cost-benefit analysis.

8)  The information which confirms that there HAS been an independent cost-benefit analysis on the ‘contracting out’ (if any) of  these Council services,  including ‘PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (PPPs),  to determine whether or not this has resulted in a ‘more efficient’ use
of public monies, and that the public majority have benefited from this model;  as compared with the Council directly operating and managing these Council  services themselves.

a) If ‘YES’, a copy of this independent ‘cost-benefit analysis.”

So far I have had over thirty replies.

NOT ONE reply has confirmed that there has been an independent cost-benefit analysis of the last ‘amalgamation’ in 1989,  to determine whether or not this has resulted in a ‘more efficient’ use of public monies, and that the public majority have benefited from this exercise, in THAT Council area.

 

NOT ONE reply has confirmed that there has ever been an independent cost-benefit analysis on the ‘contracting out’ (if any) of  these Council services,  including ‘PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (PPPs),  to determine whether or not this has resulted in a ‘more efficient’ use of public monies, and that the public majority have benefited from this model;  as compared with the Council directly operating and managing these Council  services themselves.


How bad is that?

This proves to me that there are NO FACTS TO BACK THE MANTRA that public services provided by the private sector operate “…more efficiently” and provide “..a better service to the public”.

“Part or full privatisation brings a discipline, transparency and customer focus that is absent when a business is underpinned by taxpayer funding.”

This mythical mantra quoted above was repeated as recently in a New Zealand Herald Editorial on 16 April 2008 entitled “Asset sales call for tough talk”, trying to encourage National Pary John Keys to stop ‘tip-toeing around the issue’ of asset sales.

“He should be similarly bold about the real merits of asset sales.”

REALLY?

I for one, would be absolutely fascinated to hear about the real merits of assets sales.

How asset sales have benefitted the PUBLIC MAJORITY rather than a self-serving minority of bloated corporate ‘nest-featherers’ – that is.

…………………………..”

_____________________________________________________
 
  2)  WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE BY THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON AUCKLAND REGIONAL GOVERNANCE IN ORDER TO MEET YOUR TERMS OF REFERENCE:

On behalf of the Water Pressure Group, the considered opinion of Media Spokesperson and judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland Regional

Governance matters.

Penny Bright 24 June 2008

Appointment and order of reference

KNOW YE that We, reposing trust and confidence in your integrity, knowledge, and ability, do, by this Our Commission, nominate, constitute, and appoint you, The Honourable PETER SALMON QC, Dame MARGARET BAZLEY, and DAVID SHAND to be a Commission to receive representations on, inquire into, investigate, and report on the local government arrangements (including institutions, mechanisms, and processes) that are required in the Auckland region over the foreseeable future in order to maximise, in a cost effective manner,—

(a) the current and future well-being of the region and its communities; and

(b) the region’s contribution to wider national objectives and outcomes:

1) The FACT is – that there has never been a comprehensive ‘cost-benefit’ analysis since the last council amalgamations in 1989.

EVIDENCE of this is confirmed by Official Information Act replies from:

a) Auckland City Council. (OIA reply 9 May 2008)

b) Manukau City Council. (OIA reply 7 April 2008)

c) Waitakere City Council. (OIA reply 8 April 2008)

d) Franklin District Council. (OIA reply 6 March 2008)

e) Rodney District Council. (OIA reply 14 April 2008)

2) The FACT is – that there has never been a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the ‘contracting-out’ model, compared with the provision of council services in-house.

EVIDENCE of this is OIA replies from:

a) Auckland City Council. (OIA reply 9 May 2008)

b) Manukau City Council. (OIA reply 7 April 2008)

c) Waitakere City Council. (OIA reply 8 April 2008)

d) Franklin District Council. (OIA reply 6 March 2008)

e) Rodney District Council. (OIA reply 14 April 2008)

3) Thus – there is no FACTUAL or EVIDENTIAL ‘base-line’ upon which to use as a starting point to quantify which ‘local government arrangements (including institutions, mechanisms and processes) ARE ‘cost-effective.

  1. At this point in time – there is no FACTUAL or EVIDENTIAL overview showing EXACTLY where residents and ratepayers monies are actually being spent over the Auckland region.

This information is hidden from the public because Council Annual Reports do NOT reveal details of ‘contracts issued’ to public scrutiny – despite the underpinning principles of the Local Government Act 2002 requiring ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government.

5) As this Royal Commission should surely base its recommendations on FACTS and EVIDENCE – rather than unsubstantiated opinion –( irrespective of how often it might be repeated) – here is a series of practical recommendations:

Given that as Commissioners you are empowered under “Consultation and procedures”

(d) to use relevant expertise, including consultancy and secretarial services, and to conduct, where appropriate, your own research:

And you are empowered, in carrying this our Commission into effect,—

(a) to prepare and publish discussion papers from time to time on topics relevant to the inquiry;

(b) unless you think it proper in any case to withhold any evidence or information obtained by you in the exercise of the powers conferred upon you,—

(i) to include in any discussion papers prepared and published by you all or any of that evidence or information; and

(ii) to publish or otherwise disclose in such other ways that you think fit all or any of that evidence or information:

RECOMMENDATION ONE:

The Royal Commission research exactly rates monies are being spent in the Auckland region for 2008-2009 financial year.

Total expenditure:

a) Wages and salaries:

b) Contracts to the private sector for goods, services and people.

RECOMMENDATION TWO:

The Royal Commission research an ‘overview’ of which of a possible 112 council services are provided in-house, contracted out, by CCOs or ‘Not Applicable’.

(See “Template for the Auckland Region showing which Council services have been contracted out.”

RECOMMENDATION THREE:

The Royal Commission research a comparison of contracts issued across Auckland region on a service by service basis.

(See “Template for the Auckland region showing and comparing contracted service details.”

RECOMMENDATION FOUR:

The Royal Commission research a ‘cost-benefit analysis of ‘in-house’ council service provision, compared to contracting out, for each Council area.

