Auckland R&R Executive Summary
Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers Executive Summary
This submission looks at three aspects of the Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004 and also recommends changes to the Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act 1968.
The three areas for consideration are - Auckland Regional Transport Authorities (ARTA) structure for democratisation conflicts of interest by appointed or elected staff and councillors and a fairer use of petrol taxes collected from the Auckland region.
Item 1 Item 1 calls for genuine collaboration between those groups most concerned with Auckland’s transport future namely central Government Local Authorities, and Council Controlled Organisations the general Auckland public.
As it stands, the public body is predominantly excluded from direct contact with ARTA Directors. ARTA is 100% owned by ARC which in turn is accountable to the public.
A democratically elected presence must be included on the Board of Directors of ARTA. The submission proposes that Liaison Directors are elected from the community onto the ARTA Board of Directors.
To date, land transport programmes have been held back by a lack of expertise, sharing of information and funding with too many of the stakeholders protecting their own territory.
The submission further calls for the general public to have the same access to information about the Ports of Auckland Ltd currently available to private sharesholders.
Item 2 ARTA’s role will require it to let capital contracts for long term development programmes. Information surrounding these programmes will clearly be available to decision makers on numerous local bodies connected with the Auckland Regional Council, ARTA, ARH, and other local bodies.
To ensure full transparency it is essential that members and staff of these public agencies disclose their pecuniary interests through a Register of Interest.
Legislation should be amended to incorporate provision for such a Register.
Item 3 It is well recognized that the Government has raised increasing sums from the general public through petrol taxes. However, by comparison only trivial sums of money return to Auckland by way of infrastructure.
This submission recommends that ALL REGIONAL petrol taxes be spent on developing appropriate Auckland Regional Land Transport Programmes. In this way, money raised in Auckland will be returned to Auckland for the benefit of land transport.
1. Attached: ARTA – Collaborative Partnership - Structure Outline * 2. Addendum – * re: Item 1, p2, subheading: ‘AMENDMENTS’ (iii) Liaison Directors * 3. Insert – ALL REGIONAL in last para: Executive Summary (to read “This submission recommends that ALL REGIONAL petrol taxes be spent on developing appropriate Auckland.....).
Elaine West Spokesperson: Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers
Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers Contact: Elaine West 09 360 2771 firstname.lastname@example.org Submission: Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004
Having the Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004 (the Bill) on the Parliamentary table is a critical step toward resolving Auckland’s land transport needs.
Whether the Bill becomes an Act that is an article of faith or a millstone around Auckland’s neck depends on the structure of Auckland Regional Transport Authority the administrative body, and both the source and availability of land transport funds.
The Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004 (the Bill)
Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers endorse the Bill’s - a) purpose and intentions for change in Auckland’s land transport and land use governance and b) the establishment of two Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) as subsidiaries of the Auckland Regional Council (ARC), being the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and Auckland Regional Holdings (ARH).
Three key items require redrafting. 1) ARTA’s structure needs democratisation 2) Amend the Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act 1968 3) ARTA funding
ITEM 1 Democracy at Work
Structure ARTA as a member of a Collaborative Partnership central Govt Local Authorities (LAs); CCOs community
PROPOSAL ARTA becomes a CCO within the Collaborative Partnership. REASONS a) The Collaborative Partnership structure will enhance democratic values and principles providing – genuine collaboration, consultation, open governance, transparency and accountability. information sharing expertise regular meetings best solutions rapid results (ref: Strategies for Establishing The Big 3, p4).
(b) A Collaborative Partnership gives Aucklanders as majority stakeholders improved access to ARTA decisions and functions. (c) A Collaborative Partnership gives improved and direct access to the Board of Directors on the Ports of Auckland Ltd and the majority public stakeholders (80%) views will be given due diligence especially in when making significant decisions.
Perspective ARTA: The Bill separates ARTA from the major stakeholders by giving almost absolute authority to the Board of Directors who are appointed by local authorities without an elected representative from the community.
POAL: The Board of Directors on the POAL are an example of a Board that is not held sufficiently democratically accountable to major stakeholders - the people of Auckland.
At present, The POAL Board of Directors avoid meeting Auckland shareholders directly to consult on significant issues, and refer majority stakeholders to Infrastructure Auckland (I/A) to act on their behalf (if I/A sees fit).
ARTA is given even broader berth in public avoidance than POAL Directors. Legislation or POAL policies are gatekeeping devices restricting community access.
