AstroTurf : making you seek truth from lies

A Ted talk  has been forwarded to us  by a member , it is extremely relevant  it is only 10 minutes long   and a must see

Corruption in New Zealand – Open letter to the minister of Justice

amyadamsGood morning Minister

Last week I made submission to the select committee on the anti corruption and money laundering bill

I note that in the bill we do not define corruption

This makes our anti-corruption initiatives extremely effective as you cannot have something which is not defined.

As such the following are NOT examples of corruption in New Zealand

1. Having a business plan to amalgamate local government duties with those of central government for private pecuniary gain then writing the bill for and advising on legislation to facilitate this
2. Making an application for law enforcement powers under that legislation pretending to be a trust when no trust exists .
3. Deceiving a minister by making false claims so as to get the law enforcement approval
4. Getting law enforcement powers for a fictional body by pretending that it is a legal person when it is not.
5. Operating that Fictional law enforcement body from council premises using the staff vehicle and infrastructure for private pecuniary gain
6. Setting up a pretend trust in 2006 to pretend to be applicant and issuing court action to cover up
7. Deceiving the court through lawyers and denying the defendant a hearing or the right of defence of truth and honest opinion so as to re write history using a court judgement obtained through deceit

Through the journey I have found that we effectively try to Kill off Whistle-blowers , through stress financial hardship and making their life hell on every front as such a simple question of “ why does that law enforcement authority not exist as a legal person ?” has cost me my family , my marriage, nearly 10 years of my life well over $400,000 hard cash and goodness only knows how much in lost earnings.

I took on a lawyer who has since been found by the courts to have been “ incompetent “ he is now suing me because I complained of double billing. I made a complaint about a billing issue 4 years ago , it is still not resolved and instead the lawyer has taken me to court in a series of actions seeking to bankrupt me when he has overcharged me some $28,000.- message- don’t complain about your lawyers double billing – he will sue you and make your life hell .

I am a licenced Private investigator and former long serving police officer , I know a thing or two about fraud and corruption and I know that it is impossible to report fraud and corruption in New Zealand because it damages our clean green image.

I have found the greatest issue to be that lawyers are not held accountable to the rule of law, and crooked lawyers have a licence to use our legislation in the most convoluted manner to cover up fraud and corruption . The law society has conflicting roles of member society and lawyers authority , nothing is going to change until those conflicting roles are separated .

The so called public watchdogs, are under resourced and under staffed by competent personnel and we function be throwing up walls for people to bang their heads up against until they either drop dead or go away.

My matter is well researched, I have a ton of documents, from the government’s own files , No government authority has ever looked at them , they all claim it has been through court and it is therefore settled.

This proves that using the court to conceal fraud and corruption in new Zealand works and makes this even more serious.

I have even gone to the extent of filing a petition for a commission against corruption only to find that Mike Sabin, who was on the wrong side of the law himself , threw it out because my evidence disclosed fraud.

It appears that peoples reputations are paramount, that is their reputations not mine – My crime is to have exposed corruption and I have paid a very high price .
I request that you use my scenario as an investigation into corruption in New Zealand , it proves that it exists at every level and that we would sooner shoot the messenger than deal with the real issue.

Are you the minister who will turn corruption in NZ around ? I hope so for all our sakes
Regards
Grace Haden

Was Mike Sabin’s disposal of the petition for a commission against corruption lawful ?

From: Grace Haden
Sent: Tuesday, 3 February 2015 2:20 p.m.
To: ‘select.committees@parliament.govt.nz’
Cc: ‘jonathan.young@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘lindsay.tisch@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘ian.mckelvie@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘phil.goff@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘Kelvin.Davis@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘david.clendon@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘Mahesh.bindra@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘KanwaljitSingh.Bakshi@parliament.govt.nz'; ‘Andrew Little’
Subject: Petition for a commission against corruption

Good afternoon

Last year Andrew Little presented my petition for a commission against corruption

I am a former police officer and now a private Investigator who has found herself at the fore front of corruption In New Zealand because I believed the spin that NZ was corruption free.

I thought it was the proper thing to do, to draw attention to the fact that a man had written legislation for his own business plan, advised on it at select committee level and then using a false name  applied for the coercive law enforcement powers which he had helped create.

The powers were under the animal welfare act and he claimed that he made an application on behalf of a trust called the Animal welfare Institute of New Zealand(AWINZ ) . The trust was fictional, the minister was misled and no one checked that the Animal welfare institute of New Zealand existed.

In 2006 a lady working at the Waitakere city council dog control unit asked me if I could find out who or what AWINZ was. The council vehicles and the buildings had been rebranded to have the appearance of belonging to AWINZ, the council officers were required to Volunteer their council paid time to AWINZ and prioritize animal welfare over dog control . The prosecutions were performed by the council dog control manager who was one and the same as the person who had written the bill which ultimately became foundation for the law. This was a classic case of public office for private pecuniary gain – which is deemed to be corruption by international standards.

Through my journey with corruption many people have come to me and have told me of the brick walls which they , like me have encountered. The police say they had no time , the SFO say not serious or complex, the ombudsmen took 2 ½ years to get a document then went quite ,the office of the auditor general total ignored it .. IT HAS NEVER BEEN INDEPENDENTLY INVESTIGATED except by the society for promotion of community standards , who confirmed what I had alleged.