                   ………………………………………………………  “

OPPOSING THE AUCKLAND ‘SUPERCITY FOR THE 1%’ – THE OCCUPY AUCKLAND VS AUCKLAND COUNCIL COURT CASE – IN WHICH I WAS A ‘NAMED RESPONDENT’ AND ONE OF THE TWO SUCCESSFUL APPELLANTS IN THE AUCKLAND HIGH COURT:

 I was permitted to adduce ten new ‘Items of Evidence’  by Auckland High Court Judge Ellis, which prove the lack of transparency and accountability under this new Auckland ‘Supercity’, and direct links between Auckland Council and the private sector business lobby group ‘The Committee for Auckland’
I suggest your particularly refer to the following Items:
” 4/.NEW EVIDENCE in the form of a Local Government Official Information
Act reply from Auckiand Council’s General Counsel Wendy Brandon, dated 10
February 2012 advised that:
1) ” …. that Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay is a member of the
Committee for Auckland in his capacity as Chief Executive of Auckland
Council’.
2) Mr McKay is an honorary member of the Committee for Auckland.
As such there was no joining fee charged or paid.
3) No resolution of any committee of the Auckland Council was sought
or given in relation to Mr McKay’s membership of the Committee
for Auckland. The Committee for Auckland is an independent
organisation and its aims and objectives are a matter of public
record.
4) Mr McKay is not aware of any meetings of the Committee for
Auckland regarding the “Occupy Auckland movement”. He has not
attended any Committee meeting, and is not in possession of any
Committee emails/briefings or minutes.”
This new evidence confirms the direct links with the CEO of Auckland
Council with the Committee for Auckland, an unelected body made up
of predominantly influential and powerful corporate interests, which
represent the ‘1%’ whom Occupy Auckland were opposed both in
principle and practice.
This evidence was not previously available.
5. NEW EVIDENCE in the form of the aims and objectives of the
Committee for Auckland, taken from their website, confirms that
membership of this ‘invitation only’ organisation was developed by
(big) business interests proven by their list of members.
The (unelected) CEO of Auckland Council is a member of the
(unelected) Committee for Auckland, which arguably represents the
interests of the corporate and financial ‘ 1%’, whose interests the
Occupy movement internationally arose to oppose.
This evidence is and was previously publicly-available, but its
significance is tied to the previously unavailable evidence confirming
the relationship of Auckland Council CEO Doug Mckay to the
Committee for Auckland.
6. NEW EVIDENCE in the form of a Local Government Official
Information Act reply from Auckland Council dated 21 November 2011,
from Darryl Griffin, which confirms the lack of transparency in the
spending of public monies by Auckland Council, in refusing to make
available for public scrutiny the ‘devilish detail’ ie: the names, the
scope, term anq value of 5000 contracts related to 12,500 suppliers
contracted to Auckland CQuncil, on the basis that ‘To collate and publish
these would be a major exercise logistically and cost~wise’.
Although this evidence was available, I did not think to use it because I
hadn’t given due consideration to its significance in helping to prove
how the Auckland Council was working in the interests of providing
work to private business interests, yet not providing transparency in
relation to the spending of citizens and ratepayers monies.
7. NEW EVIDENCE in the form of Local Government Official
Information Act reply from Auckland Council dated 14 March 2012,
from Auckland Council General Counsel Wendy Brandon, confirming
the lack of transparency and accountability for Auckland Council
elected representatives and unelected staff responsible for property and
procurement, in not having publically-available ‘Registers of Interests’
for either group, in.order to minimise the risks of potential conflicts of
interest.
This evidence was previously not available.”
______________________________
Please be advised that I am prepared to make myself available to discuss any of the above-mentioned matters, with any groups / organisations at a time that is mutually convenient.
Please do NOT allow the infliction  upon the majority of citizens and ratepayers of the Greater Wellington region, that which was forced upon the majority of Aucklanders, without our democratic consent.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation whistle-blower / Public Watchdog
Attendee: 2009   Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2010   Transparency International  Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2013   Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2014   G20 Anti-Corruption Conference
2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate (polled 4th with 11,723 votes)

19 March 2014

In light of the recent threat made by Auckland Council to sell my house, over disputed rates,
here is some background information, which does not appear to be widely known:
My previous attempts to get a law change to the Local Government Act 2002,to ensure that the  ‘devilish details’ of contracts issued would be available for public scrutiny through publication  in Council and CCO Annual Reports, by initiating Petition 2008/2:
 1) BACKGROUND: WHAT ‘TRIGGERED’ THE INITIATION OF THIS PETITION?
 MY RATES DISPUTE WITH AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL:
A) Auckland City Council CEO David Rankin stated in his 
 
“Overview of direction seeking for 2008/2009 Annual Plan,” 21 February 2008:
 
“Council has budgeted to spend almost $1 billion in cash this financial year.
 
The staff salary and wages component of that budget is $145 million.
 
To successfully carry out its business, including meeting legislative
requirements council relies heavily on private sector providers in the form of goods, services and people (temporary labour, external experts and specialist advisors. “
(That leaves over $855 million being spent on private sector contracts.)
B) When asked in an Official Information Act request (ACC OlA Request No: 1997) whether the operation and management of 64 services provided by Auckland City Council had been contracted out to the private sector:
a) If so, which companies have these contracts.
b) What is the value of each of these contracts.
c) For how long is the term of each of these contracts.
d) Who decided which company would get these contracts.
e) When were the decisions made as to which companies would get these contracts
Auckland City Council Chief Executive David Rankin replied in a letter dated
8 October 2007, as the reason for denying ratepayers this information about where public rates monies are being spent:
 
“If we release the names of the companies who have contracts with us,together with the amounts spent, these suppliers could be disadvantaged.
 
Their other potential customers may deduce the rates Auckland City Council are being charges and demand the same pricing. Equally their competitors may deduce their pricing structure and use it against them.”
2) PETITION TO PARLIAMENT

Petition of Penelope Mary Bright and 189 others

Requesting that the House urgently amend the Local Government Act 2002 to make it a mandatory requirement to ensure councils and council-controlled organisations are open to public scrutiny by using annual reports to record contracts issued to the private sector for goods, services and people as a means of providing openness and accountability in council operations; and to help ensure prudent stewardship of citizen and ratepayer resources.

Petition number: 2008/2
Presented by: Sue Bradford
Date presented: 16 December 2008
Referred to: Local Government and Environment Committee
_______________________________________________________
3) EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT PETITION:
Evidence, based upon many hours of unpaid research which  I provided to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, in support of this petition, including 65 Local Government OIA replies from 85 New Zealand District, City and Regional Councils:
4) REPORT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE:
“The petitioner identifies her failure to obtain information from the Auckland City Council on its award of contracts to the private sector as a motivating factor for her petition.
 
 We received the results of her survey of 65 district councils confirming that no councils publish details of contracts in their annual reports, and some councils supply details of individual contracts to the auditor as a matter of course. 
 
The petitioner claims that the secrecy around the award of local government contracts is not compatible with the principles of openness, transparency, and democratic accountability enshrined in legislation such as the Local Government Act 2002, and the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.”
 
