Anticorruptionnz's Blog

31/03/2010

official information act request Office of the auditor general

Filed under: corruption,Neil Wells,transparency,waitakere city council — anticorruptionnz @ 3:50 am

Sir

I make this Official information act request   with regards to   those who are involved in   the production of our legislation.  I will illustrate my request with a real example   to substantiate the fact that this is not a hypothetical matter and is very real.

The circumstances

In 1996 a former RNZSPCA director  drew up a concept  to integrate the  statutory provisions of  local bodies, being dog and stock control , with   animal welfare services traditionally provided  by the RNZSPCA. He had already initiated this concept though a pilot programme with Waitakere city council and wished to take the service he called Territorial Authority Animal Welfare Services nation wide.

The document   locatable at the hyperlink above shows that this was clearly a commercial venture.

In the years which followed Neil Wells volunteered to write the no 1 bill for the animal welfare act this was reported in a parliamentary release The next Animal Welfare Act – Pete Hodgson Speech29-06-2001 .

The bill went before the select committee and Neil Wells was employed  as an independent consultant to the select committee.

At this time he was also a  Legal consultant to MAF in relation to the development of the animal welfare act and at the same time was communicating with them with regards to his own personal ambitions .

When the act was finalised and   about to become law Neil Wells applied   for AWINZ ( animal welfare Institute of New Zealand ) to become an approved Organisation under the act he had  been  so heavily involved in.

AWINZ eventually became an approved organisation under the act despite the fact that   it had never been incorporated under  the  charitable trust act  nor  had a trust deed  been sighted  .

In 2006 I had cause to question AWINZ   and it was only then that a trust deed   , which could very easily have been   retrospectively signed, materialised. This was dated 1.3.2000 proving conclusively that the statement in the application to the minister, being that a trust deed existed on 22 11.99 was false.

The reaction for questioning the accountability of the  organisation was over the top  and I was sued by three people who claimed to  be  AWINZ but were not supported by a trust deed and were not the same group of persons who had signed the deed.

This group of persons  then represented themselves to be the  approved organisation and  later were joined by  another  , they subsequently signed a trust deed  and pretended to be  to be the same trust as the first .

I have recently made submissions to the select committee   with regards to   increased penalties  in animal welfare.

In that submission I made reference to the  reality that animal welfare  Inspectors

  1. Do not appear on a publicly available register
  2. Unlike   many other professional persons who  do not have  law enforcement  ability  they  do not have to  apply for a licence annually
  3. are not subjected  to accountability  to a tribunal
  4. Have very little accountability  cf  private investigators, mortgage brokers, real estate agents.

I suggested to the   select committee that this lack of accountability my be due to the fact that the person  who had such a high degree of input  had a vested interest in the act, in that he was  going to use this act as  the foundation of his own  business venture.

