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Call For Select Committee To Pay WPG Court Costs

MEDIA RELEASE FROM WATER PRESSURE GROUP 18 FEBRUARY 2002

An open letter has been sent to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, requesting that they pay for the $18,073.13 costs awarded against the Water Pressure Group.

"The Water Pressure Group's Petition of Inquiry into the 2001 Auckland City Local Body election has provided the first stringent 'quality control' check of the Local Electoral Act 2001, and has found it seriously deficient,in our opinion," stated Water Pressure Group Media Spokesperson Penny Bright.

The Clerk of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, Wendy Proffitt, told Penny Bright that the the Committee wanted copies of the relevant Court documentation as a submission to the Committee of Inquiry that was being held - "To examine the law and administrative procedures for the conduct of the 2001 local elections, with particular reference to the Local Electoral Act 2001."

"If the Justice and Electoral Select Committee want copies of the relevant Court documents - that's fine. The Water Pressure Group are more than happy to provide them. That will be $18,073.13 thanks," continued Ms Bright.

"The Water Pressure Group took the Local Electoral Act 2001 for a 'test drive' with our electoral challenge. We found it to be a 'lemon'.

The Electoral Officer admitted under oath that he had not commenced investigations into the Water Pressure Group's original complaint, as was his changed statutory requirement under the new Local Electoral Act 2001.

Where are the safeguards under the new Local Electoral Act 2001, to make sure those responsible for conducting the election were aware of their changed statutory responsibilities?

Within one month of our election challenge, the water privatisation agenda of Auckland Citizens and Ratepayers Now that the WPG had tried to alert the public to, both during and after the election, was confirmed.

The Birch Report stated on PG 48

"We suggest that the Council investigate the possibility of using a public private partnership model for both Metrowater and Watercare."

We did our job, as publicly-minded citizens, told the truth, and were slammed for $18,073.13 costs! What sort of 'democracy' is this? Where is the justice for ordinary people?

No wonder less than 50% of the voting public are exercising their popular will by not participating in the electoral process! It's hard for the public to have confidence in a charade."

JUDGE MCELREA - THERE IS NO ‘FAIR TRADING ACT’ FOR POLITICIANS

“[47] Even if there is some confusion in the public mind as to the term "privatisation", it is a very different thing to say that candidates have fraudulently induced electors to vote in a particular way. Even if a candidate took advantage of such confusion, knowing that different interpretations might be put on the meaning of his or her words, I do not see how that can be regarded as any sort of electoral irregularity or misrepresentation. Indeed some might say that it is of the very nature of politics that candidates will promote their policies in this way, unrestrained by any political equivalent of the "misleading or deceptive conduct" provisions of the Fair Trading Act relating to commerce."

"The Water Pressure Group wants the Local Electoral Act 2001 amended so that the political equivalent of the 'Fair Trading Act' DOES apply to those elected representatives whom we pay to work for us.

Why should politicians be allowed to lie to get a job when ordinary members of the public aren't allowed to?

We're all supposed to be equal before the law.


If it's not an offence to lie to the public - it should be.

The Water Pressure Group looks forward to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee starting to address the lack of public confidence in our system of 'electoral democracy' by paying for the Court documents that identify some of the inadequacies in their Local Electoral Act 2001, and introducing a 'Fair Trading Act' equivalent for politicians," Ms Bright concluded.

Penny Bright Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group (Auckland) Ph: (09) 846 9825

ATTACHED - OPEN LETTER TO SELECT COMMITTEE

OPEN LETTER FROM THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP TO THE JUSTICE AND ELECTORAL SELECT COMMITTEE:
INQUIRY INTO THE 2001 LOCAL ELECTIONS
15 February 2002

Wendy Proffitt
Clerk of the Committee
Justice and Electoral Committee

Dear Wendy,

On 12 December 2001, you sent a letter to the Water Pressure Group, stating:

“The Justice and Electoral Committee is conducting an inquiry into the 2001 local and health board elections, which took place on 13 October 2001. The committee decided to conduct this inquiry when it considered the Local Electoral Bill earlier this year because of the complexity of the issues involved and the innovative nature of some of the provisions.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

To examine the law and administrative procedures for the conduct of the 2001 local elections, with particular reference to the Local Electoral Act 2001.”

