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No More Secrecy in Auckland City Council

26 March 2008

Water Pressure Group Media Spokesperson Penny Bright has advised the Mayor and Auckland City Councillors that she will take matters to the point of arrest (again) - if Metrowater matters are not removed from the 'confidential' agenda of the Finance and Strategy Committee meeting this morning .

She has leftl a message with the Auckland Area Police Commander, Inspector Rob Abbott, that is it absolutely unacceptable for Auckland Police to be used as Auckland City Council 'security guards', enforcing their unlawful actions.

If arrested again by Police today, for defending the public's lawful right to 'open, transparent and democratically accountable' local government, steps will be taken against Police action, including seeking possible damages.

The 'Open Letter' sent yesterday to Mayor and Auckland City Councillors follows:

OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR AND ALL AUCKLAND CITY COUNCILLORS

RE: METROWATER REVIEW BEING HELD IN CONFIDENTIAL.

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT I FOR ONE WILL NOT BE EXCLUDED AND WILL (AGAIN) TAKE MATTERS TO THE POINT OF ARREST.

FINANCE AND STRATEGY COMMITTEE MEETING:

WEDNESDAY 26 MARCH 2008 9.30AM

15TH FLOOR AUCKLAND CIVIC BUILDING 1 GREYS AVE AUCKLAND CITY


"REVIEW OF METRO WATER LTD'S PERFORMANCE FOR THE HALF YEAR

A Brink Financial policy analyst, Treasury 4 March 2008

Reporting on the review of Metrowater's report for the half year ending 31 December 2007, which has been reviewed by the Treasury Group.

Recommending that it be noted that Metrowater made good progress towards achieving the goals in its Statement of Intent; and that the Chairman and the Chief Executive of Metrowater will be in attendance for a later item on the confidential agenda of this meeting."

"Section 7(2)(b)(ii) The withholding of the information is necessary to protect information where the making available of the information would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information.

In particular, the report contains commercially sensitive information, which could disadvantage Council and Metrowater while carrying out negotiations of a commercial nature."

"Section 7(2)(b)(ii) The withholding of the information is necessary to protect information where the making available of the information would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information.

In particular, the report contains commercially sensitive information, which could disadvantage Council and Metrowater while carrying out negotiations of a commercial nature."

Please be reminded that to date, I have yet to lose in Court over the issue of 'confidentiality'.

Three District Court Judges, (Blackie, Mathers and Morris) have all dismissed trespass charges which were 'triggered' from placing Metrowater (and Watercare) matters under 'confidential'.

Please be reminded of the findings of the 'Highest Court in the Land' - the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, which stated in their report of 20 September 2007:

"We consider that the council could have kept the public better informed about the charitable payments, the rise in water rates, and the decision made to direct the payment from Metrowater into upgrading Auckland's stormwater system. In future the council should ensure that the public is better informed and that its decision making process is transparent."

The use of Metrowater as a 'ca$h cow' to subsidise rates by increasing 'charitable payments' to Auckland City Council, was the result of previously excluding the public from such 'commercially sensitive' discussions.

What utter GARBAGE is this 'commercial sensitivity' ?

Metrowater is a monopoly supplier of water services, 100% owned by Auckland City Council on behalf of we CITIZENS of Auckland City.

It's OUR company - it's OUR money - it's OUR business.

Again - I will be defending the right of the public to 'open, transparent and democratically accountable' local government, as enshrined in the Local Government Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act - which all you elected representatives swore an oath to the public which you would uphold.

I'm sure that you are all well aware that 2008 is election year.

I'm sure that the voting public will be interested to see the track record of Auckland City Council elected representatives on this CORE issue of democratic accountability to get some indication of how TRUSTWORTHY on key promises central government 'equivalent' political parties will be.

Remembering, of course, that central government elections tend to be won (or lost) in AUCKLAND.

Please also be advised that if I am arrested and it goes to Court, I will consider summonsing as witnesses, ALL Councillors who vote to exclude the public, and Council staff who have so advised them.

Looking forward to commonsense and the prevailing of our lawful rights to 'open, transparent and democratically accountable' local government.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group


ENDS

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