In having my petition rejected, I have struck yet another brick wall and again things are done with an appearance of legitimacy but without any real legal foundation and ability.

Mike Sabin rejected the evidence of my petition on the basis of standing order 236 b . this quite clearly states that the evidence is considered to be an irrelevant or unjustified allegation can be expunged. It does not state that all of the evidence can be thrown out and indeed there are various issues raised in my evidence not just that of AWINZ .

236 Irrelevant or unjustified allegations
When a witness gives evidence that contains an allegation that may seriously damage the reputation of a person and the select committee is not satisfied that that evidence is relevant to its proceedings or is satisfied that the evidence creates a risk of harm to that person, which risk exceeds the benefit of the evidence, the committee will give consideration—
(a) to returning any written evidence and requesting that it be resubmitted without the offending material:
(b) to expunging that evidence from any transcript of evidence:
(c) to seeking an order of the House preventing the disclosure of that evidence.

It concerns me that Mike SABIN was so actively involved in the removal of this petition and in light of the events of the last week it is entirely possible that a conflict of interest existed.

Mr SABIN does not state that the allegations are irrelevant or unjustified , and 236 b clearly states “to expunge that evidence from any transcript of evidence “ this does not give open licence to dispose of all of the evidence.

Additionally my evidence does not make it clear that the matter has been” thoroughly investigated” my evidence is that it has never been investigated by the proper authorities .

As a former Police officer Mr Sabin is well versed at writing complaints off but this is a matter before parliament , it needs to be dealt with according to the rules and I do not see that 236(b) can have all the evidence expunged.

Additionally standing Orders have ways of dealing with evidence which could have impact on persons reputation . I have deliberately not named any one however the evidence in support which were obtained from government and council files show who the players are in the game. The Animal welfare institute of New Zealand does not have legal existence hence does not have any legal rights and therefore cannot have a reputation .

It is precisely the use of such fictional personas which makes fraud prevalent in new Zealand , this practice is being condoned and this is exactly why we need a commission against corruption . It is a huge elephant which is being ignored.

I request that the committee review the manner in which this petition has been disposed of and ensure that it was done lawfully if they up hold the decision. I am happy to resubmit eh evidence with names removed if that assists .

Additionally under the OIA I request the names of those who sat on the committee with Mr SABIN and voted on dumping the petition and writing the letter attached above and the minutes pertaining to this .

I will be publishing this letter on www.transparency.net.nz as the public have a right to know .

Regards
Grace Haden
Phone (09) 520 1815
mobile 027 286 8239
visit us at www.transparency.net.nz

Proposed Air Quality Bylaw- Information received from Auckland Council

Last year Auckland council announced a   Proposed Air Quality Bylaw,  this  drew an editorial from the Herald  and concerns from us and others as to where the facts and figures came from.  Bernard Orsman also did a article  entitled “City plan spells end for old flames” and  “Plan to ban open fireplaces affects thousands of homes

the committee is due to meet in  February  on their web site the council provides  the governing body report  and an article about managing Auckland’s air quality .

the questions we asked were

1) All research which has been conducted into this matter – showing location and time frames over which this has been monitored.

Their response :The Herald article mentions the number of households that would be affected by any proposed ban of older wood burners and open fires.The information on total number of households using wood for home heating was taken from the 2013 census. The proportion of wood burners using old wood burners (pre 2005) and open fires was then calculated using information from the 2012 Auckland Council Heating Survey (attached).1. 2012 Auckland Council Home heating survey result   

Our response :in the report the  word assume features 14 times  and “estimate”  64 times , they conducted the survey based on responses and not actual  emission readings . the data was obtained from

 

surveyIn terms of % this is what they surveyed

survey percent

 

 

 

 

 

this is the area they surveyed survey area

Now   just by applying logic   you will find more people in the rural areas using open fires  than in the central city .

In total just over  half a percent  was surveyed   of which 50%  lived outside the isthmus area.

The isthmus area has the greatest population  and  has greater pollution from other sources eg. vehicles

It is of note that there appear to  be  actual measurements and  pollution readings.

 

2) Evidence that the domestic fire places are to blame for deaths in Auckland as implied by Councillor Darby.

Their response :The Herald article also mentioned the number of people affected in Auckland by discharges of fine particulate (or PM10) from domestic home heating information. The number of people affected by PM10 from domestic home heating was taken from the evidence of the health effects of indoor fires as well as all other sources of PM10 emissions can be found in the following the independent report: “Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study 2012 ” this report will also answer questions 6 and 7.

HAPINZ_Update_Vol_1_Summary_Report

Our response : The word assume   appears 31 times  in this document  and Estimate 141 times.