A list of specific issue's the committee has so far identified relating to the conduct of this year's local elections is attached, as well as a list of more general issues. Please feel free to raise and comment on any other issues.”

You also stated by phone, that the Justice and Electoral Committee was very interested in the Court documentation pertaining to and arising from the Water Pressure Group’s Petition of Inquiry into the Auckland Local Body elections, which you wanted as a submission.

WATER PRESSURE GROUP PETITION OF INQUIRY INTO THE AUCKLAND LOCAL BODY ELECTION HAS PROVIDED A VALUABLE ‘QUALITY CONTROL’ CHECK OF THE LOCAL ELECTORAL ACT 2001

The Water Pressure Group is more than happy to provide this Court documentation, because this Petition of Inquiry effectively was a ‘quality control’ check for your new Local Electoral Act 2001.
We believe that this Court documentation will provide a very valuable guide to improving the Local Electoral Act 2001 so that the major deficiencies exposed can be corrected.

(In this letter, the Water Pressure Group is focussing on three key areas of concern. A more detailed submission will be sent before by 19 February 2002.)

SUMMARY:

The three main areas of concern raised by the Water Pressure Group are:

1) HAVE THE PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES OF THE LOCAL ELECTORAL ACT 2001 BEEN MET?
2) DID THE ELECTORAL OFFICER DO HIS JOB?
3) DID AUCKLAND CITIZENS AND RATEPAYERS NOW (ACRN) MISLEAD THE PUBLIC?

1) HAVE THE PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES OF THE LOCAL ELECTORAL ACT 2001 BEEN MET?

One of the areas that your Committee of Inquiry is investigating, is:

“Overall, whether the principles and purposes expressed in sections 3 and 4 of the Act have been met.”
Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 part 4 it states:

“ (1) The principles that this Act is designed to implement are the following:

(a) fair and effective representation for individuals and communities
(b) all qualified persons have a reasonable and equal opportunity to---
(i)cast an informed vote:”

Pg 1
The Water Pressure Group made a complaint on the basis that the election being conducted was not a fair and equal election because the public were not being informed correctly by candidates on policies relating to water services.

We took this complaint to the Electoral Officer, the Auckland District Commander of Police, and the Auckland District Court. Not one of these bodies upheld our complaint.

JUDGE MCELREA - THERE IS NO ‘FAIR TRADING ACT’ FOR POLITICIANS

“[47] Even if there is some confusion in the public mind as to the term "privatisation", it is a very different thing to say that candidates have fraudulently induced electors to vote in a particular way. Even if a candidate took advantage of such confusion, knowing that different interpretations might be put on the meaning of his or her words, I do not see how that can be regarded as any sort of electoral irregularity or misrepresentation. Indeed some might say that it is of the very nature of politics that candidates will promote their policies in this way, unrestrained by any political equivalent of the "misleading or deceptive conduct" provisions of the Fair Trading Act relating to commerce.

[48] I do not suggest that the ACRN candidates have deliberately taken advantage of any such ambiguities but the point to be made is that even if they had, it could not be regarded as an electoral offence or irregularity.

“The Courts are not an appropriate guardian of the conscience of political candidates.

[51] Likewise I consider that the sort of matter complained of here is not something that judges should be enquiring into. Even if the candidates had made electoral promises which were inconsistent with loyalty pledges made to their party, that could be relevant in one of two ways. First it might show poor character on the part of the candidates. In that case the remedy is for others to expose the alleged deficiency of the candidate to the public and leave it to the public to make its decision at the ballot box. The second possible relevance might be the likelihood of the candidate breaking his/her electoral promise. However that matter is also one to be judged at the ballot box - at the following election, by which time the voters will have been able to see whether the election promise was broken or not. It should not be judged in advance by a Court.