In contrast, POAL private stakeholders (20%) are given greater accessibility to information and decision-making processes. (c) A contradiction appears to occur in management roles between ARC and ARTA. The General Policy Statement within the Bill states: (p113-1, para 3) ARTA will be a subsidiary of, and be accountable to, the Auckland Regional Council.
Further, the Bill states: (S9 (3)) Nothing in the Act, the principal Act, the Land Transport Act 1998, or any other Act authorises ARC to direct ARTA in relation to its land transport programme.
A contradiction occurs when ARTA is accountable to the ARC and is given broad independence and an ARC representative is not on the BoD to qualify monitoring and accountability practice.
AMENDMENTS i) insert an entitlement of genuine public consultation into significant decisions taken by the Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) Board of Directors – entitlement is used in regard to Aucklanders or Auckland Regional Council or Auckland Regional Holdings.
ii)Within the Collaborative Partnership structure include a ‘without voting rights’ seat for an ARC Director on the Board of Directors of ARTA to enable the ARC to maintain a quality monitoring programme without contradicting the Bill, P2, S9 (3). *Include in the Bill and not on original (iii) SEE ATTACHMENT/Liaison Directors on ARTA’s Board of Directors) ITEM 2
AMEND THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES (MEMBERS’ INTEREST) ACT 1968
PROPOSAL 1. Include: Appointed staff or Councillors 2. Mandate a Register of Interest available for public viewing
REASONS a) The Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act 1968 applies to elected members, and does not refer to appointed employees or members in public organisations.
b) Auckland’s present political climate gives a good indication of the lack of public trust and confidence in many local authority decisions.
c) A mandatory Register of Interest will reflect democratic principles (transparency and accountability) will go a long way to restoring Aucklander’s faith in local body governance.
Interpretation ARTA is destined to become one of New Zealand’s most influential and financially resourced local government agencies.
ARTA Directors and employees will collaborate with multiple agencies as a member of the Collaborative Partnership.
Issues around conflict of interest and personal pecuniary gain should be made clear in legislation.
The Bill does not give enough protection across interested sectors (ref: the Bill, P2 S13 (3) (b)).
The rationale is – that a Register of Interest a) is an essential instrument and living document that is open to public scrutiny b) discloses local authority representatives, employees, Boards of Directors of CCOs, POAL, govt employees and representatives pecuniary interests c) discloses property interests, business interests and/or share parcels d) discloses partner's property interests, business interests, including shares parcels. Partners include relationship, business or other. Immediate family member’s disclosure is warranted in matters of appointed or elected members’ potential conflict of interest e) when matters arise that may conflict with pecuniary interests then these interests must be declared and the affected person must withdraw from proceedings. NOTE: On 1 July 2004, the Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004 (the Bill) becomes an Act.
Unless the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 is amended to include appointed employees and Councillors and a Register of Interest significant problems associated with pecuniary matters and appointed staff or representatives working in public agencies will surface.
Similarly, the Bill does not address appointed employee’s conflict of interest issues in ARTA or ARH.
i) KEEP – (LG(A)ABill 2004, P 2, S13 (b)
ii) That the Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act 1968 be amended to require appointed or elected members and employees of CCOs, local authorities, central Government, public companies or companies, subsidiaries or pubic agencies to disclose their pecuniary interests.
ITEM 3 FUNDING ARTA USING EXISTING TAXES
PURPOSE The Collaborative Partnership ensures Auckland’s petrol taxes return to - eliminate the need for chronic local government taxes (rates, tolls, congestion fees and so on) to rapidly construct a quality public transport system to foster positive social, economic, and environmental spin-offs.
REASON Auckland’s Private Passenger Industry is New Zealand’s Fiscal Basket
Auckland’s traffic growth is 4% and inherent air-noise-visual pollution increases daily.
It should be acknowledged by New Zealand governments that Auckland’s infrastructure problems are politically created – masses of cars and trucks on roads add significant funds to the Treasury Account.
National Income and Vehicle Taxes ACR&R’s interpretation of the national revenue account indicates just how much private vehicle use contributes to New Zealand’s Total Revenue Account.
Between 1997 and 2003 successive Government’s made extensive use of vehicle taxes to boost its funds.
Petrol Taxes From 1997-2003, Governments received $5b in petrol taxes of which almost half ($2.4b) went into the Crown Account.
In June 2003, an estimated 51% of petrol taxes transferred to the Crown Account.
Central Government It is fitting to acknowledge the provision of additional Government funding toward solving Auckland’s transport infrastructure. But is it enough?