________________________________________________________
5) SUBMISSION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2002 AMENDMENT BILL
Submission I subsequently made to the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill on this and related matters:

http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/sc/documents/evidence/49SCLGE_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL9872_1_A55792/penny-bright

“On 9 March 2009, I submitted evidence to this same Local and Environment Select Committee, in support of Petition 2008/002:

which:

“Respectfully request(ed)  that the House urgently amend the Local Government Act 2002 to make it a mandatory requirement to ensure councils and council-controlled organisations are open to public scrutiny by using annual reports to record contracts issued to the private sector for goods, services and people as a means of providing openness and accountability in council operations; and to help ensure prudent stewardship of citizen and ratepayer resources.”

MY CONSIDERED RECOMMENDATION AS TO THE NECESSARY LEGISLATIVE CHANGE:

Publishing details of contracts issued in Council Annual Reports is not intended to add thousands of pages, containing every word written for every contract issued 

All that is required is:

a)  The name(s) of the contracting company /contractor.

b) The $ value of the contract.

c) The term (length) of the contract.

d) The scope of the contract.

eg: DOG CONTROL

a) Joe Bloggs Dog Control Services Ltd.

b) $350,000

c) 2008 – 2010

d) Enforcement of Dog Control Bylaw 123 for Auckland City Council (ward(s)  covered)

e) CONTRACT NUMBER ACC  33333

http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000075765

“It is our view that the issues raised by the petitioner are best dealt with as part of a comprehensive review and we recommend that the Minister consider the issues raised in this petition. ..” 

Unfortunately – this Bill does not fix this problem.  

The public still don’t know exactly where our rates are being spent.  

This is NOT transparent.

It seems ridiculous that the public can scrutinise thousands of pages detailing Ministerial spending on credit cards – but the public are not provided with the above-mentioned ‘devilish’ detail which would clearly show where BILLION$ of residents and ratepayers public monies are being spent on private contractors.

Please amend this Bill to do so.

…………. “

______________________________________________________________________

Those who choose to bleat and whine about my refusal to pay rates, because we are not being told exactly where rates monies are being spent, may now be a little more mindful of all the (unpaid) the work which I have chosen to do to help remedy this situation?

You may care to compare this (unpaid) research which  I have done,  with the arguably bogus 19 page  (unsigned) ‘Ernst and Young’  Report  of 13 December 2013, which cost Auckland Council over $250,000 ?

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1312/Independent_Review_Report_FINAL_131213.pdf)

“Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town confirmed the cost of the EY Report and  legal work was approximately $250,000.”

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1402/S00157/negotiated-payment-from-mayor-towards-cost-of-ey-report.htm

Penny Bright

‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

…………….

www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

10 March 2014
‘Open Letter / Privacy Act’ request to Auckland Mayor Len Brown – re: threat from Auckland Council to sell my house.
Auckland Council Mayor
Len Brown
Dear Len,
On Friday 28 February 2014, I was requested to call Newstalk ZB talkback host, Leighton Smith, and asked to explain why I was not paying Auckland Council rates, and gave my following considered opinion:
It is Auckland Council who are breaking the law by not upholding their statutory duties arising from the Local Government Act 2002 and Public Records Act 2005 for ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government, and by NOT providing the ‘devilish detail’ of where EXACTLY rates monies are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors.
The first working day after I spoke on this show, a  letter dated 3 March 2014, was sent from  the ‘Credit Control Rates Team Leader’ of Auckland Council, which stated the following:
” … NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ENFORCE JUDGMENT:
 
Your account with Auckland Council remains in arrears despite our numerous requests for payment.  You will recall that we have obtained judgments in the District Court against you for the unpaid rates on the property above, plus legal costs and interest.
 
We are writing to inform you of our intention to enforce these judgments by sale of the rating unit.  This action is in accordance with Section 67(1) of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.
 
The total sum to clear your debt is $29,109.88 made up as follows:
 
     (a) Rates and penalties overdue as at 30.06.13 : $22,242.96
     (b) Legal costs and interest: $6,866.95
 
To prevent this action and to avoid further cost (including legal fees and disbursements) please pay the above sum within 10 working days from the date of this letter.
 
To discuss payment options, you may contact us on 09 30100101 or by email at rates.collections@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
 
 
You may want to speak with a lawyer for independent legal advice.
 
Yours faithfully 
Joanne Lanigan
Credit Control Rates Team Leader
Auckland Council “
(Letter attached)
URGENT PRIVACY ACT REQUEST:
Please provide ALL information which explains the role you, as  Auckland Mayor Len Brown had in the decision to send this letter:
1) Auckland Mayor Len Brown – did you  know about it this letter?
2) Auckland Mayor Len Brown – did you authorise this letter?
3) Auckland Mayor Len Brown  – do you support this letter?
4) Please provide the information that confirms the role played by the Principal Administrative Officer of Auckland Council, CEO Stephen Town, in the writing, authorising and sending of this letter.
5) Please provide the information which confirms the role of all/ any members of the Governing Body of Auckland Council, in the writing, authorising and sending of this letter.
______________________________________________________________________
Please be advised that there is now significant and growing public interest in this matter:
Scroll to 8.00  to hear Leighton Smith reading from and commenting upon my following letter:
10 March 2014
Good morning Leighton!
The first working day after I spoke on your show Leighton – (Friday 28 February 2014) – explaining why I refused to pay my rates – a letter is sent from Auckland Council date 3 March 2014 – threatening to sell my house.
(Letter attached)
DESPERATE stuff.
I have three words to say to Auckland Council:
“GO TO HELL!”
This is a politically explosive decision that will NOT have been made at middle management level  by the ‘Credit Control Rates Team Leader’ of Auckland Council.
What role has Auckland Mayor Len Brown had in the decision to send this letter?
1) Did he know about it?
2) Did he authorise it?
3) Does he support it?
I shall be sending him an ‘Open Letter’ asking these questions later this morning, and requesting under the Privacy Act, ALL information held by ALL/ANY persons relating to this matter.
It is Auckland Council who are breaking the law by not upholding their statutory duties arising from the Local Government Act 2002 and Public Records Act 2005 for ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government, and by NOT providing the ‘devilish detail’ of where EXACTLY rates monies are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors.
I am neither a SHEEP nor a SLAVE.
They are picking on the WRONG woman …….
Cheers!
Penny Bright

1 March 2014

Media Alert from Graham McCready – FYI
Please find the letter attached
Graham Mc Cready
Prosecutor for NZPPS Ltd
022 025 3871
(In Auckland until 4 March)
__________________________________________________
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS MADE BY PENNY BRIGHT /LISA PRAGER
Please note that the NZ Serious Fraud Office did NOT deal with the complaint made by myself and Lisa Prager against Auckland Mayor Len Brown as a ‘bribery and corruption’ complaint, but as a ‘serious and complex fraud’ complaint, although they purport to be the lead agency to whom bribery and corruption complaints should be made:
“…

