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

 


Time for council to come clean on lawyer fees


Time for council to come clean on what it’s paying different lawyers

An Auckland councillor is appalled Auckland Council won’t publicly release details on what it’s paying to the different legal firms its using.

"Watercare's 33.7% annual increase in external legal costs didn't make good reading, but at least they didn't hide behind a provision in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. Watercare didn't see the need to protect themselves or the legal firms they use, so I can't see why the rest of the council can't show the same transparency,” says the Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

"The $14.2m in-house legal bill for Auckland Council and its five of its CCOs, is frankly a lot of public money and the public deserves greater accountability and transparency. When you add in Watercare's $3.5m annual bill and Auckland Transport's legal costs of $3.5m, the bill is over $21m each year.

"Auckland ratepayers deserve to know what Auckland Council and its CCOs are paying out to the different legal firms around the city. It is after all public money. If you're prepared to spend public money then you also need to be prepared to tell the public where exactly all these millions are going.

"I don't want a project by project breakdown. I just want to know how much ratepayers’ money each year is being pumped into which law firms. It's not an unrealistic request, but it's one that is obviously proving to be embarrassing

"It is a significant sum of public money which I have simply requested a breakdown of under the Local Government Official Information & Meetings Act, but the council has refused to provide it.

"The Mayor promised greater transparency. I implore him to insist this information be publically released, otherwise I have no choice but to go to the Ombudsman.”

Mr Brewer said he is also concerned about Auckland Transport’s legal costs that have gone from $1.5m to over $3.5m in the past year alone.

"Auckland Transport's legal costs have alarmingly gone up by 127% in the past year. I suspect they'll keep skyrocketing as the Mayor commits the ratepayers further and further into the City Rail Link. That $2.86b tunneling project will require a lot of property purchase and endless legal wrangling with apartment and business owners. Rest assured Auckland Transport's legal bill will continue to blow out from here on in," says Cameron Brewer.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news