[52] Evidence was given of a media statement made by Mr Minchin in which he said that politicians should be more accountable and that this petition would encourage politicians to be more honest and deter them from saying one thing and doing another. If Parliament by enacting the Local Electoral Act 2001 had intended to allow courts to preside over such matters as the honesty or integrity of politicians and their political promises, then it would have needed very clear words indeed to achieve that end because it would be inconsistent with the traditional separation of powers between the political process and the judicial process.

[53] Finally in this regard I comment that if the petitioners' approach were to be accepted, the courts would likely be inundated with electoral petitions after elections and the object of certainty as to outcome would be imperilled.”


SOLUTION: MAKE THE PROVISIONS OF THE FAIR TRADING ACT APPLY TO POLITICIANS!

The simple way to plug this loophole, is to make the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1986 apply to politicians.

Add this ‘Fair Trade Act’ equivalent section to the Local Electoral Act 2001.

“Misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair practices

No candidate or elected representative shall engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.”

Offences: (Based on the current provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1986)

“Every candidate or elected representative who contravenes this provision, commits an offence and is liable to a summary conviction----
a) In the case of a candidate or elected representative who stands, or who has been elected on an individual basis
to a fine not exceeding $30,000.
b) In the case of candidates or elected representatives who stand, or have been elected as a member of a political
party or grouping, to a fine not exceeding $100,000.

Any candidate or elected representative convicted of misleading or deceptive conduct to be ineligible to stand again for public office. Any elected representative who is convicted while in office to be dismissed forthwith.”


Pg 2

The purpose of these provisions is to at last make politicians accountable to the public.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – are we not all supposed to be equal under the law?
If ordinary people aren’t allowed to lie to get a job – why should politicians be able to?
Politicians are supposed to be working for us and it’s our money that’s paying them!

2) DID THE ELECTORAL OFFICER CARRY OUT HIS STATUTORY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

In the process of making the complaint about the breach of the above principles of the Act, we believed that the Electoral Officer
failed to carry out his duties in investigating our complaint.

s 131 states

“Every electoral officer, deputy electoral officer, or other electoral official commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $2000, who is guilty of any intentional or reckless act of commission or omission contrary to the provisions of this Act or regulations made under this Act in respect of any election or poll, and for which no other penalty is imposed by this Act or regulations made under this Act.”

(h) The duty to which this breach attaches is s15 which states that:

“An electoral officer is responsible, in accordance with the provisions of this Act and regulations made under this Act, for investigating possible offences and reporting alleged offences to the police.”

In addition s 138 of the Act states that:

“If the electoral officer receives a written complaint that an offence under this Part has been committed; or believes for any other reason that an offence under this part may have been committed, the electoral officer must report that matter to the police together with the results of any enquiries made by the electoral officer that he or she considers appropriate.”

The Electoral Officer proves in a letter to the WPG that he is unfamiliar with his changed duties and responsibilities
under the Local Electoral Act 2001, thus fails to use his statutory powers to commence an investigation into our complaint.

“The Electoral Officer is charged under the Local Electoral Act 2001 to conduct an election following the principles and requirements contained in relevant legislation. The Electoral Officer is not responsible for campaigning by candidates and what may be said or may not be said by candidates on the campaign trail.

As advised to you by telephone on 24 September 2001, if a breach or perceived breach of the legislation occurs, and a complaint has been received, the role of the Electoral officer is simply to forward such a complaint on to the Police for investigation.
The Electoral Officer has no authority to to commence investigations or make any decisions regarding matters that may be contained in a complaint. Such matters are dealt with by the Police and ultimately the judicial system.
From the complaint received from your organisation, it appears that your concerns are not strictly related to the physical conduct of the election but to information made public by certain candidates.

If your organisation believes an offence has been committed under the Local Electoral Act 2001 or the Local Electoral Regulations 2001, please advise the writer that you wish your letter of complaint forwarded to the Police for investigation. If this is not the case, this letter advises that your complaint has been received and held for any future reference."

