Ministers misinformed by MAF

I have been working on a chronology whereby I am collating documents in my possession.

In doing so I revisited the   questions which were answered in parliament.

I always suspected that the answers to these questions had been provided by Neil Wells himself and now have even more cause to suspect that I was right in view of this document .

With this in mind and having seen more recent communications with MAF asking Wells for advice and guidance I have addressed the questions asked in parliament   to show how the minister was misled by is staff. In Particular Joanna Tuckwell   who stated “I may have forwarded one or two of her very early emails for Mr Wells’ awareness/comment/response…… I do recall sending Mr Wells one draft ministerial response relating to the audit, on which we offered him the opportunity to comment, earlier this year”.

 In view of the documents I have seen it appears to me that MAF was totally out of its depth with regards to anything to do with the animal legislation and relied upon advice from Neil Wells regularly.

Also the persons who were in control of MAF at this time   were the very people who had been working with Neil Wells when he was setting up the concept.

My chronology shows that Wells had connections with may key players including Bob Harvey, Barry O’Neil and David Bayvel.

The latter two played significant roles in the release of information   since 2006; Mr Wells had significant connection with these two for many years and served on various animal welfare committees and such like with them.  There are references in documents such as “accept that any informal discussions we have are off the record and will not be brought back to haunt either of us later”

There are documents which I   had released to me under OIA from MAF with extracts withheld .For some of these documents I had another copy which I had obtained from the Waitakere city  files  and it is only in revisiting theses documents  that  the  extracts  were  identified and the significance of what was removed from the documents  provided to me  was revealed.

I believe that had the issues been mitigated there would have been no reason to have removed the extracts. The removed items state  Items in blue are hyperlinked and open the  documents referred to )

  1. 30 may 2000 uncut  “MAF believes that, as a matter of public policy, it is not appropriate for you to approve a proposal which is contrary to the law.”
  2. 30 may 2000 uncut MAF considers, following advice from Crown Law Office.” that the  proposed funding arrangements between AWINZ and the Waitakere and North Shore City Councils are ultra vires the Local Government Act 1974 resulting in financial arrangements that are such that having regard to the interests of the public AWINZ is not suitable to be declared to be an approved organisation;”.

 

  1. 30 may annexure The WCC obtained a” legal opinion” however this legal opinion was obtained by dog control and not the council and Mr wells appears to have had significant input into this  “ opinion “  The  extract reads  “  MAF also notes that should AWINZ’s application be successful, AWINZ expects to take over the animal control activities and facilities of the WCC. Longer term, AWINZ intends to compete for local authority animal control contracts anywhere in New Zealand but only if the contracts include animal welfare. MAF considers that this strategy is not appropriate given the concerns about the legality of TA funding.”
    1. Crown Law has advised MAF that the Local Government Act does not allow a territorial authority to fund an animal welfare organisation or employ animal welfare inspectors. A territorial authority may employ staff only to perform its functions as set out in that Act and may only spend money on matters expressly or impliedly authorised by statute. Crown Law considers that if Parliament had intended a territorial authority to have an animal welfare role then the power could be expected to be found in the Local Government Act or other legislation. I believe that the opinion given by Crown Council is detailed and persuasive and raises an important matter of public policy. I would need to consider whether I should approve a proposal given that I am advised that to do so would be contrary to the law.12 june Maf copy  and the uncut version showing what MAF  removed when they sent the document to me  12 June Wells copy .
    2. 28 Aug. 2000.pdfMaf state “Whether or not we approve AWINZ should stand on Its own merits ie I am not keen on the Government entering into an agreement under S37T to legitimise something that is not a l ready legit
    3. 8 Sept 2000.pdf.If the  crown were  to enter into an agreement with TA and with AWINZ that  would be recognition  that work was being undertaken on behalf of he crown  should it  come to pass that the TA was held not able to undertake the activity from its funds  the crown would be left with a potential claim against it.”
    4. 13 October 2000.pdf “A definitive resolution of these conflicting legal opinions should be decided in court.  should the minister agree to approve AWINZ or decide fi the risk is too high MAF believes regulatory clarity should be sought to remove any doubt”
    5. A schedule showing all material that has been withheld is available at the link.  It would appear therefore   that what has been withheld is that which will  sort this matter for once and for all .