“In making a decision to commence a Part 1 or Part 2 investigation the Director of the SFO is obliged to be satisfied of the statutory preconditions for the exercise of those powers set out in the Serious Fraud Office Act. ”

As you are no doubt aware, as General Counsel,  the underpinning Serious Fraud Act 1990, makes no mention whatsoever of the words ‘bribery or corruption’, it only covers ‘serious or complex fraud’:
It is the  ’Memorandum of Understanding’ between the Police and SFO (which is not based in statute), signed by the former Director of the SFO, Adam Feeley and Police Commissioner Peter Marshall on 29 September 2011,  (pd 19) ‘Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption’,  which sets out how bribery and corruption offences should be handled:
” Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption
 
1. This Schedule outlines the processes for reporting and enforcing corruption and bribery offences.  These processes are to be adopted by the SFO and the Police to ensure there is a consistent approach to corruption reporting, investigation and enforcement in New Zealand.
 
2. This Schedule has been developed to assist New Zealand’s compliance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions, and to support ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
 
Referral process
 
3.  All bribery and corruption offences are to be referred to the SFO, who will act as a ‘single window’ for bribery and corruption reports.
 
……………..
 
10.  Corruption allegations are to be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate law enforcement agency in line with that agency’s policies and procedures.  Where the report involves or originates from another government agency, that agency should be represented as much as appropriate.
 
11. Specific corruption offences are found in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Secret Commissions Act 1910.
 
Communication
 
12. The SFO’s point of contact for referrals of bribery and corruption cases is the SFO Liaison Officer.  The SFO’s point of contact in regards to the joint assessment of reports is the General Manager Fraud Detection and Intelligence.
 
13.  Police’s point of contact for bribery and corruption cases is the Assistant Commissioner Investigations and International or his nominee.
________________________________________________
Lisa Prager and myself consider that the NZ Serious Fraud Office has not dealt with our ‘bribery and corruption’ complaint ( your reference: C 3592 ) against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City in the proper way, as outlined in the above-mentioned ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Police and SFO’.
Our original complaint (dated 22 November 2013), was dealt with as a ‘serious and complex fraud’ complaint – when it was clearly a ‘bribery and corruption’ complaint.
It is our considered opinion, that  New Zealand urgently needs a genuinely ‘Independent Commission Against Corruption’, tasked with preventing corruption; carrying out anti-corruption educational activity, and detecting and investigating corruption cases.
In the meantime, it appears that the NZ Serious Fraud Act 1990, needs urgent updating to incorporate the responsibilities for reporting, investigating and enforcing bribery and corruption offences, as outlined in the above-mentioned ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Police and SFO, Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption’.
……………….”
Please be advised that we are considering taking our bribery and corruption complaint against Auckland Mayor Len Brown to Auckland Central Police, given the failure of the NZ Serious Fraud Office to treat it as such, and for the NZ Solicitor-General to subsequently rely on this decision, which we believe is fundamentally flawed.
We expect justice to be done and be seen to be done, and the ‘rule of law’ to prevail.
Penny Bright
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
Lisa Prager
Ph (09) 360 3397

From: Graham McCready <nzppsltd@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM
Subject: Application to Prosecute Len Brown – Response to Proposed Defendant’s submissions


From: Graham McCready <nzppsltd@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM


Subject: Application to Prosecute Len Brown – Response to Proposed Defendant’s submissions

To: stephanie.edwards@crownlaw.govt.nz, philip@philipskelton.co.nz

Please find attached the final submissions of the proposed private prosecutor on this issue.
I ask these are taken into account before the decision is made today.
Graham Mc Cready

11 February 2014

Solicitor-General expected to advise by 28 Feb 2014  if leave to be granted for private prosecution of Auckland Mayor Len Brown:
Letter from Crown Counsel to Graham McCready:
____________________________________________________
3 February 2014
Graham McCready
New Zealand Private Prosecution Service Limited
9B Miramar Rd
WELLINGTON 6022
Dear Mr McCready,
Proposed private prosecution of His Worship the Mayor of Auckland, Mr Len Brown
Our Ref: SOL115/2516
1.   We acknowledge receipt, on 27 January 2014, of your request for the Attorney-General’s consent to prosecute Mr Brown for an alleged offecne of corruption under s 105 of the Crimes Act 1961.
2.   We note that contrary to the suggestion in your accompanying letter, the request has not been referred to the Solicitor-General by the Attorney-General because of any perceived conflict of interest in this case.
There are numerous offences that can only be prosecuted with the consent of the Attorney-General.  In practice, the function of considering requests for consent to prosecute where statutory consent is required is almost always undertaken by the Solicitor-General. 1
(1. The reasons for this are set out in the Principles for sharing law office power: the role of the New Zealand Solicitor-General, John McGrath QC (1998) 18 NZULAR 197. A copy of this article is available on the Crown Law website www.crownlaw.govt.nz  under Publications /Guidelines Protocols & Articles Tab. )
3.  Your suggestion that it would be inappropriate to refer this request for consent to the High Court for a decision confuses two separate statutory consent processes. Under s 106 of the Crimes Act, the Attorney-General’s consent is required to prosecute judicial officers, law enforcement officers and officials (s 105) for bribery or corruption.  The leave of the High Court is only required when the person it is intended to prosecute is a Minister of the Crown (s 102) or a Member of Parliament (s 103).
4.  The Solicitor-General will now consider whether the evidential and public interest tests for prosecution are met, in accordance with the Prosecution Guidelines. 2
At this stage, we expect to be in a position to advise you of the outcome by 28 February.
(2. A copy of the Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines is also available Crown Law’s website under the Publications Tab.)
5.   In the meantime, if you have any further submissions relevant to the test for prosecution under paragraph 5 of the Prosecution Guidelines that you wish to have considered, please address your correspondent to my attention.
Yours sincerely,
Crown Law
Stephanie Edwards
Crown Counsel
_____________________________________________________
The following information added  FYI by Penny Bright:
_____________________________________________________
PROSECUTION GUIDELINES
4. THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE DECISION-MAKER 
4.1 The universally central tenet of a prosecution system under the rule of law in a democratic society is the independence of the prosecutor from persons or agencies that are not properly part of the prosecution decision-making process.
4.2 In practice in New Zealand, the independence of the prosecutor refers to freedom from undue or improper pressure from any source, political or otherwise.  All government agencies should ensure the necessary processes are in place to protect the independence of the initial prosecution decision.
5. THE DECISION TO PROSECUTE
The Test for Prosecution
5.1 Prosecutions ought to be initiated or continued only where the prosecutor is satisfied that the Test for Prosecution is met.
The Test for Prosecution is met if:
5.1.1 The evidence which can be adduced in Court is sufficient to provide a
reasonable prospect of conviction – the Evidential Test; and
5.1.2 Prosecution is required in the public interest – the Public Interest Test
5.2 Each aspect of the test must be separately considered and satisfied before a decision to prosecute can be taken.
The Evidential Test must be satisfied before the Public Interest Test is considered.  The prosecutor must analyse and evaluate all of the
evidence and information in a thorough and critical manner.
The Evidential Test 
5.3 A reasonable prospect of conviction exists if, in relation to an identifiable person (whether natural or legal), there is credible evidence which the prosecution can adduce before a court and upon which evidence an impartial jury (or Judge), properly directed in accordance with the law, could reasonably be expected to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the individual who is prosecuted has committed a criminal offence.
5.4 It is necessary that each element of this definition be fully examined when considering the evidential test in each particular case.
Element  Description 
Identifiable individual
There will often be cases where it is clear that an offence has been committed but there is difficulty identifying who has committed it.  A prosecution can only take place where the evidence sufficiently identifies that a particular person is responsible.  Where no such person
can be identified, and the case cannot be presented as joint liability there can be no prosecution.
Element  Description 
Credible evidence 
This means evidence which is capable of belief.  It may be necessary to question a witness before coming to a decision as to whether the evidence of that witness could be accepted as credible.  It may be that a witness
is plainly at risk of being so discredited that no Court could safely rely on his/her evidence.  In such a case it may be concluded that there is, having regard to all the evidence, no reasonable prospect of obtaining a
conviction.  If, however, it is judged that a Court in all the circumstances of the case could reasonably rely on the evidence of a witness,notwithstanding any particular difficulties, then such evidence is credible and should be
taken into account.
Prosecutors may be required to make an assessment of the quality of the evidence.  Where there are substantial concerns as to the creditability of essential evidence, criminal proceedings may not be appropriate as the
evidential test may not be capable of being met.
Where there are credibility issues, prosecutors must look closely at the evidence when deciding if there is a reasonable prospect of conviction.
Element  Description
Evidence which the prosecution can adduce
Only evidence which is or reliably will be available, and legally admissible, can be taken into account in reaching a decision to prosecute.
Prosecutors should seek to anticipate even without pretrial matters being raised whether it is likely that evidence will be admitted or excluded by the Court.  For example, is it foreseeable that the evidence will be
excluded because of the way it was obtained?
If so, prosecutors must consider whether there is sufficient other evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction.
Element  Description
Could reasonably be expected to be satisfied 
What is required by the evidential test is that there is an objectively reasonable prospect of a conviction on  the evidence.  The apparent cogency and creditability of evidence is not a mathematical science, but rather  a matter of judgment for the prosecutor.  In forming his or her judgment the prosecutor shall endeavour to anticipate and evaluate likely defences.
Element  Description
Beyond reasonable doubt 
The evidence available to the prosecutor must be capable of reaching the high standard of proof required by the criminal law.
Element  Description
Commission of a criminal offence 
This requires that careful analysis is made of the law in order to identify what offence or offences may have been committed and to consider the evidence against each of the ingredients which establish the particular
offence.
_____________________________________________________
5.8 The following section lists some public interest considerations for prosecution which may be relevant and require consideration by a prosecutor when determining where the public interest lies in any particular case.  The following list is illustrative only.
Public interest considerations for prosecution
 
5.8.14   Where the defendant was in a position of authority or
              trust and the offence is an abuse of that position;
 
5.8.18   Where there is any element of corruption.
_____________________________________________________
Following is  an affidavit in support of this private prosecution of Auckland Mayor Len Brown, for alleged bribery and corruption:
Penny Bright
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127
Attendee: 2009 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2010 Transparency International  Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2013 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
2010 / 2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

 

MEDIA ALERT FORWARDED BY GRAHAM McCREADY:

(Scanned documents inserted by Penny Bright.)

Penny Bright of Auckland filed a complaint of money laundering against Mayor Len Brown this morning 4 Feb 2014.

Confirmation from the police is attached.
The complaint was entered into the Police computer system as Reference No. 140204/7459 “Engages in Money Laundering Transaction”
The Police Officer who took the complaint is Tony Geldenhuys Customer Services Manager, Auckland Central Police Station  09 302 6741
The complaint alleges that Brown arranged to have  the gifts of rooms and room upgrades put in his wife’s name to avoid declaring them on up to 74 occasions over three years in his register of interests. Prima facie this is money laundering.
Graham Mc Cready
Agent for NZPPS Ltd
 022 025 3871

27 January 2014

‘TEST CASE’ Private prosecution of Auckland Mayor Len Brown to be obstructed by ‘conflicted’ Attorney-General?

Len Brown prosecution case stalled

NEWS ITEMS:  (25 January 2014)
NZ Herald: 
Fairfax:
TV1:
TV3:
Radio NZ:
________________________________________________________
NEWS ITEM:  (26 January 2014)

_____________http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9651621/A-thorn-in-the-side-of-the-political-eliteSearchResults___________________________________________________

On   21 January 2014, Auckland District Court Judge Aitken gave the following ‘direction’ to Graham McCready (‘Agent’ for the NZ Private Prosecution Services Ltd):
“Pursuant to s26(1) (b) CPA 2011, I direct that Mr McCready file formal statements and the exhibits referred to in those statements that form the evidence that he proposes to call at trial, or such part of that evidence that he considers sufficient to justify a trial  All such documents to be filed no later that 22 January 2014 at 3pm.”
At 11am,  22 January 2014, Graham McCready arrived at the Auckland District Court and presented the ‘supporting documentation’ as directed by Judge Aitken.
On Friday 24 January 2014, Auckland District Court Judge Aitken made the following ruling on the “Application to File Charging Document”:
Decision
[8]    This matter can be disposed of relatively briefly.  It is clear that
        before any official can be prosecuted for offending, contrary to
        s 105(1) Crimes Act, leave must be sought and given by the
        Attorney-General : s 106
[9]    Section 106 is unequivocal.  It is also clear that the Attorney-
        General has not consented to the prosecution of Mr Brown for
        offending contrary to s 105
[10]  In the documents provided by Mr McCready there is  one headed
        “Application to the Attorney-General under s 106 of the Crimes
         Act 1961″ in which Mr McCready appears to make application
         for such consent.  However, this application as directed to the
         District Court is ill-conceived as leave is a matter for the
         Attorney-General not this Court.
[11]   Irrespective of whether there is any evidence sufficient to justify
         a trial in respect of this allegation against Mr Brown, no
         prosecution could be commenced in the absence of leave from
         the Attorney-General.  Application for such leave falls to be
         pursued outside the jurisdiction of this Court and before it is
         required to determine whether to accept the charging document
         for filing.
[12]   Unless and until such leave is granted, no useful purpose could
         be served by this Court considering the evidence filed by Mr
         McCready and it follows that the charging document must be
         rejected.
Conclusion
1.      The charging document is not accepted for filing.
2.       There being no proceedings to issue in this Court, I direct that
          the documents filed by Mr McCready in accordance with my
          earlier direction be returned to him.
3.       The application made by counsel for Mr Brown for a copy of the
          documents filed by Mr McCready must also be declined.
          Rule 6.5 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2012 governs the
          rights of prosecution and defence in a “criminal proceeding.”
          For the reasons given, no proceedings have issued and the
          Court has no authority therefore to accede to the request of
          counsel.
          EM Aitken
          District Court Judge
_________________________________________________________________________
QUESTION: How is it right and proper for New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson,  to make the final decision on whether or not this private prosecution should be allowed, given that he is  a National Government Cabinet Minister, who, on 12 November 2013 voted in favour of the NZ International Convention Centre (Sky City) Bill at its ‘Third Reading’?
http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/50HansD_20131112_00000024/new-zealand-international-convention-centre-bill-%E2%80%94-third

New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill — Third Reading

[Sitting date: 12 November 2013. Volume:694;Page:14549. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill

A personal vote was called for on the question, That the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill be now read a third time.
Ayes 61
Adams (P) Dunne (P) Key (P) Simpson (P)
Ardern S (P) English (P) King C Smith (P)
Auchinvole (P) Finlayson Lee (P) Tisch (P)
Bakshi (P) Foss (P) Lotu-Iiga (P) Tolley (P)
Banks (P) Foster-Bell Macindoe Tremain (P)
Barry (P) Goldsmith (P) McClay (P) Upston (P)
Bennett D Goodhew (P) McCully (P) Wagner
Bennett P (P) Groser (P) McKelvie (P) Wilkinson (P)
Borrows (P) Guy (P) Mitchell Williamson
Bridges (P) Hauiti (P) Ngaro (P) Woodhouse
Brownlee (P) Hayes (P) O’Connor S (P) Yang (P)
Calder (P) Heatley (P) Parata (P) Young (P)
Carter (P) Henare Roy (P)
Coleman (P) Hutchison (P) Ryall (P)
Collins (P) Joyce (P) Sabin (P) Teller:
Dean (P) Kaye (P) Shanks (P) Ross
Noes 59
Ardern J (P) Harawira (P) Moroney Street (P)
Browning (P) Hipkins (P) Norman (P) Tirikatene (P)
Clark (P) Horan (P) O’Connor D (P) Turei
Clendon (P) Hughes O’Rourke (P) Turia (P)
Cosgrove (P) Huo (P) Parker (P) Twyford (P)
Cunliffe (P) Jones (P) Peters (P) Walker (P)
Curran King A Prasad (P) Wall (P)
Delahunty Lees-Galloway (P) Prosser Whaitiri
Dyson Little Robertson G (P) Williams
Faafoi Logie (P) Robertson R (P) Woods (P)
Fenton Lole-Taylor Roche
Flavell Mackey Sage (P)
Genter (P) Mahuta (P) Sharples (P)
Goff (P) Mallard (P) Shearer (P)
Graham (P) Martin Sio (P) Teller:
Hague (P) Mathers (P) Stewart Beaumont

Bill read a third time.

How is this not a MAJOR ‘conflict of interest’?
Given also the principle of  ‘collective responsibility’ as outlined in the Cabinet Manual?

Collective responsibility and Ministers

5.22 The principle of collective responsibility underpins the system of Cabinet government. It reflects democratic principle: the House expresses its confidence in the collective whole of government, rather than in individual Ministers. Similarly, the Governor-General, in acting on ministerial advice, needs to be confident that individual Ministers represent official government policy. In all areas of their work, therefore, Ministers represent and implement government policy.

5.23 Acceptance of ministerial office means accepting collective responsibility. Issues are often debated vigorously within the confidential setting of Cabinet meetings, although consensus is usually reached and votes are rarely taken. Once Cabinet makes a decision, Ministers must support it (except as provided in paragraphs 5.25 – 5.27), regardless of their personal views and whether or not they were at the meeting concerned.

5.24 In a coalition government, Ministers are expected to show careful judgement when referring to party policy that differs from government policy. Subject to paragraphs 5.25 – 5.27, a Minister’s support and responsibility for the collective government position must always be clear.

5.28 Special provisions apply to the exercise of the Attorney-General’s law officer function in the collective context. (See paragraph 4.4.)

Role of Attorney-General

Law officer role

4.4 The Attorney-General may take into account public policy considerations when exercising the law officer functions. By convention, however, the Attorney-General is not influenced by party political considerations, and should avoid appearing to be so influenced. Consequently, when acting in the law officer capacity, the Attorney-General is not subject to collective responsibility.

The Attorney-General may seek the views of other Ministers, and they may volunteer their views.

How can New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson purport to be any type of independent authority , to make a final decision on whether a private prosecution should proceed against Auckland Mayor Len Brown for alleged bribery and corruption, involving accepting undisclosed ‘gifts’ from Sky City, and giving them favourable consideration?
How can ‘justice be done and be seen to be done’?
NEW ZEALAND BILL OF RIGHTS 1990
27 Right to justice
(1)Every person has the right to the observance of the principles of natural justice by any tribunal or other public authority which has the power to make a determination in respect of that person’s rights, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law.
(2)Every person whose rights, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law have been affected by a determination of any tribunal or other public authority has the right to apply, in accordance with law, for judicial review of that determination.
(3)Every person has the right to bring civil proceedings against, and to defend civil proceedings brought by, the Crown, and to have those proceedings heard, according to law, in the same way as civil proceedings between individuals.
Penny Bright
‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner
waterpressure@gmail.com
Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

14 January 2014

Kevin Glubb
General Counsel
Serious Fraud Office
‘Open Letter’
Dear Kevin,
Thank you for your response to our following request:
“Please be advised that if  Lisa Prager and myself (Penny Bright), have not had it confirmed by yourselves, by email, by 5pm Tuesday 14 January 2014, that the SFO will re-evaluate our following bribery and corruption complaint, then without further notice, proceedings for a private prosecution on this matter will be filed in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday 15 January 2014.”
___________________________________________________________
From: Kevin Glubb <Kevin.Glubb@sfo.govt.nz>
Date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Open Letter – Mr Brown

” Dear Ms Bright

I refer to your email of 13 January 2014 addressed to the Director and in relation to Mr Len Brown requesting advice as to whether or not your complaint will be reconsidered.

In making a decision to commence a Part 1 or Part 2 investigation the Director of the SFO is obliged to be satisfied of the statutory preconditions for the exercise of those powers set out in the Serious Fraud Office Act.  She may not take into account other considerations (including the views of third parties as to whether or not an investigation is appropriate or desirable).  As a matter of public policy and in accordance with the principles of natural justice, the Director’s decisions must be based upon an objective view of the available information.  It is also plainly undesirable that her decisions could be influenced by public opinion or external pressure.

Nor will the Director be governed in making such decisions by the views of others as to the appropriate time frame in which such decisions can or should be made.  Unless and until she is satisfied to the requisite standard as set out in the legislation, no decision can be made to investigate.  Consequently, we will not be responding to your request for a decision to re-evaluate your complaint by 5 pm tomorrow.

Further, it is inappropriate for the SFO to disclose details about the progress of its deliberations (if any) to members of the public as this may prejudice any subsequent investigation and cause unwarranted damage to the interests of any individual who is the subject of a complaint, particularly where no investigation is commenced.  Even where other information about a particular matter is in the public domain, this does not mean that it is appropriate for the SFO to make such disclosures.  We do not propose to do so in this case.

Finally, I observe that any decision made to commence a private prosecution is entirely a matter for you.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Glubb | General Counsel | Serious Fraud Office | PO Box 7124, Wellesley Street, Auckland | Level 6, 21 Queen Street, Auckland 1010 | Main Line:   09 303 0121  | M:  | F: + 64 9 303 0142 |  ”

_____________________________________________________________________________

“In making a decision to commence a Part 1 or Part 2 investigation the Director of the SFO is obliged to be satisfied of the statutory preconditions for the exercise of those powers set out in the Serious Fraud Office Act. ”

As you are no doubt aware, as General Counsel,  the underpinning Serious Fraud Act 1990, makes no mention whatsoever of the words ‘bribery or corruption’, it only covers ‘serious or complex fraud’:
It is the  ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between the Police and SFO (which is not based in statute), signed by the former Director of the SFO, Adam Feeley and Police Commissioner Peter Marshall on 29 September 2011,  (pd 19) ‘Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption’,  which sets out how bribery and corruption offences should be handled:
” Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption
 
1. This Schedule outlines the processes for reporting and enforcing corruption and bribery offences.  These processes are to be adopted by the SFO and the Police to ensure there is a consistent approach to corruption reporting, investigation and enforcement in New Zealand.
 
2. This Schedule has been developed to assist New Zealand’s compliance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions, and to support ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
 
Referral process
 
3.  All bribery and corruption offences are to be referred to the SFO, who will act as a ‘single window’ for bribery and corruption reports.
 
……………..
 
10.  Corruption allegations are to be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate law enforcement agency in line with that agency’s policies and procedures.  Where the report involves or originates from another government agency, that agency should be represented as much as appropriate.
 
11. Specific corruption offences are found in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Secret Commissions Act 1910.
 
Communication
 
12. The SFO’s point of contact for referrals of bribery and corruption cases is the SFO Liaison Officer.  The SFO’s point of contact in regards to the joint assessment of reports is the General Manager Fraud Detection and Intelligence.
 
13.  Police’s point of contact for bribery and corruption cases is the Assistant Commissioner Investigations and International or his nominee.
______________________________________________________________________________
Lisa Prager and myself consider that the NZ Serious Fraud Office has not dealt with our ‘bribery and corruption’ complaint ( your reference: C 3592 ) against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City in the proper way, as outlined in the above-mentioned ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Police and SFO’.
Our original complaint (dated 22 November 2013), was dealt with as a ‘serious and complex fraud’ complaint – when it was clearly a ‘bribery and corruption’ complaint.
It is our considered opinion, that  New Zealand urgently needs a genuinely ‘Independent Commission Against Corruption’, tasked with preventing corruption; carrying out anti-corruption educational activity, and detecting and investigating corruption cases.
In the meantime, it appears that the NZ Serious Fraud Act 1990, needs urgent updating to incorporate the responsibilities for reporting, investigating and enforcing bribery and corruption offences, as outlined in the above-mentioned ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Police and SFO, Schedule 6 – Bribery and Corruption’.
Please be advised of the imminent commencement of a private prosecution on this matter, where the filing of documents at the Auckland District Court, should proceed on Wednesday 15 January 2014.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
 ……………..
……………..
Lisa Prager
……………..
___________________________________________________________
BACKGROUND CORRESPONDENCE:
13 January 2014
Julie Read
CEO/ Director
NZ Serious Fraud Office
Nick Paterson
General Manager
Fraud and Corruption
NZ Serious Fraud Office
‘Open Letter’
For your urgent consideration:
Please be advised that if  Lisa Prager and myself (Penny Bright), have not had it confirmed by yourselves, by email, by 5pm Tuesday
14 January 2014, that the SFO will re-evaluate our following bribery and corruption complaint, then without further notice, proceedings for a private prosecution on this matter will be filed in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday 15 January 2014.
Please be advised that no such response by email, by 5pm Tuesday 14 January 2014, will be taken as a’NO’ to our request.
Yours sincerely,
Penny Bright
………………..
……………….
Lisa Prager
…………………
_____________________________________________________

16 December 2013

Nick Paterson
General Manager Fraud and Corruption

Julie Read
CEO
New Zealand Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

‘OPEN LETTER’ request to the NZ Serious Fraud Office to re evaluate your refusal to investigate complaint C 3592 alleging bribery and corruption against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City:

This is a formal request for the NZ Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to re evaluate your decision not to investigate a complaint from Lisa Prager and myself for an investigation alleging bribery and corruption against Mayor Len Brown and Sky City, (which the SFO chose to treat as a ‘serious and complex fraud’ – when that was NOT the basis for this complaint) – particularly in light of the recent Ernst and Young investigation.

(Your SFO reply, dated 5 December 2013 (your reference C3592) is attached to this email.)

C 3592 Complaint to the Serious Fraud Office

Your reply states:

“RE: C3592 Complaint to the Serious Fraud Office

I refer to your complaint received by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on 22 November 2013.

The SFO is a highly specialised government agency that is permitted by law to investigate only those matters where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a serious or complex financial crime may have been committed.

We have evaluated the information which you have provided to determine whether it may warrant a SFO investigation.For your information, criteria we consider in determining whether a matter may be of a serious or complex nature include:

* The financial value of the alleged fraud (usually in excess of $2,000,000);
*The strength of evidence to support the allegations made;
* The number of victims impacted by the alleged fraud;
* The factual, legal and financial complexity of the alleged fraud, including whether you have supplied any documentation to support an allegation of serious or complex fraud;

When evaluating whether a matter may meet the criteria for an investigation we must first identify conduct that could be considered a breach of the criminal law within the mandate of the SFO (typically under the Crimes Act 1961).

You have requested the SFO investigate whether Mayor Len Brown has committed an offence under section 105 of the Crimes Act 1961. Section 105 (1) provides that :

Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him in his official capacity.

Section 4 of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 provides that:

Where the Director has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud the Director may exercise any power conferred by this Part (Part 1).

This is an objective test and requires there to be some evidence that would cause the Director to suspect that an investigation may disclose serious or complex fraud.

The evidence that you have relied to make a request for investigation by SFO is

1. In 2010 Mr Brown received a $15,000 donation from Sky City towards his Auckland Mayoral campaign which he declared.

2. On 27 June 2013, he voted against a motion “that the Governing Body does not support the Government’s proposal for Sky City to develop a convention centre in return for changes in our gambling legisation to increase gambling at the Sky City Casino.”

Your complaint relies on an assumption that Mr Brown voted against the motion because he had received a donation from Sky City in 2010.

In the absence of other evidence there is not sufficient evidence to form a view that an investigation into the affairs of Mr Brown may disclose serious or complex fraud.

Consequently we will not be commencing an investigation into your complaint. SFO will re evaluate your complaint if you can provide evidence to corroborate your complaint.

While we will not be investigating your complaint, we thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Yours sincerely,

Jess Sewak
Evaluation Officer
Evaluation and Intelligence Unit
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The FACT is that on the ‘watch’ of Mayor Len Brown, Auckland Council did NO ‘due diligence’ on the increased risk of money-laundering arising from the NZ International Convention Centre (now Act) 2013, although this increased risk was spelled out in the following Regulatory Impact Statement.

http://www.med.govt.nz/about-us/publications/publications-by-topic/regulatory-impact-statements/mbie-regulatory-impact-statements/NZICC-RIS-June-2013.pdf

Potential risk of money laundering

95 Cash intensive industries such as casinos are attractive to money laundering activity. New Zealand’s National Risk Assessment 2010 assessed casinos as presenting moderate to high risk of money laundering.

For this reason, casinos (including all SkyCity casinos) are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act), which comes into force on 30 June 2013.

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The FACT is that not only did Len Brown accept a $15,000 mayoral donation in 2010 (which he did declare), not only did he argue in favour of Auckland Council supporting the NZ International Convention Centre (Bill) on 27 June 2013, but he also accepted free Sky City hotel rooms, which we believe is a major, arguably corrupt, ‘conflict of interest’.

(The recent Ernst and Young Report has confirmed that Mayor Len Brown has received complimentary hotel rooms and upgrades from Sky City).

NEW EVIDENCE:

http://www.nbr.co.nz/sites/default/files/images/Independent_Review_Report_FINAL_131213.pdf

“5. The mayor has received nine complimentary (free) hotel rooms or suites which have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in his completed annual Declaration of Interests. The value of the complimentary rooms/suites based on rates 3 provided by the hotels is $6,130.

6. The mayor has received hotel upgrades (to better quality rooms or suites) which have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in his completed annual Declaration of Interests. A total of 64 such upgrades has been identified.
The value of the upgrades based on rates provided by the hotels is $32,888.50.

2.3.2 Hotel rooms

Background

We obtained waivers from the mayor and selected employees of the Mayoral Office to obtain both council and private information in relation to bookings made by, or for, the mayor in various Auckland hotels during the review period.

The Mayoress has advised there is an arrangement with The Stamford Plaza whereby the family (including the mayor) stay privately on a regular basis with the Mayoress being responsible for payment.

In providing context around the mayor’s hotel bookings, a number of the hotels advised us it is standard industry practice to provide room upgrades for VIPS from time to time and there are also valid commercial reasons why hotels may choose to also provide VIPS with complimentary (free) rooms.

Findings

1. There were no hotel rooms used by the mayor for private purposes that were paid for by council.

2. No complimentary rooms/suites have been registered by the mayor as gifts or disclosed in his completed 2011 and 2012 Declaration of Interests.

3. The mayor received a total of nine complimentary rooms during the period. The value of the complimentary rooms/suites based on rates provided by the hotels is $6,130.

4. A number of rooms were provided to the mayor at a discounted rate for a standard room and, in most cases, a superior room or suite was provided.

There were 64 room upgrades during the period. None of the upgrades were registered by the mayor as gifts or disclosed in the mayor’s completed annual Declaration of Interests. The value of the upgrades based on rates
provided by the hotels was $32,888.50.

A summary of complimentary and upgrade rooms by hotel follows:
Hotel

SKYCITY and SKYCITY Grand Hotels

Total room nights booked 8

Complimentary room nights 3

Upgrade room nights 5 ”
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In our considered opinion, Mayor Len Brown has effectively accepted a ‘bribe’ / bribes’ from Sky City.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328730.html

105 Corruption and bribery of official

(1)Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him in his official capacity.

(2)Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who corruptly gives or offers or agrees to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any official in respect of any act or omission by him in his official capacity.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328730.html

99 Interpretation
In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,—

bribe means any money, valuable consideration, office, or employment, or any benefit, whether direct or indirect

official means any person in the service of Her Majesty in right of New Zealand (whether that service is honorary or not, and whether it is within or outside New Zealand), or any member or employee of any local authority or public body, or any person employed in the education service within the meaning of the State Sector Act 1988.

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We also note that the following OECD Report has been critical of New Zealand’s ‘being soft on bribery’:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/9515330/Kiwis-rebuked-for-going-soft-on-bribery

http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/new-zealand-not-immune-from-foreign-bribery.htm

We are concerned that this lack of action by the NZ SFO on bribery allegations appears not to be limited to ‘foreign bribery’?

Again, Lisa Prager and myself confirm that we will make ourselves available at a mutually convenient time in order to discuss this matter.

Please be advised that if the New Zealand SFO continues to refuse to investigate this allegation of bribery and corruption against Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Sky City, then options available to us, include petitioning Parliament for an inquiry into why the ‘lead agency’ to whom complaints alleging bribery and corruption are supposed to be made, (the New Zealand SFO) is arguably not doing its job?

Please be reminded of what the NZ SFO states on your own website about ‘bribery or corruption matters’:

http://www.sfo.govt.nz/common-questions-complainants

“In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws.”

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

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Lisa Prager

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