IN THE NOTES OF EVIDENCE THE ELECTORAL OFFICER, DALE OFSOFSKE ADMITS THAT HE MADE A MISTAKE IN STATING THAT HE HAD NO AUTHORITY TO COMMENCE INVESTIGATIONS .

CROSS EXAMINATION CONTINUES BY MR MINCHIN – BARRISTER FOR THE PETITIONERS
(Pg 36 Notes of Evidence)

“And I suggest with your burden of your work and the newness of the Act that at that period you were not fully conversant with the Act because at point 19 of your statement you had said in a letter that the electoral officer has no authority to commence investigations, that's what you said at that time didn't you? ………………………………………………… Mm.

But you know that now that that is not correct is it?………….…..That is correct yes.”

Pg 3


WHERE IN THE LOCAL ELECTORAL ACT 2001 IS THERE AN ELECTORAL WATCHDOG THAT MAKES SURE
THAT THOSE WHO CONDUCT THE ELECTIONS – FULLY UNDERSTAND THEIR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

The Electoral Officer admitted that he didn’t know that the scope of his statutory powers had changed, thus he made a mistake and failed to investigate our complaint. Yet the Judge not only accepted his mistake (a major mistake in the opinion of the Water Pressure Group) – but effectively rewarded him for it, by awarding costs in his favour!
Why has the Judge awarded costs to the Electoral Officer, who admitted under oath that he made a mistake because he was not aware that his statutory powers had changed?

Questions for the Select Committee:

1) Do the Select Committee agree that costs should have been awarded to the Electoral Officer Dale Ofskofske?
2) Do the Select Committee agree that the awarding of costs against the petitioners were justified?
3) Given that the Electoral officer admitted under oath that he didn’t know that the details of his statutory powers had changed, thus he made a mistake and failed to commence an investigation of our complaint., do the Select Committee believe that he should still be employed as Electoral Officer?
4) Where in your Local Electoral Act 2001 is there any form of electoral watchdog, or quality control check to make sure that those responsible for carrying out elections, know what they’re doing?
5) Who checks that the Electoral officers are fully conversant with their statutory powers, duties and responsibilities?
6) What qualifications /competencies do Electoral Officers need to do their job and who checks them?

We have uncovered another major loophole here in this legislation.

THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP ACTS AS THE ‘PUBLIC WATCHDOG’ AND GETS SLAMMED FOR COSTS.

JUDGE MCELREA’S DECISION ON COSTS:

“[1] The first respondents seek costs on an indemnity basis or something close to it. The second respondent seeks costs on an indemnity basis. The petitioners submit that costs should lie where they fall.

[2] Mr Collinge for the first respondents advised that his clients' costs were approximately $18,000 plus GST (his charges being for 72 hours at $250 per hour) and in addition disbursements of $165 were incurred. Mr Palmer for the second respondent advised that his client's costs amounted to not less than $12,000 plus GST. Between the respondents therefore they seek costs of approximately $30,000 plus GST. The petitioners resist any order for costs.

APPLICATION OF RELEVANT PRINCIPLES

[27] Having regard to all relevant matters the conclusion that I have reached is that the first respondents should be reimbursed for 55% of counsel's fees of $18,000 ($9,900) plus disbursements of $165 plus GST - a total of $11,323.13 - and the second respondent should be reimbursed for half of his legal costs amounting to $6,000 plus GST (a total of $6,750).”

The Water Pressure Group has acted as a public watchdog – we barked – alerted the public, and now we’ve been financially ‘kicked in the guts’.

This is totally unacceptable in what is supposed to be a ‘free and democratic’ society.
How is the public supposed to have any confidence in this system of ‘electoral democracy’?

3) DID AUCKLAND CITIZENS AND RATEPAYERS NOW (ACRN) MISLEAD THE JUDGE?

Judge McElrea’s Decision accepts ACRN’s definition of privatisation.

