Anticorruptionnz's Blog

20/08/2010

Office of the auditor general is apparently not interested in accountability

Filed under: SPCA / RNZSPCA — anticorruptionnz @ 5:59 am

In  July I requested information   and an investigation into the    structure, accountability of the RNZSPCA      It appears that the office of the auditor general is not interested and won’t even look at it .. such is privatisation  just hand it on to the private sector  and   the OAG   won’t need to worry about accountability.   This is their reply Response from oag re spca I am still awaiting a respnse from  MAF

this is what I  sent  to them

To the Minister of Agriculture the Auditor General   and MAF

The first part is  a request for investigation   by  the minister and the OAG  the latter part a OIA for MAF  they are here in conjunction as both   parts are relevant to all parties. I have hyperlinked   documentation  which I have received from MAF for your reference

I am seriously concerned  with the lack of accountability in the  process of  delegation of law enforcement    and believe this entire process needs to be reviewed for legal accountability  both by the minister and   the office of the auditor general .

I do not believe that any private company in New Zealand would contract out its services   in this manner as  there is  apparently little accountability and  transparency.

A search of international New will reveal issues elsewhere with the administration of the laws  by the SPCA  and in Australia there has been a call to have their powers limited

We are not  talking about contracting just anything we are contracting out  animal welfare services which enables law enforcement   under the act  which in turn will provide   revenue for the  enforcers through prosecution of the public .(  See section 171 of the act )

Therefore the more they prosecute the more revue they will derive from the legislation and so the  SPCA will not be about animal welfare at all but  will become an enforcement unit like the police and councils  except that this body is  private and is not subject to  matter such as the official information act.

What makes it of more concern is that most of the offences require  no intention  ( mens rae)   so the opinion of the  enforcer  is what drives the  prosecution of an animal owner whose only sin has been to have been remiss in the opinion of the enforcer.

With costs  for lawyers on an hourly basis  being  round the $300-500 mark   few will be able to defend  themselves  and  paying the fine and possibly  surrendering their   loved animal  becomes the most economic  measure.   An example of this is a pensioner in the UK who was prosecuted when   they probably needed help .

The RNZSPCA and the SPCA  hold on to their  bequests and  investment funds   and have been known to fight over who has the right to claim the money.  This makes it clear  it is NOT one organisation .  They have been given Money and Donations  to Help animals  .

It is a misconception that  The RNZSPCA is One organisation  each is a society or trust  and exists as an individual legal person.

I  have set out my concerns below  and the matters relating to the official information act request  is for  Mr Sherwin. The reason  I take so much interest in this  is because I once asked a totally innocent question  with regards to the existence of  an approved organisation (AWINZ)   and because it did not exist  and needed to cover up   the writer and advisor for the animal welfare act sued me.  This has cost me not only $100,000  it has potential of costing  me  a further $100,000 and has destroyed my family .This has now gone on  for over 4 years .  I do not believe that anyone else should  suffer what I have   and therefore  request that  MAF and the government ensure that this process of delegating law enforcement to a private organisation  is  fully transparent and  legally   defendable.

Further to my OIA request   dated 26 May and  MAFs reply from 16 July I wish to request further information  again pursuant to the official information act

Point 1 you have supplied me with overview of mafs animal welfare activities Please advise why the select committee was not  given the total number of animal welfare officers   who  have powers under the animal welfare act.

Point 2

  1. Please provide details of whether or not the select committee was advised of the contact   for provision of  animal welfare services to any third parties.
  2. With regards to the  document Agreement for  sale and purchase of  animal welfare services Please provide  copies all  such contracts  which  have been issued for these services to any  party

Point 3-

Point 4.  I had requested the names of all   Inspectors appointed   by the RNZSPCA   its member societies and branches  . I had requested that    each appointee be shown   with the  branch  or  member society  who had  requested that appointment.  That information was refused.

I subsequently asked for   papers which require the withholding of this information and  was advised that it is decided on a case by case  basis.

  1. Please provide all documentation which led to the decision to withhold this information  I this case.
  2. In the event that the above cannot be supplied I request that In the interest of transparency and  as a right of the public to be fairly informed as to which  private  individuals  being non government  employees can enforce the law under this act , I  request that you  please provide a list of all inspectors  recommended for appointment by  any RNZSPCA society or SPCA trust or society and any other  inspector not employed by Government. . I request that this documents   Identifies who the inspector is and which  entity recommended their appointment  and the date of appointment and  the  district to which they are affiliated.

Point 5

  1. Please provide a copy of the certificate of appointment which   the inspectors carry   so that   we know what it looks like  and that  a certificate produced is genuine.
  2. You state that MAF anticipates  that in the vast majority  of cases a description of the background to the complaint would be sufficient  to identify  the  individual  involved, without difficulty.. please provide the research and discussion papers  which led to this statement being made.