“The authors estimated that air pollution from all sources in New Zealand was responsible for approximately 1,400 premature deaths per year, of which 1,100 premature deaths were attributed to anthropogenic (human-caused) sources” this statement could easily cover  deaths from smoking .There  appears to be no evidence that  wood fires  are responsible for or contribute to these deaths 2.1  discusses these issues along with “sources such as burning coal, oil, wood, petrol and diesel in domestic fires, motor vehicles and industrial processes”

HAPINZ_Update_Vol_2_Technical_Report

Our response : The word assume   appears 34 times  in this document  and Estimate 132 times It appears that this report relates to  NZ generally and not to the specific issues of wood burning in Auckland . Health figures are also  not available for Auckland. Christchurch and Auckland have vastly different  demographics  and the  issues and problems there cannot be applied to Auckland. 

3) Research which shows that fireplaces since 2005 emit less particles than those prior to 2005, please supply details of makes and models.

Their response :The New Zealand Government introduced the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (AQNES) in 2004. The regulation set national standards for air quality and introduced the new design standard for wood burners; they had to meet new emission and efficiency standards from 2005 (discharge less than 1.5gm/kg of particle for each kilogram of wood burnt and have a thermal efficiency of not less than 65 per cent). The AQNES required all models of wood burners sold to be tested to ensure they meet these standards, a list of wood burners that meeting the standards is kept on the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) website. (see attached National Environmental Standards for Air Quality)
Prior to the AQNES there was no national standards for the emission levels or thermal efficiency, however some testing has been carried out on older wood burners. (see attached Real Life Emissions Testing of Pre 1994 Woodburners in New Zealand)

Our response :  So why the 2005  cut off when quite clearly some pre 2005 wood burners are  complaint   why not  place a specification on  types.  11 years passed  between  1994 and 2005  and those  who installed their wood burners  in the early 2000’s  may well have compliant   burners.

4) Comparisons of fine particle pollution in Auckland to other cities, at what height does it occur, how long does it linger or disperse, is our isthmus location an attribute which makes air linger?

Their response :The council does not keep records of air quality monitoring undertaken in other areas of New Zealand. However a summary of all ambient air quality monitoring undertaken in New Zealand can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Whilst other cities in New Zealand such as Christchurch and Rotorua have more incidences of air pollution caused by fine particulates (PM10) the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Air Quality) Regulations 2004 requires all regional councils to meet the limits on the number of exceedances of the PM10 standard as specified in the regulations. Areas such as Christchurch and Rotorua have a higher level of historical exceedances of the PM10 standard and have more time than Auckland to meet the requirements of the regulations.

The monitoring undertaken in Auckland is done using fixed monitoring sites that sample the air close to the ground; they measures the air that people are exposed to and breathe. Exceedances of the PM10 standards in Auckland and other areas occurs during periods of cold and calm weather during winter when the pollution from domestic fires collects under temperature inversions caused by the conditions.

Being particulate matter the time it takes for PM10 to settle out will depend on climatic conditions such as wind speed and direction. On very still evenings it is likely that PM10 will remain near the fires that produce the particulate. Exceedances of the PM10 standard in the last 5 years have been found at monitoring stations in Takapuna, Pakuranga and Khyber Pass.

9. Exceedences to Date Auckland Council 2005-2012.

Our response : the spread sheet actually mentions   how long and why these limits were exceeded  at the time – House fires  etc, the exceedence is minimal considering the circumstances.

5) Consideration to existing usage rights, traditional .. going back to the year dot.

Their response :There are no existing use right for any fire if it causes a health nuisance because of large levels of particulate emissions. The AQNES allows councils to make bylaws that are more stringent than the regulations.

Our response : But why make  by laws when they are not requires and will not have any impact on the problem  you are trying to solve or a problem which does not exist.

6) The dangers of open fire/ firebox pollution as opposed to industrial, vehicle pollution and cigarette smoking.

Their response :The Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study (HAPINZ) (attached) looked at health effects and included a number of New Zealand and overseas studies on health effect from fine particulate. There are a number of studies that have looked at health effects from wood smoke compared to other combustion particles i.e. vehicles, cigarettes smoke etc.
(Air pollution combustion emissions: Characterization of causative agents and mechanisms associated with cancer, reproductive, and cardiovascular effects, Woodsmoke Health Effects: A Review, first published in Inhalation Toxicology 2007)

Our response : But how does this relate to Auckland????

7) Who conducted the research, how was it verified, which standards were applied.

Their response :The HAPINZ report was undertaken on behalf of the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Transport, Ministry for the Environment, NZ Transport Agency and was based on Epidemiology studies similar to that used to determine the effects of cigarette smoke. If you have any question about this study please contact the authors of the HAPINZ report.

The following reports have been used as to support the proposed Air Quality Bylaw. These are also attached to this response for your reference.
2012 Home Heating Survey Results (TR 2013/011), April 2013as above

• Census output – wood use in Auckland 2001 to 2013 stats

 
• Statement of Proposal – Introduction to the Air Quality Bylaw 3. StatementofProposal introduction of the air qua

It would appear from this  docuemtn that the cause of our  pollution is not from domestic   fires, but we guess its easier target the rate payers and residents that the industrial sector.

• Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study – March 2012, volumes 1 and 2.as discussed above

• National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (Update June 2011)4. National Environmental Standards for Air Qualit
this is the statute .  there is no evidence that we  do not  comply with statute . ther is a design standard referd to in  the statute at   (23) , the statute states that these   wood burners should not be installed after  1 September 2005  it does not  say they need to be removed.

