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Auckland Council to review council controlled organisations

Three years after their controversial formation, Auckland Council is seizing its first chance to review its council-controlled organisations.

The plan by then local government minister Rodney Hide to use seven council controlled organisations to run core services came under fire as "corportisation" during the supercity merger. Opponents were concerned at the use of unelected officials to run much of the city's services. 

A draft terms of reference has been produced for the review of council-controlled organisations, which includes Auckland Tourism Events Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland Transport (AT), Watercare, Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL), Auckland Council Property Limited (ACPL), Waterfront Auckland and Regional Facilities Auckland.

According to the terms of reference, the structure of Auckland Transport will not be reviewed as this is governed by legislation.

The council says the review is an opportunity to review the current model and determine whether there is a need to change the scope of activities and functions within any of the organisations.

Auckland Council says it wants to complete the review and be ready to implement any outcomes by June 2015.

The role of council-controlled organisations came under fire last year when NBR ONLINE revealed mayor Len Brown had sent a letter to the heads of each organisation, telling them to not to make proposals on the unitary plan separate from the council.

Mr Brown had earlier pledged to review the CCOs by June 2014, saying he wants to make sure ratepayers get value for money from their CCOs.

Initial feedback on the terms of reference from councillors, local board members, CCOs and the Independent Maori Statutory Board found a need to reduce duplication between Auckland Council and CCO activities.

Auckland Council has not confirmed the cost of the review but says it will be completed primarily with internal resources.

The terms of reference of the review says there may be some small pieces of work that will need to be contracted out but this is intended to be minimal and will be resourced from existing budgets.
While the review process will involve councilors, the Independent Maori Statutory Board and local boards, the terms of reference state public consultation will only take place if required.

According to the terms of reference, public consultation will depend on the extent of change agreed on.

Comments and questions
4

The CCO's appear to duplicate many of central government roles. In doing this, we duplicate tax spend on pet projects under the Brown legacy. We also increase the bureaucracy and debt that has to be financed by ratepayers.
It's time ratepayer organisations have seats on these organisations to ensure duplication is minimized, and that their spending is not designed to paint Len Brown in a "favourable" light.

Good idea to have seats on these organisations. One could call it - say - the Association of Consumers and Ratepayers, or ACT, for short.

Why the need for Brown to instruct CCO management to 'tow the party / Brown / UN plan 21 line'?
Another 'chink' in the honesty and integrity of Mr Mayor Brown!! .....transparency??...yeah right! .... democracy?? ...yeah right!!
Auckland does not need this phoney type of leadership.
Brown, you are are joke... take your UN instructions & tell Helen to keep them.

FYI

Your request to speak in public input at the 27 February 2014 Governing Body meeting regarding the Review of Auckland Council CCOs – Terms of Reference has been accepted.

The meeting will commence at 9.30am in the Council Chamber Level 3, 1 The Strand, Takapuna. As you know, the public input section is at the beginning of the meeting and you have been allocated five minutes to speak to the matter. You are requested to adhere to the five minute timeframe and ensure your comments relate specifically to the subject matter agreed to in your request.

Please note that, under Auckland Council Standing Order 3.21.8, the Chairperson has the right to prohibit a member of the public from speaking if the speaker is offensive, being repetitious or vexatious or is otherwise in breach of (these) Standing Orders.

Do not hesitate to contact me if there is any further information you require.

Regards
Elaine Stephenson | Democracy Advisor |
Governance Support I Democracy Services
Ph 09 301 0101 | DDI 373 6328 | Fax 09 301 0100
Auckland Council, Level 14, Civic Building,
1 Greys Ave, Auckland 1142
Democracy Services – Enabling Democracy

Kind regards,

Penny Bright

'Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation' campaigner

Attendee: 2009 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2010 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2013 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Elaine Stephenson wrote:
Good afternoon Penny

Your request to speak in public input at the 27 February 2014 Governing Body meeting regarding the Review of Auckland Council CCOs – Terms of Reference has been accepted.