Point 6

You say that the information requested  does not exist  yet I have made you aware that AWINZ   did not exist as a legal person  and  is in my opinion based on the evidence I have ,  a sham trust .  If you look at the trust deed  which was supplied to  you in draft form  in 1999  and  an unverified  copy of which was supplied in 2006    you will note that   the deed states that  the trustees are appointed for 3 years only.

This means that the deed signed on 1.3.2000 expired  on 1 March 2003.  I have  evidence  from Mr Coutts trustee and the other two trustees  that they only met in 1998 or 1999 . Therefore   by the time the MOU with MAF was signed in  December 2003 no valid trust existed and Mr Wells, the writer and advisor of the act which he was now using to promote his own business venture ,  could not have signed as trustee  of a nonexistent trust.

Despite this MAF have defended their actions and the  auditor general  simply stated they wouldn’t do anything because I was being sued for defamation . I wish to point out  that  through an over sight  in law   no one has ever proved that what I have said was defamatory, in fact all my statements  have been proved to have been  true. Truth is never defamatory.

You also  state in an audit report that the current trustees of AWINZ (  who  do not have a MOU with  you )   have offered to relinquish their  approved status. One has to ask how they can relinquish something they never had?

It therefore means that  inspectors appointed   on the recommendation of  a nonexistent AWINZ   did not have  any one to  be accountable to  and there is no one  to make a complaint to with regards  these  inspectors.

Please advise if   MAF has at any time  considered  this aspect or given any consideration to

  1. The lack of trust deed
  2. The lack of proof of existence of a trust
  3. The need to  receive and accept only verified information
  4. Seeking verification of existence of a trust  .. even after I brought it to your attention
  5. The validity of any  action of inspectors   recommended for appointment and responsible to AWINZ

Please provide all  documents which relate to    this  aspect

Point 7

There is much confusion in referring to  the RNZSPCA  .

the act refers only to the   ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED section 189

Section 190 of the act refers to “Any incorporated society that is a branch or member of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Incorporated may, through that royal society (in its capacity as an approved organisation) “

I have not yet found any legal document which defines   the branches  or members  or process by which   branches and members  are approved. Nor have I seen any  evidence other than inference that  an organisation is a  member or a branch other than by being referred to a web site.

Through this statement in the act  it is apparent that   the “ royal society “   is ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED  which is one society    with the registration number 218546 other SPCA’s  have gone through  name changes  some  having  gone to  a branch then back to  being a SPCA. There are  branches and    members  which  pre  exist the “ royal society “

The memorandum  of understanding Defines the RNZSPCA   as THE  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED its branches and  member societies

The national  council   is defined as “ the body of elected  members from the branches or member societies who are constitutionally  responsible  for he workings of the RNZSPCA

The national executive  is the administrative body of the  of the RNZSPCA  national council

The performance  and Technical standards defines SPCA as THE  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED an approved organisation  for the purposes of the act.

The national  council   is defined as a body of elected persons who are constitutionally responsible for  the working of the SPCA

The national executive  is the administrative body appointed by  the national executive

The  Agreement sale and purchase of  animal welfare services is between  THE  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED trading as the royal new Zealand SPCA  and its permitted successors and assigns.

However  nothing in the contract indicates  what its “its permitted successors and assigns”  are and these are not defined.

This indicates that there is much confusion as to  who is what and in the absence of further proof the only  organisation empowered to  carry out    work under the contract is between  THE  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED identified  with  unique number 218546

  1. Please supply all correspondence and documentation which show who the  member societies are and who  its branches are and  all documentation  identifying the “its permitted successors and assigns”
  1. Please provide  details as to what  formal structure the” national  council” is ..  is it a trust  is it a group of people    is it a society? Is it identifiable as a legal person or is the national  council   the name of an informal committee?  What is it a committee of   ie which    legal person/ persons ?                       Please provide all documents which you hold which identifies who or what the national council is.
  1. Please provide  documentation  which MAF relied on  in treating the  national council as   a legal or  natural person  capable of   entering into an agreement  such as an MOU.
  1. Please provide  all documents discussion papers which  considered the legal enforceability of  an MOU
    1. When it is signed with a natural person or legal person
    2. When it is signed on behalf of  a trading name or undefined group of persons.

Point 8

It would appear that  your MOU  is inconsistent with the act

I am referring to the  fact that the act specifies that  only  the  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED (with  unique number 218546 )   can  recommend   persons for appointment  and that  member societies  and branches can   recommend through it. Yet the MOU  defines RNZSPCA as being The  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED its branches and   member societies .

There appears   to be  no legal ability for your MOU to be   with   branches and  member societies  as the obligations under the act are with the RNZSPCA  Inc   and   the  individual  societies and members  come below it.

