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Watercare Appointment Was Conflict of Interest

Watercare Appointment Was Conflict of Interest

"Auckland City Councillor Bruce Hucker's claim that Mr Gary Taylor's appointment as a Director of Watercare has been invalided due to a legal `technicality' is grossly misleading" ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"The Local Government Act 1974 and the Amendment Act of 2002 very deliberately state that no director of Watercare may be an elected member of any Local Authority. The Act further states very specifically that a member of Infrastructure Auckland cannot also be a Director of Watercare.

"Mr Gary Taylor was appointed as a member of Infrastructure Auckland on January 1, 2000. He was subsequently reappointed for a further two years in July 2001. The shareholders representative group of Watercare chaired by Dr Hucker appointed Gary Taylor as a Director of that body in March 2001 in direct contravention of the Act.

"This is not a legal technicality, it is the flaunting of a deliberate statutory requirement.

"The need for a separation of governance responsibilities between Watercare - the provider of infrastructural services - and Infrastructure Auckland, the funder, should be obvious to all.

"It is also necessary to ensure separation of governance responsibilities between Watercare and its customers, the local authorities of Auckland.

"I am concerned that Dr Bruce Hucker, Chairman of the shareholders representative group, appears not to appreciate the need for independent governance and appears to favour a cosy little club riddled with conflicting interests.

"I am aghast and astounded by the suggestion that the legislation should be changed so that he can reappoint Gary Taylor.

"I would certainly hope that the Labour Government does not entertain such a proposal - even though Gary Taylor has also been employed as an advisor in the office of Energy Minister Pete Hodgson," Mr Shirley said.

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