Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Complaints over secret agreements

13 July 2009 Media Statement

Complaints over secret agreements

An attempt to hold negotiations over Auckland’s water services in secret might be a breach of the law, Progressive Wigram MP Jim Anderton says.

He is going to the Ombudsman and Auditor-General with complaints over a ‘confidentiality agreement’ Watercare has tried to make Auckland councils sign. The agreement would stop councils from disclosing any details about the transfer of water businesses to Watercare.

Jim Anderton says the agreement appears to be an attempt to thwart the law around official information - in particular the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. It provides the only grounds councils can use to restrict disclosure of information. It also provides for redress through the Ombudsman.

“The ‘confidentiality agreement’ has the whiff of darkness about it.

“There should be nothing in the transfer of the water business of councils that can’t be dealt with through the official information statutes. The important protection for the public is that officials can’t use our money without being accountable to the public. If there are public interest grounds for withholding information, then those grounds are subject to simple review by the Ombudsman.

“Therefore the attempt to override the statute with a secrecy deal appears to be sinister.

“You can’t use public money for unlawful purposes. Thwarting an Act of parliament is unlawful. Any public money used to write this agreement or negotiate it will have to be paid back. Any lawyers involved should be thinking about refunding their fees.

“What we are seeing repeatedly from the national government and its henchmen in Auckland is a highly undemocratic tendency towards taxation without representation.

“First, the public’s right to vote on Auckland was blocked by Act of parliament, passed under urgency. Now the public’s right to know what is happening to our assets is being blocked.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Trial Periods; Industry Deals: Labour Releases Employment Policy

Labour will implement sensible changes to employment law to prevent the small number of bad employers undercutting good employers and driving a ‘race to the bottom’ on wages and conditions, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“The current law undermines good employers who pay their employees well and offer good working conditions. They can find themselves undercut by a small number of bad employers who compete by driving down labour costs. More>>


Right In The Thiels: Just 12 Days In NZ Before Citizenship

DIA have received advice from the Ombudsman that a detail originally redacted from the citizenship file of Peter Thiel released in January for privacy reasons should be made available by 27 July. More>>


Domestic Violence And Teachers: Members’ Bills Ballot

The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn:
54 Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill - Hon Nanaia Mahuta
16 Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill - Chris Hipkins More>>


Legislation: Point England Housing Bill Passed

The passage of the Point England Development Enabling Bill through Parliament this evening will benefit Auckland with additional housing, help resolve Ngāti Paoa’s Treaty claim and improve the local environment and recreation facilities, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says. More>>


Cyberducation: Digital Curriculum Launch And Funding Package

Consultation on new digital technologies content for the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Māori-medium Curriculum, was launched today by Education Minister Nikki Kaye. More>>


PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election