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 Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

Ridiculous reported comments on RNZ this morning by Trade Minister Tim Groser, as he sought to dampen down concerns about the leaked draft of the IP chapter of ther Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. According to Groser, ‘extreme’ positions are common at the outset of negotiations, and these get whittled down over the course of negotiations. Fine.

Except that we’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations.

Still, Groser did promise that the cost of medicines would not rise as a result of the TPP trade deal. Great. But this is not what politicians in other countries are saying. More>>

.

 
 

Parliament Today:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:

Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news