[40] The question therefore is whether the first respondents or any of them by fraudulent means induced any elector either to vote or refrain from voting, either at all or in a particular way. My conclusion is that the petitioners have not proved any such irregularity. My reasons are as follows:

1. The petition unfairly takes excerpts from the ACRN philosophy and policy principles out of context. The reference to "service provision" being "contracted out as much as possible" is a very general reference, and the policy statement about looking forward to a public-private operating partnership in the long term ("5+ years") is one of five policy principles of which the first two are as follows:
"[i] Pipes and reticulation assets must be publicly owned.
[ii] The existing “LATE Metrowater, should be retained.”
Pg4

[41] The evidence established that Metrowater is a local authority trading enterprise or corporation wholly owned by Auckland City Council. It is therefore in public ownership, and a policy of retaining Metrowater is inconsistent with a policy of privatisation.

2. Likewise an insistence on pipes and reticulation assets being publicly owned is inconsistent with the concept of privatisation at least as it is understood by academics and others who make a study of public sector administration. In this regard I accept the undisputed evidence of Mr Ogilvie who has spent seven years studying public administration, first of all for his MA (Hons) Degree in Political Studies and secondly in his current studies for a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. Mr Ogilvie's evidence was that in such circles the term "privatisation" refers to the sale of assets or a majority interest therein into private ownership. "Privatisation in the New Zealand context means the sale of a controlling interest (typically 100%) in a State or Local Body owned asset to the private sector". He contrasted this with "contracting out", where the private sector contracts to operate or manage for a limited period assets which remain in public ownership. The Papakura water system was said to be an example.

[44] In any event, given that the ACRN candidates were committed to retain "pipes and reticulation assets" in public ownership and to retain Metrowater, I do not see any way in which a statement by Mr Ogilvie that "Auckland Now does not have a privatisation agenda [and] nor does C & R” - or by the candidates signing the election hand bill to the effect that they would "never support privatisation of water and sewerage assets" - can be said to be a misrepresentation, let alone a fraudulent misrepresentation. In short, the allegation that the first respondents pledged to support future privatisation is not proved.

[45] I have considered whether the retention of pipe lines and other reticulation assets but the transfer of management of the water supply system to private ownership might be thought to be "privatisation". Mr Chatfield very properly accepted as an accountant that pipelines and other reticulation equipment are not the only things entitled to be called "assets". They are fixed assets as distinct from intangible assets such as the right to an income stream. However I accept Mr Collinge's submission that even if there was a transfer of such an intangible asset to private enterprise (as in the Papakura example), it is not a permanent alienation of that asset from the public (as it would almost certainly be for a term of years only) and is therefore not a transfer of assets.

[46] At most Mr Minchin was able to argue with some possible credibility that there may be some confusion in the public mind about exactly what privatisation comprises. In the view of Mr Minchin's clients, there are several different types of privatisation, which would include a complete transfer of ownership, or a transfer of management only of sets that remain in public ownership. It was thought that under the guise of this confusion the ACRN candidates may have been secretly supporting something like the so-called "public-private" model to be found at Papakura. In fact this was denied strongly by Mr Hay who said that he did not support such a model and he doubted that the other respondents did either.

DAVID HAY STATES IN COURT THAT HE DOESN’T SUPPORT THE PAPAKURA MODEL AND DOES “NOT BELIEVE THAT THE QUESTION OF A PAPKURA MODEL OR ANY OTHER MODEL WOULD BE DISCUSSED INSIDE 5 YEARS”

What David Hay said in Court: (Pgs 28 – 29 Notes of Evidence)

Under cross-examination by Water Pressure Group Counsel, Barrister Graeme Minchin.

David Hay “ I don't support the Papakura model, I didn't support what Papakura did, and I wouldn't support Auckland City Council doing that.”

And as for your other councillors in your Ward, do you know of their position?
David Hay “It's exactly the same as mine,' as I understand. We covered that at the discussion when we put the handle together and I've question each of them this morning.”