• Domestic Fire Emissions 2012: Options for Meeting the National Environmental Standard for PM10. (TR 2013/022)5. domesticfireemissions2012optionsformeetingnatio

this document states  “Domestic fires are a major source of particulate in the Auckland region, contributing to 41 per cent of total annual PM10 emissions and 43 per cent of PM2.5 emissions in 2011 (Auckland Council, 2012a). Levels are even higher during winter, with domestic fires accounting for 70 per cent of daily PM10 and PM2.5 emissions on a typical winter’s day. The annual social cost of health effects associated with domestic fire pollution is estimated at $411 million for the Auckland region ($NZ as at June 2010, Kuschel et al., 2012).”   What we are looking for is the evidence upon which that statement is made.

• Air Quality Domestic Options – Cost Benefit Analysis 2012 (TR 2013/0X29)6. airqualitydomesticoptionscostbenefitanalysis201 the word assumption  appears 24 times in this 44 page document and Estimate  27 time.  there is no  REAL data. There is no analysis of what is in the  air specific to Auckland

Real Life Emissions Testing of Pre 1994 Woodburners in New Zealand this is pre 1994   there is no evidence that wood burners 1994-2005   are non compliant .

• Clean Healthy Air for All New Zealanders: The National Air Quality Compliance Strategy to Meet the PM10 Standard, MfE, 1 August 2011.Download PDF (945 KB) Ministerial document setting he limits for  air pollution, we have  so far not seen any evidence that Auckland exceeds these limits

• Exceedances to data: Auckland Council 2005 – 2012  as discussed above   the excrescences are due to exception circumstances

• Woodsmoke Health Effects: A Review, first published in Inhalation Toxicology 2007 10. Wood Smoke Health Effects A review first publi  this is a document  wEstimate 28 times  there si no REAL  data hich  speaks of the  dangers of air pollution , we do not  dispute that, we  want to  see factual evidence that there is  air polution n Auckland caused by  wood burners.

• Air pollution combustion emissions: Characterization of causative agents and mechanisms associated with cancer, reproductive, and cardiovascular effects 11. Air pollution combustion emissions (health).pd this is a document  which  speaks of the  dangers of air pollution , we do not  dispute that, we  want to  see factual evidence that there is  air polution n Auckland caused by  wood burners.

• ARC – estimation of Domestic Fire Emissions in 2006.12. ARC Estimation_of domestic_woodburner_emission note the word estimate  appears in this 59 page document 138 times.  it even appears an additional time in  the  title The word assume or derivatives there of appears 105 times –   Our question   How factual is a document based on estimates and assumptions ?

User Guide NES Air Quality

ARC_SA_Presentation_GNS_9_May_2008  If this report was an  account it would be thrown  out due to  its data being over 7 years old , the cover photo loos  suspiciously like morning  fog  as opposed to pollution.

Submissions to Auckland Council

Delegation, calculation of penalties and applying penalties to Rates  A dogs Breakfast

By Grace Haden

I ask for these notes and the attachments to be appended to the minutes.

I have been assisting Penny Bright in making sense of her rates demand, this has given me cause to look at the processes involved and the manner in which the penalty regime has been approached. In doing so I have noted a number of issues which require resolution.

Delegation
Serious issues arise with the delegation of the powers under the Rating act

The annual plan in 2013 & 14 both state

Delegation of decision-making
Decisions relating to applying the rates under the rates related policies will be made by council officers.

The legislation Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 however states

132 Delegation
(1) A local authority may delegate the exercise of functions, powers, or duties conferred by this Act on the local authority to—
(a) its chief executive officer; or
(b) any other specified officer of the local authority.
(2) A local authority must not delegate—
(a) the power to delegate; or
(b) a function, power, or duty conferred by subpart 2 of Part 1 or subpart 1 of Part 5.

The question therefore is who ultimately has the delegated powers and who can lawfully make decisions with regards to the rates and consequently the penalty regime.

It is important to resolve the matter of delegation before we consider whether or not rating polices are legal

Applying penalties to Rates

The sequence of events is also crucial
1. The person who holds the delegated powers or powers has to be identified.

a. I have been unsuccessful in getting this information Mr Town responded this morning Rates and their setting is not delegated but is adopted by the Governing Body as required by law. Therefore no staff member has this delegation. However, delegations for different parts of the implementation of the rating system rest with different staff members depending on what is required.

b. It appears to me that what we have in the annual report and what is required by law is not expressed clearly also the act makes it clear that responsibilities can be delegated to A specified officer not “different staff members depending on what is required”

2. A resolution must be made to authorise penalties to be added to rates no later than the date when the local authority sets the rates for the financial year, It follows logically that this resolution must be available to be produced and one would think in this day an age available for public inspection on the internet. And

a. It has to stipulate how the penalty is calculated
b. the date that the penalty is to be added to the amount of the unpaid rates
c. and must not exceed 10% of the unpaid rates.

3. Section 58 sets out the various types of penalties which the council can impose and it would follow that these are the only penalties which can be imposed .

4. This penalty regime MUST be conveyed in the assessment notice.  see  assessment notice 

There is much confusion as to who really holds the responsibilities as to setting the penalty regime and there is also confusion as to the regime itself.