This structure has opened the back door  for   previously declined applicants   for approved status  such as the international  league of horses to simply change  its name and become  “ approved “  by affiliating with the SPCA  , since the role  involves law enforcement this has to be of serious concern .

Please provide all documentation

  1. which  considered the application  of the international league of horses in it application for approved status.
  2. Which identifies the inspectors  which  now makes this organisation an approve organisation in the name of SPCA AUCKLAND HORSE WELFARE AUXILIARY INCORPORATED previously known as INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE PROTECTION OF HORSES (NEW ZEALAND) INCORPORATED previously known as HORSE PROTECTION SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND INCORPORATED unique number 212301
  3. Al correspondence from  the RNZSPCA   Inc  showing that this  organisation is now a member society or  branch

Point 9

You have supplied  a copy of  an agreement for sale and purchase of  animal welfare services between  the crown and  The  ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED.

  1. Please provide any contracts and agreements  which  that society has  with other  societies ,  trusts  ,companies or legal persons for the provision of these services.
  1. Please provide copies of all legal opinions and reports which  MAF has sought  to clarify the  dealings with a number of   incorporated societies who  have  provided no real proof of  belonging to  one umbrella organisation other  than by inference.

You state in your letter (reply from Maf 16 July)  that the RNZSPCA as a whole  is an approved Organisation under section 189 of the act .

I believe that Maf    since day one has never grasped the concept of   legal persons    and the importance of correctly identifying who you deal with   Your statement conflicts with  the act which you administer      at section 189 (1) states

(1)    The organisation known as the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Incorporated is an approved organisation for the purposes of this Act.

That organisation is  Number      218546 Name     THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED   Incorporated   11-SEP-1933

There  are  many other societies   named as branches  and others  names SPCA  which  exist . Please look up the societies web page   and search in the key word search using the words cruelty and animals  you will find that  some 80   societies  come up both  current and historic  .

You will notice also that many of these societies are only run by Robyn Kippenberger  ,  What are the implications of branches being run and administered only by one person.  Each of these “ branches’ is a legal person a society in  their own right. They have assets and should have 15  people .

  1. What  records  does Maf hold on these societies which are  currently only being run by one person , what enquiries has MAF made with the register of societies  to ensure  that this is  a legally   viable option  please provide all documents which have considered the validity of such organisations  which could effectively be employing   inspectors  yet  exist only as a paper society.
  1. For the record I wish you to consider that   these   societies  frequently own land which has been bequeathed to them  , I have had  members of  such defunct  organisations contact me advising me that they have been removed from office  as Mr. Wells   so accurately states in his poster there is money in animals Please  advise  what anti corruption measures the   Ministry has considered by giving such wide scope of power to a group of private  individuals  who  through their contract to   the crown  have unlimited ability to raise funds .
    1. Please further advise what controls  and audit systems MAF has considered for the  income generated though prosecutions  and the ability for such money to be moved sideways into trusts  and be whittled away  through various payment  streams to the  high paid executives.

There are now trusts called SPCA  which have sprung into existence   and it is no longer clear as to which is a member society   or a branch or not affiliated  other than by inference  that  the name  provides membership.

There is also nothing in the public arena  which   shows any affiliation of the various organisations .

We are talking about the  delegation of   law enforcement here and we appear to have no chain  of authority and we  have apparently left it wide open for any organisation  to  call itself SPCA and come under the umbrella   of what is New Zealand’s only private law enforcement   authority.

MAF was similarly   negligent when it approved AWINZ as an approved organisation  when  you were not even in possession of a trust deed. I questioned the existence of that organisation and was sued  because MAF had been incapable of verifying the  organisations existence before sending it to the minister for the  pproval.

Transitional provisions

There appears to be nothing in the act  which  stipulates the duration of the transitional provisions   , as MAF appear to be continuing to use these transitional provisions for  the delegation of animal welfare enforcement they must be aware of the working so f the act.   It would appear from your answer  and action that the transitional    measures are  permanent unless  MAF has an application from  the RNZSPCA INC  to become an approved organisation.

  1. What consideration has Maf given to   treating  each individual  society as an approved organisation   rather  than allowing the RNZSPCA inc   to   continue to appoint which ever  organisation they wish  as a branch or  member . please provide all discussion papers .
  1. Please provide  any documents you have which shows  how the  RNZSPCA can appoint members or take on new branches.
  1. If there have been any other applications for  organisations including  member  societies or branches of the  SPCA  to become approved organisations  please provide these.

Point 10

There is general confusion and blurring of organisations because of the conflict of using   RNZSPCA  and SPCA  and now royal SPCA  , I respectfully request that MAF seeks legal advice from a suitably qualified lawyer on this issue  as   the real names and trading names    appear to become mixed and this does not allow  for proper identification  of the parties.  This would be  akin to identity fraud if it is done  intentionally  .( I am not saying that this is the case ) But  the public have  the right to know which entity they are dealing with and at present that is not  possible.