My official information act request is

  1. What policy provisions are there to safe guard against the conflict of interest where by a person can be involved in writing legislation which he proposes to use himself.
  1. Has Mr Wells at any time  thought  his involvement of  writing the act, employed as a independent advisor to the select committee ,and as  legal consultant  to MAF declared a conflict of interest, if so please provide copies of these documents if you have access to them  and where would these documents  be   found if they existed.
  1. The animal welfare act has very little accountability for inspectors  who are private individuals  and  have wide sweeping  legislative powers .
  1. Do animal welfare  inspectors have any accountability to the   auditor general because of their delegated authority ?
  1. Where do we find a register of  those warranted as animal welfare inspectors.
  1. Do  council staff  volunteering their paid time   as inspectors  have accountability to the auditor general  through  their  council positions?
  1. i.      If so   and given the fact that   it was considered Ultra Vires for  council to  enforce animal welfare  legislation   what has the  auditor general done   with regards to this conflict in duties.
  1. With regards to government  departments  and local authorities contracting to an unincorporated   Trust  ie a trust  which itself is not  a legal person   but can be a legal person if  it  is  registered  by an enactment which confers  body corporate status.
    1. Please provide all policies that the government has for contracting or entering into agreements with unincorporated trusts.( non body corporates or non legal persons)
  1. When entering into an agreement with unincorporated trust what provisions do policies provide  for one person to sign  on behalf of  others .
  1. What policy is there that enable local or central government to enter into an agreement with a trading name?
  1. What are the expected steps of verification which are laid down for   councils and  government departments to verify that they are entering into an agreement   with a legal  body, i.e.  one capable of suing or being sued.
  1. What policy exists that would allow a person , contracting to   central or local government , to represent themselves as being a trustee if their name does not appear on a deed.
  1. i.      What legal authority does such a person have in terms of  government contracts.
  1. What investigations have been carried out by your department into the legitimacy of
    1. i.      the   MOU of AWINZ to MAF,
    2. ii.      AWINZ to Waitakere city
    3. iii.      And the   legitimacy of AWINZ as a law enforcement  authority for enforcing of animal welfare  legislation.
  1. Please provide copies  of  all reports , research , notes references  and policies  which  have investigated or examined.
    1. The  use of private individuals for law enforcement
    2. The ability of private organisations to  use  law enforcement as a means obtaining funds for charities
    3. The  issues arising  out of organisations  enforcing the  law for their own pecuniary  advantage.
    4. The issues and consequence of accountability of contracting law enforcement to  a  trading name .
    5. Accountability issues of private law enforcement bodies.
    6. Cost benefits analysis of use of private law enforcement bodies.
  1. Further the collection of charitable funds   By a council employee
    1. What policies are in place for a  managers of a city division to use the  logo which is on their building   to collect revenue   by way of   donations from the public they serve  the example I use is the document located at this link which  shows the city  logo  and  the  logo which Waitakere City  animal welfare uses  and is  shown on their building.
  1. Funds which have been raised from the public  have been used for  prosecuting me  in order to silence me  to  prevent me from asking the  questions  which I continue to ask.   Please advise if there is a policy  which deals with the use of public funds by a manager of a city  council  in this  way.
    1. i.       The documents are located at http://www.charities.govt.nz/  search animal welfare institute of New Zealand    the  annual reports show that over the past three years $105,366 of charitable funds  have been used on litigation . The only person  who stands to gain from  this personally is the manager of animal welfare  Waitakere city  who  contracts to himself as a trustee of AWINZ – Please advise of any policies  which facilitate and condone this.
  1. Prosecutions   – Animal welfare prosecutions are carried out  By   Barrister Mr Wells  for  the CEO of AWINZ Mr Wells  who has matters reported to him by the manager of  Waitakere city council  animal welfare  through a  MOU this person is also Mr Wells .  Please advise of any policies  which facilitate this and advise why this is possible .
  1. The  web site of animal welfare Waitakere  City council  has a page for animal welfare http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/cnlser/aw/index.asp#services it states

What we do at Animal Welfare Waitakere?

Animal Welfare Waitakere provides a range of services, all directed at improving welfare standards of the animals in our community, educating the public in a better understanding of animal welfare and of-course finding good suitable homes for those animals less fortunate, abandoned, neglected and unwanted.

We also provide other services such as:

  • Adoptions of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and sometimes even stock
  • Impounding and reuniting lost pets with their owners
  • Dog registration
  • Microchipping for just $20 per dog
  • Enforcement of local and national dog control and animal welfare laws
  • Animal Welfare Officers who are also Inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act
  • A holistic approach to animal welfare at the Animal Welfare Waitakere
  1. Please advise  the policy  and the   process   through  which  this territorial body can undertake    the  duties  described  with regards to  duties other than  the statutory duties of  council being dog and stock control.
  1. Since when have council officers been able to be involved with animal welfare work .
  1. Which other councils  have   dog and stock control officers  who are also animal welfare   inspectors under the  animal welfare Act.
  1. Finally please advise why it is not seen as a conflict of interest for  one person to  wear the  hat of manager, contractor  barrister and banker of   funds  for  the work which council paid staff carry out.  Why does the United nations Convention against corruption define this as a corrupt practice and why is it condoned in New Zealand.

This request  will be posted on https://anticorruptionnz.wordpress.com/

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