The meeting will commence at 9.30am in the Council Chamber Level 3, 1 The Strand, Takapuna. As you know, the public input section is at the beginning of the meeting and you have been allocated five minutes to speak to the matter. You are requested to adhere to the five minute timeframe and ensure your comments relate specifically to the subject matter agreed to in your request.

Please note that, under Auckland Council Standing Order 3.21.8, the Chairperson has the right to prohibit a member of the public from speaking if the speaker is offensive, being repetitious or vexatious or is otherwise in breach of (these) Standing Orders.

Do not hesitate to contact me if there is any further information you require.

Regards
Elaine Stephenson | Democracy Advisor |
Governance Support I Democracy Services
Ph 09 301 0101 | DDI 373 6328 | Fax 09 301 0100
Auckland Council, Level 14, Civic Building,
1 Greys Ave, Auckland 1142
Democracy Services – Enabling Democracy
Visit our website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
From: Elaine Stephenson
Sent: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:27 a.m.
To: 'Penny Bright'
Subject: RE: 27 February 2014 Governing Body agenda

Good morning Penny

Confirming that I have received your request to speak in public input at the 27 February 2014 Governing Body meeting on the Review of Auckland Council CCOs – Terms of Reference.

I am progressing this and will respond further once I have received a decision on the request.

Regards

Elaine Stephenson | Democracy Advisor |
Governance Support I Democracy Services
Ph 09 301 0101 | DDI 373 6328 | Fax 09 301 0100
Auckland Council, Level 14, Civic Building,
1 Greys Ave, Auckland 1142
Democracy Services – Enabling Democracy
Visit our website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
From: Penny Bright [mailto:waterpressure@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 24 February 2014 5:42 p.m.
To: Elaine Stephenson; Mayor Len Brown
Cc: audrey.young@nzherald.co.nz; Q&A@tvnz.co.nz; adam.bennett@nzherald.co.nz; Radio NZ newsdesk (External); andrea.vance@fairfaxmedia.co.nz; Bernard.Orsman@nzherald.co.nz; brian.rudman@nzherald.co.nz; bernard.hickey@interest.co.nz; David Fisher; danny@newstalkzb.co.nz; editor@uncensored.co.nz; Edward Rooney; cherie.howie@heraldonsunday.co.nz; john.weekes@hos.co.nz; Fran O'Sullivan; garner@radiolive.co.nz; Hamish Coleman-Ross; Ian Wishart; ian sinclair; icac@icac.nsw.gov.au; Jane Patterson; jared.savage@nzherald.co.nz; khercock@radiolive.co.nz; kerre@newstalkzb.co.nz; kane glass; Lyn.provost@oag.govt.nz; Michael.Field@fairfaxmedia.co.nz; CLEMENT, Michael; Nick Paterson; Lisa Owen; Nicole Bremner; Uesifili Unasa; Venkat Raman; Ling Ling Liang; Wallace Chapman; seanplunket@mediaworks.co.nz; Leighton Smith (External); Councillor Mike Lee; Councillor Cathy Casey; Councillor Christine Fletcher; Councillor Arthur Anae; Councillor Dick Quax; Councillor Cameron Brewer; Councillor Sharon Stewart; Councillor Wayne Walker; Councillor Denise Krum; Councillor Linda Cooper; Councillor Penny Hulse; Councillor Penny Webster; Councillor George Wood; Rob Stock (SUN); Robert; Councillor Calum Penrose; Councillor John Walker; Councillor John Watson; Councillor Bill Cashmore; Councillor Ross Clow; Councillor Alf Filipaina; Stephanie Flores; Amy Maas; RanjaniPonnuchetty@mediaworks.co.nz; THAKUR RANJIT SINGH; Councillor Chris Darby; Vincent Eastwood
Subject: Re: 27 February 2014 Governing Body agenda

24 February 2014

'Open Letter'

To Auckland Mayor Len Brown

I request speaking rights at the upcoming Auckland Council Governing Body to be held on Thursday 27 February 2014:

9.30am
Council Chamber
Takapuna Service Centre
Level 3
1 The Strand
Takapuna

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ContactUs/customer_service_centres/Pages/north.aspx#takapuna

My intended subject matter is on the upcoming CCO review:

http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/

12 Review of Auckland Council CCOs – Terms of Reference (Page 19)
____________________________________________________

Please be reminded of the following:

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/reports/annual_report/Documents/annualreport20122013volume3.pdf

Auckland Council Annual Report 2012/2013
Volume 3 Financial statements (Pg) 6

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1 GENERAL INFORMATION

Auckland Council (‘the council’) is a local authority domiciled in New Zealand and governed by the Local Government Act 2002 (‘LGA 2002’) and the Local Government (Auckland) Act 2009 (‘LGAA 2009’).