There is much missing in the   transparency of the RNZSPCA inc and its  branches and  member societies  this is an issue which is of public significance  for accountability reasons and  MAF should ensure that we know at all times  who in the private sector is entitled to enforce the law.  Lack of  transparency breeds corruption

Point 11.

The issue which  I  am trying to clarify is that the delegated authority to   individuals     is done as follows

  1. RNZSPCA inc is  an approved organisation
  2. There are member society and branches  by  inference but there is no documented proof- perhaps a  flow chart may exist which you can supply  to clarify this
  3. These  member societies branches  .. called local SPCAs   are all separate legal persons and have separate  society and  trust registration numbers  -each   can  select candidates for training  and then make recommendations to the  national office  which presumably again by inference  is the approved organisation
  4. The approved organisation   recommends the person to Maf
  5. Maf approves /declines
  6. If approved the inspector is warranted and works  for the member society  or branch
  7. By virtue of section 190 (2)  that organisation then becomes an approved organisation  and can retain any  fines from its prosecutions by virtue of section 171

It is  therefore  very lucrative for a society to have  an inspector as the inspector through prosecutions can generate revenue especially now that the penalties have been increased.

It is therefore  essential that the   all steps in the delegation process and all legal names are transparent and accurate.

It is my concern that MAF  have  not  properly considered the implications of the contracts  between parties  and the ability to expand  the branches and  member societies without  consultation with  Government.

The  MOU  dated 16 march 2006  claiming to be  between the minister and  THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS INCORPORATED      and branches and member societies  is  signed only  by Barry O’Neill through delegated authority   and Peter Mason  national President.

  1. I  therefore request information pursuant to the official information act so  as to complete the chain of evidence  of  delegation and accountability  with respect to this process  As  mentioned above
  2. I also request any  documents  which may  discuss a limit to the growth of the   number of member societies and  branches and  the limit on numbers of inspectors who may be appointed.

Further with respect to the Memorandum  of Understanding supplied

  1. Point 11 please provide All  discussion documents, reports and correspondence  which considered the implications of delegating law enforcement authority through an unenforceable  document.
  1. Pont 20 & 22  Please advise how many RNZSPCA  inspector applicants have been interviewed by MAF
  1. Point 53  Please advise   whether MAF considered the fact that the RNZSPCA is a private  society and therefore not subject to the official information act   when it directed that an  inspector should advise  a district if they are working outside their jurisdiction.  What consideration  did MAF give to the  availability of information to the public who  may wish to question the jurisdiction of an inspector.  .. Please provide all documents  which discussed this aspect before having it included in the  MOU
  1. Point 66  please provide copies of all newsletters

Further

  1. Please provide all correspondence  to MAF with regards to the new facility being  built at WINTEC  in Hamilton being  built by a  group of persons calling themselves the Waikato Animal Welfare Foundation ( but otherwise unidentifiable as this organisation  does not exist  beyond perhaps a well concealed  private trust deed )  the trustee named Jan Thomson   is on the executive  of the Waikato RNZSPCA  and she is talking about leasing he building back to the Waikato SPCA  which is  exactly the  same organisation which  Jan Thomson  is an executive of.  Some of the money being used is  $4000,000  which  came from  the Waikato RNZSPCA and has been used   to set up the Waikato SPCA trust. .. It is such creativity and lack of transparency which  opens the door to corruption and fraud.   This is preventable  and therefore MAF should take all steps to ensure that  those who they allow to enforce the law  are transparent.
  1. I believe that Unitec secured the training  for  inspectors fate  it had been included as a requirement  in the act. The training was provided  by Mr Wells the author of the bill  who  obtained  employment at Unitec to   facilitate the new legislation. Unitec  won the contract   please provide the names of  all those who tendered for the  supply of this service .
  1. who is the current  training provider   contracted to MAF  and  please advise who the providers were since the act   commenced. Pease supply copies of all these contracts.
  1. I  request all documents  which  relate to any consideration given to changing the  current service provider or to any consideration to implement a new provider  at Wintec to train the new influx  of  animal welfare inspectors.

Lastly

There have been a number of long term  RNZSPCA  & SPCA officers  inspectors and  committees  from various legal entities which are branches or  member societies  that have been laid off . It would appear that there are changes afoot in the running of the SPCA which has brought about the  need to remove the old to make room for the new.    Has Maf  investigated  these changes  and have they been notified   regarding any of these changes. Please provide any   or  all correspondence which  relates to  the   takeover of  administration of branches,  dismissals of inspectors  and  officer in the past 2 years.

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

Regards

Grace Haden

Phone (09) 520 1815
mobile 027 286 8239
visit us at  www.verisure.co.nz

http://transparency.net.nz/

Advertisements

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: