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Bill a chance for Ports transparency


Darien
FENTON
Labour Spokesperson
4 April 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Bill a chance for Ports transparency

The Government should have no problem supporting a bill to make ratepayer owned ports accessible under the Official Information Act, says Labour MP Darien Fenton.

“Ratepayers have the right to information surrounding the management and functioning of public assets.

“At the moment, ports are specifically excluded from public information requests under the Local Government Act – a situation that means the ratepayers who own port companies and those who use them have no right to request information about how they are run.

“My members bill - the Local Government (Council Controlled Organisations) Amendment Bill - offers a simple measure to ensure all public-owned entities are held equally accountable,” Darien Fenton said.

The dispute at the Ports of Auckland has highlighted the need for her bill, she said

“The way in which the Ports of Auckland board and management have acted without transparency and accountability has made it very clear there is a need to ensure that these publicly-owned businesses are opened to the same scrutiny every other public institution faces.

“Regardless of what you think of the dispute, or where you sit on the political spectrum, it’s very hard to argue that ports’ ability to spend public money without public scrutiny is acceptable in a modern democracy.

“It’s ridiculous that New Zealanders are able to request information from organisations ranging from schools to public libraries to state owned enterprises and yet we have no way of finding out what is being done with the hundreds of millions of dollars we have tied up in port companies.

“I intend to table this bill in Parliament today and test the government’s support for a simple measure that would provide transparency and accountability in important locally owned assets,” Darien Fenton said.

ends

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