The council’s principal address is 1 Greys Avenue, Auckland Central, New Zealand.

The Auckland Council Group (‘the group’) consists of the ultimate parent, the council and its subsidiaries, associates and jointly controlled entities including council-controlled organisations (‘CCOs’).

All subsidiaries and associates are domiciled in New Zealand.

Refer to the investment in other entities note for a list of significant group entities.

The primary objective of the group is to provide services to the Auckland community for social benefit rather than making a financial return.

Accordingly, the council has designated itself and the group as public benefit entities for the purposes of the New Zealand equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards
(‘NZ IFRS’).

The financial statements are for the year ended 30 June 2013 and were authorised for issue by the council’s governing body on 26 September 2013.

The entities listed below are referred to within these financial statements as follows:

............................

Abbreviation

ACIL
ACPL
A T
ATEED
PoAL
RFA
Watercare
AWDA

Entity name

Auckland Airport
Auckland International Airport Limited
Auckland Waterfront Development Agency Limited
Auckland Council Investments Limited
Auckland Transport
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited
Ports of Auckland Limited
Regional Facilities Auckland
Watercare Services Limited
Auckland Council Property Limited
______________________________________

1) If the primary objective of a 'Public Benefit Entity' (PBE) is "is to provide services to the Auckland community for social benefit rather than making a financial return" - then why is the provision of so many of these services contracted out to the private sector, whose main objective IS to 'make a financial return'?

2) How is the 'cost-effectiveness' of the CCO model being assessed, as opposed to 'cutting out the consultants and private contractors' and returning Council services back to direct Council control, with staff directly employed 'in-house'?

(Given that prior to the Auckland Council 'Supercity' amalgamation, there had never been ANY 'cost-benefit' analysis of the CCO model, by ANY of the following bodies:

The Office of the Auditor-General
The Department of Internal Affairs
The Auckland Transition Agency (ATA)
Any of the former eight Councils of the Auckland region
The NZ Treasury

(I know because I asked and have the paperwork to prove this.)

3) How are the statutory requirements of the Public Records Act 2005 being met by all Auckland Council CCOs?

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345729.html

17Requirement to create and maintain records

(1)Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

(2)Every public office must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all public records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act or required by or under another Act.

(3)Every local authority must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all protected records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act.
_________________________________________

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345537.html

local authority—

(a)has the same meaning as in section 5(1) of the Local Government Act 2002; and

(b)includes the following organisations defined in section 5(1) of that Act:

(i)a council-controlled organisation:

(ii)a council-controlled trading organisation:

(iii)a local government organisation
___________________________

4) How much public money is currently being spent on consultants and private contractors across all Auckland Council CCOs, including Watercare Services and Auckland Transport?

5) How much public money is currently being spent on staff directly employed across all Auckland Council CCOs, including Watercare Services and Auckland Transport?

6) How are 'conflicts of interest' being minimised under the CCO model?

7) Where is the publicly-available 'Register of Interests', for all Board members of Auckland Council CCOs, including Watercare Services and Auckland Transport?

8) Where is the publicly-available 'Register of Interests', for all Executive members, and staff (including consultants or contractors) of Auckland Council CCOs, including Watercare Services and Auckland Transport, who are responsible for property and procurement?

9) By what mechanism is it intended for those directly affected by, and paying for CCOs (ie: the public) to be consulted in a meaningful way before
Terms of Reference' for this CCO review are finalised?

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

'Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation' campaigner

Attendee: 2009 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2010 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Conference
Attendee: 2013 Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127