The annual plans all state: The council must use the special consultative procedure set out in the Local Government Act 2002 to adopt and amend the rates related policies.

The act on the other hand is specific in that it states that the policy must be set “By resolution no later than the date when the local authority sets the rates for the financial year “

This implies that this policy must be set or adopted by resolution annually

In the annual plan 2013-2014  states

The council will apply a penalty of 10 per cent of the amount of rates assessed under each instalment in the 2013/2014 financial year that are unpaid after the due date of each instalment. Any penalty will be applied to unpaid rates on the day following the due date of the instalment.

and 2014-2015

The council will apply a penalty of 10 per cent of the amount of rates assessed under each instalment in the 2014/2015 financial year that are unpaid after the due date of each instalment. Any penalty will be applied to unpaid rates on the day following the due date of the instalment.

A further 10 per cent penalty calculated on former years’ rate arrears will be added on the first business day of the new financial year (or five days after the rates resolution is adopted, whichever is the later) and then again six months later.

The words applied to do not necessarily mean that the penalty will become part of the rates and incorporated into the rates. The wording is not specific as to how the rates and penalties are calculated.

Further :The act requires the invoices to show the amount of the penalty on any unpaid rates for the rating unit and the amount of any unpaid rates owing from a previous financial year for the rating unit. The connotation is therefore that the rates and the penalties are two separate amounts and not one.

This brings about the question of whether or not penalties can be applied to penalties, if there is no resolution that penalties are added to the previous year’s rates then the next lot of penalties applied can only be applied to rates and not rates plus penalties.

The next issue which arises is the rates due for the financial year.
The invoices tates Total rates payable for 2014-2015.

Unless the resolutions to set dates for instalments can be shown to have been made legally and with the proper consultation they cannot be enforced.

The invoice shows the sum due for the year but nowhere on the invoice is there a date by which that sum is due .

There an ability to pay a reduced sum in one payment and getting a hefty 1.1% discount if the payment is made by the first instalment date, the other options available are to be penalised or to pay instalments.

Every one paying their rates on time effectively pays a full month prior to the end of the financial year. Nowhere does it state that the full rates are due by that date.

Penalties are not equal

People living in higher priced areas pay higher penalties as can be seen by the two different invoices I have produced. The penalty for late payment in Epsom is $112.70 per quarter and In Kingsland $58.10 per quarter. This is significant and a flat penalty fee should be considered due to the ever increasing property prices.
calculation of penalties
Unlawful penalties
The act allows penalties of up to 10% of the rates to be added, it does not say per annum and this allows the council to continually add 10% the rates at 6 monthly intervals if an amount is a year old. This is in excess 20% and makes loan sharks look good.

While 10 % is legal the e reality is that a penalty in excess of 10% is added.

10 % is being added to the GST inclusive price, this price is already 15% more than the set rate.

While council through legally set penalty regimes can charge up to 10% penalty on rates they have no legal ability to charge 10% penalty on GST.

This also raises the question of the GST which the council then declares to IRD as having been received but that is a matter for you.

Taking Penny’s rate bill for example the rates instalment is $581 of which $75.78 is GST by charging 10% on the GST inclusive sum a further $7.57 of unlawful penalties is charged per quitter.

In the Epsom example the sum is an extra $14.70 per quarter
It would appear that the rates are a dogs breakfast , they are hap hazard and not done according to the legislative requirements.

While Council appear to ignore the law which they have to comply with, they enforce penalties which have been imposed without any legal basis and against the rule of law.

Council is required to act according to section 14 Of the local government act
a) a local authority should—
• (i) conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner;

I have not even been able to get questions answered let alone find relevant documents on the council web sites which would enable me to follow the tail of consultation, delegation, resolutions and implementation.

If this is what happens in the process of collecting rates, then we really do have to wonder about the process of spending them.

I have personal experience of seeing the council allow council officers use council resources infrastructure for self-enrichment. There is a deliberate turning of a blind eye to his while rate payers are seen as a bottomless pit of revenue. Questioning this has cost me  more than $300,000   . we have persons in council on wages of $600,000 per year  what are they being paid for.  I would hope   it is to get this kind of thing  right.

This will also be posted on www.Transparency.net.nz

Grace Haden

Council rates- Is the council delegating authority legally – part 4.

In this  the  final instalment of the Auckland council rates investigation we explore  delegation.

The  Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 states

132 Delegation
  • (1) A local authority may delegate the exercise of functions, powers, or duties conferred by this Act on the local authority to—

    • (a) its chief executive officer; or

    • (b) any other specified officer of the local authority.

    (2) A local authority must not delegate

    • (a) the power to delegate; or

Now lets look at the annual  plan again, it states

Delegation of decision-making

Decisions relating to applying the rates under the rates related policies will be made by council officers.

The question  we  need to explorer here is whether  “council officers.”   is   the same as specified as required by the act.  .

There appears to be no definition for Council officer  in any  legislation

Is the lady on the  front desk  there is a receptionist, she is a council officer  , the guy  who overseas the council car park  he is a council officer , I guess you could say that any council employee is a council officer.

