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Big boys' votes veto sharing of top jobs

Big boys' votes veto sharing of top jobs

The region's two largest city councils have denied Auckland's smaller local authorities greater say over Watercare Services Ltd, the region's water supplier.

Tony Holman, chairperson of North Shore City's strategy and finance committee, says Auckland City and Manukau City Councils used their voting power to veto the will of four of the region's smaller councils, including North Shore City, and protect their own people in positions of power.

North Shore City and other councils had nominated Councillor Holman to challenge Auckland City's Dr Bruce Hucker for the chair of the Watercare Services Shareholders Representative Group (SRG), a key political steering group. His nomination had the backing of Waitakere City, Rodney District and Papakura District Councils.

The SRG comprises representatives from six local authorities across the Auckland region. Its roles are to act as the co-ordinating body for the shareholding councils in appointing directors to the Watercare board and to influence the company's activities through the annual discussions on the Statement of Corporate Intent.

However, despite four councils wanting Tony Holman to represent their shareholders' interests by having him as chair or deputy chair of the SRG, Auckland and Manukau vetoed the proposal with their greater voting power. "So Dr Hucker remains chair and Manukau's Neil Morrison remains deputy chair while the four other councils remain shut out of these positions," Councillor Holman says.

"The big boys have used their combined two-thirds shareholding in Watercare to shut out the smaller shareholders - even when we outnumbered them four to two."

Tony Holman has represented North Shore City on the Watercare SRG since 1998. The council's other representative is Gary Holmes.

Councillor Holman chaired the board of Watercare Services from February 1995 until October that year when he had to resign because he was elected to the North Shore City Council. The Local Government Act prohibits councillors from being directors of Watercare Services Ltd.

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