And are they then outside of the ACRN policy which talks about such partnerships, are they exempted or - ?
David Hay “No, they're not outside the policy because, with respect, sir, I think you're stretching what the policy says. The policy says that in 5 years we will look at - and then it carries on - now it's also quite clear that in the loyalty agreement that the loyalty agreement only applies for this term of council, 3 years, which is considerably less than 5 years plus. Also, the loyalty agreement says that if there is a - I don't know the exact words - but the intent is that if there's a local issue that's at odds with our policy we are free to vote according to that - on the base of that local issue. So I have no qualms at all, I debated the person that was on the executive at the time these issues were discussed, that's the Citizens and Rate Payers Now executive and I made my position quite clear and in fact when I signed the loyalty agreement I tagged it and I sent in a covering letter that I did not agree with certain parts of the policy and my nomination was accepted and I was selected.

Pg 5

I imagine, sir, that your nomination would automatically be selected?
David Hay “I don't know.”

But by tagging that, then you saw a conflict between what the policy said and what your - ?
David Hay “No, no, I just have a policy, myself, of being perfectly clear. I don't want to mis-lead anybody, I value my integrity and I wanted to be right up front and tell the combined executive exactly where I stood, in writing. They knew it verbally because I debated it at the executive meetings and it's outside the 3 year term and I personally do not believe that the question of a Papakura model or any other model would be discussed inside 5 years.”

BIRCH REPORT CONFIRMS WATER PRIVATISATION AGENDA OF ACRN.

ACRN’s water privatisation agenda is no longer secret – the Birch Report stated: (Pg 48)

“We suggest that the Council investigate the possibility of using a public private partnership model for both Metrowater and Watercare.”

DAVID HAY HAS A KEY ROLE ON THE BIRCH REPORT REVIEW TEAM

Letter obtained 31 January 2002 from M C Smith, City Secretary , under the Official Information Act.

“RE: PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR METROWATER AND WATERCARE SERVICES -

I write with respect to your letter of 22 January in which you sought all factual information provided by Council staff to the Council Expenditure Review Team The Birch Report") that related to investigating the possibility of public private partnerships for both Metrowater and Watercare.

The factual information provided by Council staff related to the following question asked by the review team:

Has the council considered the use of public/private partnerships to fund some of Metrowater's capex, and, if so, could we see copies of the relevant reports?……………………

The elected members who had particular responsibility for the review were The Mayor, The Deputy Mayor and the Chairman of the Finance and Corporate Business Committee, Councillor Armstrong.”

Acknowledgement from the authors of the Birch Report (Pg 2 of The Birch Report)

“Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the invaluable assistance of a number of people who hel ped in the preparation of this report.
Particular thanks are due to the Mayor., Councillors and Council staff, most notably Bryan Taylor, David Rankin, Robert Nelson and the staff of the Finance and Business Services and Treasury groups.
We also thank our colleagues who provided helpful comments early drafts of the report.

Disclosure statement

Sir William Birch is self-employed consultant and company director. He is a director of Dorchester Pacific, a trustee of M.F.L. Mutual Fund and Superannuation Investment Ltd. is on the Advisory Board of ABN AMRO, and is retained as an adviser by Andersen.
Greg Dwyer is an economic consultant and an Auckland City ratepayer.
Colin Lynch is a Manager with Andersen Corporate Finance.”


AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS PASSED ON PUBLIC-PRIVATE-PARTNERSHIPS FOLLOWING THE BIRCH REPORT – WATER SERVICES NOT EXEMPTED.

“WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2001 OPEN MINUTES SPECIAL FINANCE AND CORPORATE BUSINES COMMITTEE (Pg 36)


Pg 6

BR45. We recommend that the Council:

a. Agree to examine further the principle that private sector participation in appropriate infrastructural projects on a competitive basis is in the interest of ratepayers

b. Direct the Council officers to examine A ustralian and other experience with a view to developing guidelines on competitive private participation infrastructural projects on a competitive basis; and

c) Direct that private sector participation on a competitive basis be examined.for suitable infrastructure projects such as the eastern highway, that ACC may wish to progress.