Further the annual plan states  that it is  “Decisions relating to applying the rate”  that is delegated to “Council officers ” but the act is specific that   Council cannot delegate the power to delegate  . So without a specific person  being handed the responsibility  the  delegation is  left  rather wide open . There is only one thing for certain and that is that the responsibility still rests with the governing body .

The slack  wording of the annual   plan   and the lack of specificness brings about  the question whether or not the  penalty regime set  by council is even legal in the remotest sense.

But wait there is more

The rates assessment is  sent out at the  beginning of the financial year and  is a document  which is  produced to comply with section sets out the  details as required by legislation , in this case section 45

So we have gone back to the rates assessment notice  that we have before us   and start ticking off the requirements as set out by the legislation.

Item

(k) the total amount of rates payable on the rating unit for the financial year:

we have already seen that  the total amount payable is  $4510.81 .

But if the payment is  made by instalments and each instalment is one day late  then  the  amount paid by the end of the financial  year  ( paid up  by 28 May 2015  when due date is 30 June  2015 )  will be  $4961.61  , an extra $450.81  under the councils  penalty scheme which is not supported by legislation .

On top of that   the $450.81  includes   a total of $58.80 penalties on GST

(l) whether or not the local authority has a remission policy, a postponement policy, or a rates relief policy for Māori freehold land and, if so, a brief description of the criteria for rates relief under each policy:

There is nothing on  our notice which  refers to this at all .

(l) whether or not the local authority has a remission policy, a postponement policy, or a rates relief policy for Māori freehold land and, if so, a brief description of the criteria for rates relief under each policy:

There is nothing on the rates assessment notice which states when the rates must be paid by , the  installment dates are given but there is no indication that  the payments must be made by those dates  it simply states ” amount payable by “.

(n) if applicable,—

(i) the penalty regime of the local authority; and

(ii) a warning that, if rates are not paid on time, a penalty may be added under that regime:

There is nothing on the rates assessment notice with regards  to penalty regimes   and there are no warnings with regards to failing to pay by any due date .

(o) if an early payment of rates has been made in accordance with a policy adopted under section 56(1),—

(i) the rates paid and any balance remaining to be paid; and

(ii) the amount of any discount allowed for the early payment of the rates; and

(iii) any credit balance remaining after payment of all rates due, adjusted for any discount allowed:

None of the above are shown on the rates assessment notice  .

(p) the right of ratepayers to—

(i) inspect the rating information database and rates records; and

(ii) object to any of the information included in the rating information database and rates records.

There is no mention  of these details either .

The Rates assessment notice  which we have before us  does not comply with the legislation Contents of rates assessment.

Perhaps the  council should  tidy up its act with regard to rates

  1. Have penalties which are fair and reasonable  based on the   ever increasing value  and ever  rising rates   of our homes
  2. Have a rates penalty regime which makes sense and  can be interpreted in the same way by every one reading it.
  3. Apply   Penalties legally and only to the portions  which   penalties can legally be applied to
  4. Live by the law which  council so strictly imposes on the rate Payers.

I would  like  to Acknowledge Penny Bright  . It is because we looked at  the rates bill she had that  these issues have been raised.    Her  penalty bill is now  significantly larger than   her   rates demands . While Auckland council wants to sell her house for effectively $13,000  in   arrears rates and more than  $20,000  in penalties.

Auckland council the time to be open and transparent with your rates  penalty regime is now.

Council rates- How legal are council penalties – part 3.

As if the past two days have not given you enough  to think about,  here is another major issue for council

The  Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 at section 58   provides for the ability to impose penalties

(2) The amount of unpaid rates to which a penalty may be added includes—

 (a) a penalty previously added to unpaid rates under this section; or
(b) additional charges added to unpaid rates under section 132 of the Rating Powers Act 1988; or
(c) rates levied under the Rating Powers Act 1988 that remain unpaid.

Going back to section 57

(1) A local authority may, by resolution, authorise penalties to be added to rates that are not paid by the due date.

(2) A resolution made under subsection (1) must—

 (a) be made not later than the date when the local authority sets the rates for the financial year; and
(b) state—

 (i) how the penalty is calculated; and
(ii) the date that the penalty is to be added to the amount of the unpaid rates.

In the 2014-15  resolution in the annual plan   there is no mention  f penalties being cumulative or added on to the rates  so as to attract penalties on penalties. it simply states .

Penalties on rates not paid by the due date
The council will apply a penalty of 10 per cent of the amount of rates assessed under each instalment in the 2014/2015 financial year that are unpaid after the due date of each instalment. Any penalty will be applied to unpaid rates on the day following the due date of the instalment.

A further 10 per cent penalty calculated on former years’ rate arrears will be added on the first business day of the new financial year (or five days after the rates resolution is adopted, whichever is the later) and then again six months later.

The  resolution is actually quite specific  it states that “A further 10 per cent penalty calculated on former years’ rate arrears” it does not  say including penalties , and rates has not been redefined to mean rates plus penalties.

In going through this exercise we have  come to realize several things.

  1. the rates penalty  policy is not very clear  and the average person   will struggle to sort it out, We did, and we are not even sure if we got it right.
  2. Give it to  half a dozen accountants and we are sure that you will get as many  variants  in calculations
  3. Give it to a dozen lawyers and you will get a dozen interpretations possibly more  depending on case law
  4. The legislation is 12 years old , House prices  in Auckland have gone up  massively  yet council has not reconsidered   its rating penalties either percentage  wise or  in line with the legal provisions. 10%  on or  rates when we paid $1,000 per year is very different to 10%   when you are paying $4,000.
  5. Just because   we allow  the world to buy up Auckland to  get rich quick , launder money, land bank  etc  does not mean that the  residents need to be  bankrupted so that their houses  can be put on the market.
  6. You would  do better going to a loan shark than to  default on rates.
  7. Live alone pensioners based on the   rates demand referred to above  ( receiving live alone  super  of $21,931.52 would  be parting with nearly 25% of their super  to live in the  family  home .  We are being forced out of our homes  by rates and penalties .

It is therefore most important that rates  and penalties are applied in a open transparent democratic manner and above all  Compliant with the law.

Dare I say it .. yes there are other issues.. more tomorrow

 

Auckland Council Rates.. does the law apply to Council as it does to you ? part 2

Yesterday we discussed the ability  for council to   charge penalties on  installments  today we take it a step further – what legal right do they have to charge  penalties on GST which they are collecting for the  government ?   We believe that they don’t have any right to do this at all  below is  how we come to  that.

Taking a rates notice which we have here for example
The rates for the financial year 2014-15 are $4510.81 this has a content of $588.36 GST
The current instalment is $1127 and has a  GST content of  $147

The rates notice states

Pay on time to avoid penalties

“‘ It pays to pay your rates on time, as you will be charged a 10 per cent penalty on any part of your current instalment that is overdue.

You will also be charged a 10 per cent penalty on any part of your rates (and penalties from previous years) that have not been paid by 5 July, and again by 5 January, of the current financial year. Any payments that you make towards your rates will be credited towards the oldest amount due first”

The operative words are  any part of your rates.  The Gst is the GST  portion of your rates. The rates  is what is set and  what the GST is payable on .

The the act states penalties Must not exceed 10%   therefore they can only charge  a penalty of 10% on the rates  being 1127-147, the penalty on the rates to be lawful can only be 10% of $980  being $98 .

By charging penalty of $112.70 they are  charging a penalty rate of greater than 10% (11.5% in this case )  which is   and $14.70 over charge  per instalment  and  not  made lawfully .

This is of course  also subject to   the ability  for council to  charge penalties on   instalments as discussed previously

If council can only charge penalties once the years rates are due  being 30 June 2015  then   by imposing  penalties on rates which are inclusive of  GST  ,they will be collecting a further  $58.80  per year ( presuming that you then pay  just prior to  the 30th June )*

Strangely enough  this  sum is more than  the sum which they  give you for early payment .

Where this really gets tricky  is in compounding penalties on the  Gst  of previous payments/ years .

Then there is also the question is GST Payable on the  penalty  or  is GST Payable only on the rates portion ?

We will put that  to council to work out, they have an obligation to us after all to be open transparent and accountable  and presumably that is why we pay crazy high wages to those at the top so that this  kind of thing does not happen ???

 

*based on  instalments being  29 August 2014,26 November 2014, 26 February 2015,27 May 2015 note that   even by instalments  all rates due are paid a month  early .

Auckland council rates – Are you being ripped off ? Part 1

A leaked drawing of the State House Sculpture by artist Michael Parekowhai.

On the one hand we have a sculpture of a house   now scaled down to cost  a mere $1.5 million, a mere ornament which the council intends to  buy

On the  Other  hand we have a real house , a home  to at least three people  and two cats  worth less than  $700,000.Which the council is going to forcibly sell .

Then there is a rates bill  of  some 13,000 which was not paid  out of protest  to a very  one sided contract where by  Council was not keeping up their end of  the agreement where by they  were to engage in  open transparent and democratically accountable governance.

While the council  are prepared to pay over the top  for  one they are willing to sell the other because  a pittance is owed. Ironically this is exactly why  Penny    withheld her rates.

Penny Bright   withheld her rates  until the books were opened  just as Auckland transport has managed to do  see here

So the  $13,000  in arrears  rates  have attracted over $20,000 in penalties.  this prompted us to have a closer look at  what is going on with our rates  and it appears that Auckland rate payers are held accountable to  rate penalties in a very strict manner , pay a day late on any instalment  and you pay  10% more ,On the other hand  Auckland council  is manipulating the law and   in  other instances  being totally non compliant.

In going through the  law and the  detail we have discovered a number of things   which are worthy of  question , especially when  the houses which we  once bought  for   tens of thousands are now worth hundreds of thousands  and wages have remained static.

Let   us you  through it , this is the way we see it .

The applicable legislation  is  the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 and  the ability to  include  penalties comes from  a two step process  by council .

  1. There needs to be a decision by council , this may  be delegated but has to me made before the rates are set
  2. The decision made must comply with the law  and
    1. Must not exceed 10% of the amount of unpaid rates on the date when the penalty is added
  3. may be of the types of penalties as  set out in  section  58  being
    • a) a penalty on rates assessed in the financial year for which the resolution is made and that are unpaid after the due date for payment (or after a later date if so specified):

    • (b) a further penalty on rates assessed in any financial year and that are unpaid on whichever day is the later of—

      • (i) the first day of the financial year for which the resolution is made; or

      • (ii) 5 working days after the date on which the resolution is made:

    • (c) a further penalty on rates to which a penalty has been added under paragraph (b), if the rates are unpaid 6 months after that penalty was added.

The way  that we interpret this   is that these options are available and are the only legal options available  IF it is  contained in the decision by council.

We went in search of the  decision which  Auckland council had made and found it in the  2014-15  annual Plan Volume 1 – Our Plan for 2014/2015  for ease we have isolated the pages concerned they are found here rates related policies

Penalties on rates not paid by the due date
The council will apply a penalty of 10 per cent of the amount of rates assessed under each instalment in the 2014/2015 financial year that are unpaid after the due date of each instalment. Any penalty will be applied to unpaid rates on the day following the due date of the instalment.

A further 10 per cent penalty calculated on former years’ rate arrears will be added on the first business day of the new financial year (or five days after the rates resolution is adopted, whichever is the later) and then again six months later.

Spot the difference ?

Auckland council  imposes penalties  on each installment where as the act  applies it to the rates assessed in  the  financial year and does not  speak of penalties for parts of rates  .

The rates are set for a financial year in this case being  1 July 2014  to 30 June 2015   in the rate assessment which we have before us is for  $4510.81.

There is an  ability to  pay it  by instalment  ,  or pay the lump sum which gives  a  saving of a whole 1.1% . $4461.18. a saving of a whopping $46.63

Relevant here is Section 24 Due date or dates for payment,  in the interpretation section due date, is defined as : in relation to a rate or part of a rate, means the last day for payment of the rate, or part of the rate, that is set out in the rates assessment

The question has to be   : can “ a penalty on rates assessed in the financial year for which the resolution is made and that are unpaid after the due date for payment” be interpreted to mean a part rate ?

The assessment  notice reads  total rates payable  2014/2015 is $4510.81  to us this means that  by 30 June 2015, $4510.81 needs to  have been paid  being the financial year as   determined by  45 (1) (j).  and most importantly  45 (1) (k)  which states “the total amount of rates payable on the rating unit for the financial year”

while Auckland council asks for  the  payments to be made by four equal installments , the overall obligation is to clear the rates due  in that financial year .

The regime  should be more in line   with retail  being

  1.  the price which is due  on the due date  .. in this case  $4510.81 by 30 June 2015
  2. the  discounted price if paid  in its entirety early, this is usually heavily discounted
  3. The price if paid by installments which should be equal to  or  as an incentive less than the  demanded price

At all times the  right to pay the full  rates demand   by the  30th June  in one payment should  remain an option  as that  way you are  payign your entire rates in the year that it is due.

If you were to  pay it in a lump sum  under the  Auckland council regime , and still be complying with legislation you would  incur  penalties  of $338.10 ( being as stated on the notice  $122.70 per installment ). Compare the  extra  penalties  for being complaint with the law  to  the savings  for paying  early  one gives you a penalty of $33.10 the other a saving of just $46.63 a difference  of   $291.47, so why   is the money in Auckland councils pocket worth more than in yur pocket.. should it not be at least equal ?

more in part 2  the juiciest is yet to come.

Vault Compliance Systems- where is its registered office ?

I have just been alclear watererted  to a post   on Kiwis first  entitled  International Players

The article is  about Suzanne Snively and Victor Cattermole

Susan Snively  of transparency International fame is  the chair person of  Vault compliance systems .

She  works along side  Victor Cattermole sole director and share holder of the company.

Thomas Victor Henry Ronald CATTERMOLE
382 Wairakei Road, Burnside, Christchurch, 8053 , New Zealand

According to Whale Oil Victor Cattermole is one such dodgy ratbag standing for public office. Amongst other things he has been censured by Securities  and Commerce Commissions for running a (likely) ponzi scheme.

Despite this  the company registered to 3/38 Clearwater Drive, Belfast, Christchurch, 8011 , New Zealand   gives its address   on the web site as Level 19, Two International Finance Centre,8 Finance Street,Central, Hong Kong .

This is also the address   for http://suisseinternationalgroup.com/contact/

I personally find that funny as Suzanne used to work for Jarden and co which became credit Suisse.

It would appear that   Clearwater Avenue is a new development on the golf club  Zoodle is the only   site which locates it , we still need to check it out  perhaps Suzanne  can help us out on this one.

It is not clear where  Mr Cattermole, who uses both Victor and Thomas as his first name , lives  as  the company records on 5 August show him using the  address of 25 Northcote Road,Northcote Christchurch 8052 which is the address he used as Thomas Cattermole on the vault shareholder application  form   but  at the same time as Director Thomas victor Henry Ronald Catermole and using the same signature claimed to live at 382 Wairakei Road, Burnside,vault compliance

I find this   all very confusing   Suzanne   do you work from Hong Kong  or do you work from Christchurch.

what is the registered office of   the  company  and who exactly  works  in Hong Kong.

And what about the transparency of  your business partner   what standards  do you have  .. what can we expect?