Auckland ‘s additional $1.6b in funds over the next ten years while helpful, is in truth - too little and too late.
Overall Vehicle User Charges Vehicle user charges put multi-billions of dollars into New Zealand’s revenue account.
From 1997-2003 a trivial 3.5% (trend figure) went into the National Roads Fund.
Yet central Government indicates that funds are not available to deal with Auckland’s land transport problems and is investigating tolling new and existing roads tolling depending on time-of-day congestion fees higher fuel taxes / parking levies.
LOCAL BODY RATE INCREASES Auckland local authorities are targeting residents and ratepayers as unlimited tax providers for land transport projects.
An astronomical $10b is currently forecast to complete Auckland’s transport infrastructure.
The Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy 2003 (ARC) expects to spend about 26% of funds on public transport and 74% on road construction, over ten years.
If the Eastern Highway Corridor Project becomes a reality, public transport will receive only 16% of land transport funds while an estimated $4b will be spent on Highway construction. Such expenditure is unnecessary and unwarranted. The ARC has not debated the Eastern Corridor in Council or in the public arena. RECOMMENDATIONS That ARTA does not decide on nor act on road building projects as set by the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy 2003 and required by the LG(A)A Bill 2004 until local elections are held this year.
That ARTA does NOT raise significant loans to construct projects and withholds from using large percentages of land transport funds for road construction unless mandated by the people (Eastern Highway Corridor Proposal must have such a mandate) (costs:$4b at present).
That all petrol taxes are spent on developing appropriate regional land transport programmes, and tolls and congestion fees are deemed as unnecessary extra taxes.
SUBMISSION ATTACHMENT – Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers
A. ITEM 1 (i) A Collaborative Partnership – Structural Overview
(ii) Addendum to Item 1, p2, subheading AMENDMENTS (iii)
B. ITEM 3: Executive Summary, final para. insert: ‘that ALL regional petrol taxes be spent..
AMEND: Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004
A Collaborative Partnership
Purpose To structure ARTA’s Board of Directors within a Collaborative Partnership arrangement
to share and utilise information and expertise for implementing Auckland’s land transport programme.
Reasons A Collaborative Partnership is crucial to achieving shared, open, transparent, and accountable governance.
Boards of Directors on public-owned entities, or mostly public-owned entities, may be structured in ways that build barriers that constrain public participation. Such barriers are created in legislation or in policy and often relate to matters of significance or practice.
Perspective When entities, owned in whole or in part by the general public design policies that aim to deliberately restrict public participation on matters of governance, significance, and function, then New Zealand’s democratic principles are severely compromised. The Board of Directors on the Ports of Auckland Ltd provides an example where a mostly public-owned entity, through either legislation or company policy and practice appear to better serve private shareholder interests (20%), than majority public shareholder interests (80%).
Local Government (Auckland) Amendment Bill 2004 The Bill as it is drafted, runs counter to New Zealand’s democratic principles as the Board of Directors on ARTA will not directly include, and therefore, will not be directly representative of the wider Auckland public – in essence, ARTA as a millstone around the general public neck.
Following is an example of a restructured and more democratic Board of Directors on Auckland Regional Transport Authority – in essence, ARTA as an article of faith.
Partner – Central Government Government appointed Directors (3) 1 per entity Transfund, TransitNZ, Trackco without voting rights
Partner – Local Authorities (l/a’s) and agencies L/a’s appoint Directors as per Bill (P2, S11,12, 13 not (a) - with voting rights (7) ARC appoint a Director from ARC - without voting rights (1) - liaises (ARTA, ARC, and l/a)
Partner – Liaison Directors Community elects liaison Directors (5) - one Director per Auckland district North, South, West, East, Central - with voting rights (4) without voting rights (12) with voting rights
The Bill; Delete P2, (3) (a); amend appropriately.
Summary ARTA will be a powerful CCO with an important place in Auckland’s affairs.
The Collaborative Partnership approach ensures
proper democratic practice
that a range of experts will target appropriate
ARTA implementation decisions responsibilities are upheld.
*********************************** A. (ii) Addendum to Item
1, p2, subheading AMENDMENTS, include (iii) ii)Within the
Collaborative Partnership include five Liaison Directors
onto the Board of Directors of ARTA with voting rights, to
liaise with the community and in keeping with the Bill P2
S9(3). *************************************** B. ITEM 3:
Executive Summary: Insert: final paragraph insert ALL
regional……. “that ALL regional petrol taxes be spent on
developing appropriate Auckland Regional Land Transport