Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Watercare’s External Legal Bill Nearly $10,000 A Day

Media statement

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Watercare’s External Legal Bill Nearly $10,000 A Day - Up 33.7% In 12 Months

Aucklanders will be unimpressed Watercare’s external spend on lawyers has risen by nearly $1m in the last year alone, says Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer.

Mr Brewer has released official information he obtained from Watercare showing a rise in legal costs from $2,679,809 in the year to November 2011 compared with $3,584,204 in the year to November 2012, excluding any in-house legal staff costs.

“That’s an increase of 33.7% or nearly $1m in just 12 months. What’s more Watercare used 22 different legal firms in the past year, and has spent on average about $10,000 a day on legal bills alone.

"Yes Watercare is a huge business and is undergoing a massive capital works programme but these numbers are far too high for a ratepayer-owned business.

“This is yet another example of rising costs in Auckland local government. We’re seeing it too often at Auckland Council. Mayor Len Brown needs to gain greater control of these council-controlled organisations. At the moment they’re spending up a storm, with little political and public accountability.

“It is an outrage it takes a councillor to lodge an request under the Local Government Official Information And Meetings Act to force this out into the daylight but the public needs to know. We’ve got council elections this year and rising costs will be a big part of the debate,” says Mr Brewer.

This revelation comes at a time when public submissions are open on Watercare’s proposals for its non-domestic wastewater tariff structure, with submissions closing next Friday on 18 January.

“Businesses need to make sure they have their say on these new wastewater pricing proposals.

“Alarmingly, the biggest losers look set to be many of the same businesses whose property rates have just gone up the most – that is small businesses such as retailers who are light water users in the old Auckland City Council area. They are ones who will soon be paying more for wastewater and they won’t be impressed to read about Watercare’s latest legal bill blow-out.

“Watercare is statutorily not allowed to make a profit and recovers its costs through its charges to residents and businesses. Here is an example of its costs getting too high, costs that will sadly be passed directly onto the water users of Auckland. For the sake of people’s future water bills, these costs now need to be contained.

“Watercare’s own vision is about 'ensuring costs are well managed'. A rise in external legal costs of over 33% in 12 months is sadly a broken promise to all the people of Auckland who own Watercare,” said Mr Brewer.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy.

In its original incarnation in the early 1970s, ACC had been a globally innovative “no fault” scheme whereby accident victims surrendered their right to sue those responsible – on the understanding that they would receive compensation at a level that, as Woodhouse famously stated, would be sufficient to enable accident victims to fully participate in social life... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

IPCC: Many Pathways To Substantial Emissions Reductions Available

A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. More>>

ALSO:

Bowels: Green Light From Labour For Cancer Screening Programme

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. More>>

ALSO:

Dotcom Speaks To Mana AGM: Negotiations With The Internet Party To COntinue

The MANA AGM decided unanimously to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news