The Chairman moved:

BX. That the Council confirm its interest in the possibility of some private sector participation in appropriate infrastructural projects as a means of helping ensure the completion of infrastructural projects which might otherwise lack funding sources.

BY. That the Chief Executive provide Council with more information on national and international developments in this area and in particular Australian experiences with a view to helping the Council develop some guidelines on what might be appropriate infrastructural projects that could be considered for a public/private partnership approach and with a view to developing some guidelines on how competitive private sector participation might take place with some of the city's infrastructural projects.

The above motions were CARRIED on voices. Councillor Sefuiva abstained and Councillor Northey voted against the above motions.

GIVEN THE BIRCH REPORT HAS COMPLETELY VINDICATED OUR CONCERNS –
WHY SHOULD THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP HAVE TO PAY ACRN A CENT?

We note that public-private-partnerships for water services have NOT been excluded from the development of these ‘guidelines’.
Neither Deputy Mayor David Hay, or ACRN Councillors Noelene Raffills or Graeme Mulholland made any attempt to exempt water services from the scope of these ‘guidelines’ for future possible public-private-partnerships.

Since the advent of the Birch Report and subsequent resolutions passed by the Auckland City Council, we are truly at a loss to see why we should pay ACRN a red cent.

Deputy Mayor David Hay, stated in Court that that he didn’t agree with the Papakura model for privatisation, and that he believed that this matter would not be discussed at Council in this three year term.
Yet, within one month of this Court case, water privatisation in the form of public-private-partnerships for Metrowater and Watercare was discussed by Auckland City Councillors.

Was the Judge misled as well as the public?

WHY SHOULD THE WATER PRESSURE GROUP FACE COSTS ARISING FROM YOUR INADEQUATE LEGISLATION? YOU WANT OUR COURT DOCUMENTATION? FINE.! $18,073.13 THANKS.

Why should ordinary members of the public, acting in the public interest, be penalised for telling the truth?
We have performed a civic duty, and done you, the Justice and Electoral Select Committee a major service, by taking your Local Electoral Act 2001 through the most stringent ‘quality control’ check of them all – a test case in Court.

These documents, which include the background correspondence and response made to complaints to the Electoral Officer, the Auckland District Commander of Police, the Petition of Inquiry into the Auckland City Local Body election 2001, briefs of evidence from both sides, notes of evidence from court and the Judge’s decisions on both the case and costs – the Water Pressure Group are prepared to make available to you to ‘fine-tune’ and improve your Local Electoral Act 2001.

However, this documentation will cost you $18,073.
That is the amount of costs that have been awarded against us.


Pg 7

As this Government found, unbudgetted, over $830,000,000 to bail out Air New Zealand ( a failed privatisation), the
Water Pressure Group believes that finding a mere $18,073.13 shouldn’t be too difficult.

We believe this $18,073.13 will be a very worthwhile investment in an improved Local Electoral Act 2001.

(Please note that we have not asked for one cent to cover any of the extensive work that we have carried out in the public interest –
on a totally voluntary basis - these Court costs all relate to those of the ‘other side’.)

This is election year. We believe that there will significant numbers of ‘non-voting’ public, who are choosing to exercise their popular will by not participating in the current local ‘electoral democracy’ charade, who, we believe, will be very interested in your response to our request.

Please note that well over half of the voting public are choosing not to participate in this system of ‘electoral democracy’, at local government level. WHY?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21 (3) states:

“ The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

If electors cannot cast an informed vote because the information upon which they are casting their vote and expressing their ‘will’ has been knowingly misrepresented – then how can such elections be ‘genuine’?

Do we need to call for a United Nations inquiry into our current system of ‘electoral democracy’ in New Zealand? Surely not.

On receipt of our Court and other relevant documents, can you please make out your cheque to the Water Pressure Group, and send it to PO Box 19764 Avondale Auckland.

Yours truly

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group (Auckland)

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