From what I have uncovered it would appear that Mr Wells has had the benefit of many legal opinions paid for by the public and many opportunities to discuss matters on and off the record with both ministers and MAF staff, he has also been consulted on replies   to ministers and  has acted in general in situations of  conflict of interest, therefore precluding an independent and unbiased investigation into this matter.

One document which MAF withheld is a KPMG legal opinion paid for by the people of Waitakere city through the council dog control section.   This legal opinion was provided after a draft had been sent to Tom Didovich the then manager the draft can be located here

The final version  contains  more detail and information  which  would probably only be within Neil wells knowledge because he was on the select committee, this indicates to me  that he possibly   had significant in put into this pivotal legal opinion which  in essence is his own.

While there are many documents  which were withheld due to the fact that this related to Mr Frittmanns cat,  there are  other very  relevant  documents which  should be considered by the in an independent and thorough review  of the of approval of AWINZ .

I have here with the written answers which were put  to Parliament  and have been responded to I have for each  added my comments and he evidence which impacts on  the  reply.

Questions for written answers.

3013 (2006). Dr Wayne Mapp to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Mar 2006):

What investigations did the Minister undertake before approving the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (Inc) as an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

The Minister at the time, through his officials at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, undertook detailed investigations before declaring the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand to be an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. This included consultation with the Department of Internal Affairs, Treasury and the Crown Law Office.

My comment:

While extensive  legal  opinions were  sought as  to  the ability  of AWINZ to provide  animal welfare services for council , Crown Law office  said that it was  not legal  for this to occur, however Neil Wells obtained  two legal opinions  circumventing the   council lawyers  and   apparently had significant in put into these opinions especially the latter which was the only opinion  to persuade the minister that it  was legal.

There were however  no  investigations as to  the existence  and operations of AWINZ  itself.

Crown law office  MAF and treasury  opposed the application .

It was a legal opinion  obtained by the council (Kensington Swan final version)  into  which  Neil Wells  appears to have had  an input,  which   was used to persuade  MAF  to allow the  document  to go forward to  caucus. This happened after Mr Wells had met with the then president of the  Labour party his colleague and  Mayor  Bob Harvey.

My evidence is:

The legal opinions are as follows

  1. 24 march 2000. Wells writes to MAF “while that could have been answered immediately by the council legal section , council decided to obtain  independent legal opinion from  Kensington Swann that opinion has  now come to hand this week and  confirms  the  previous legal opinion  sent to MAF policy in past years ” “Waitakere City are awaiting your directions as to where the Kensington Swann letter should be sent.”
    1. The reality was that Waitakere city was not involved in this request and the  council lawyers  were being circumvented,  , the request was made by Didovich  at  Wells Direction.
  2. The Crown Law opinion which was obtained  supplied to Neil Wells via Didovich
  3. Kensington Swan Draft  can be located here
  4. Kensington Swan final version   which  successfully over turns the  intent of the legislation  that is should not be used for animal welfare though councils.  Wells had written and advised on the Legislation for   which he had written the business plan many years before and had set the precedent by setting up  the pilot programme

Connections  Bob Harvey and Wells

  1. Bob Harvey   owned Mac Harman Ayer  advertising  1962-1992 Harvey CV
  2. Neil Wells was general manger there Neil Wells C.V.
  3. Bob Harvey in welcoming Wells to Waitakere stated “Neil is an old colleague of mine from advertising days and takes over from Tom Didovich.”appointment  wells.pdf
  4. 4.     Wells briefed Harvey when MAF objected to AWINZ becoming approved   Harvey briefed.pdf
  5. 5.     a paper was prepared for caucus  which wells  had had the ability  to have input into  commentary-from-Wells-on-caucus-papers.pdf

The applications are considered by caucus and the minister approves the application despite the following comments   most of which were  removed from  documents released under OIA

  1. MAF believes that, as a matter of public policy, it is not appropriate for you to approve a proposal which is contrary to the law.  30 may 2000 uncut
  2. MAF considers, following advice from Crown Law Office. that the  proposed funding arrangements between AWINZ and the Waitakere and North Shore City Councils are ultra vires the Local Government Act 1974.resulting in financial arrangements that are such that having regard to the interests of the public AWINZ is not suitable to be declared to be an approved organisation;.  30 may 2000 uncut
  3. The WCC obtained a legal opinion” the legal opinion was obtained by dog control and not the council. Maf also notes that should  AWINZ’s application be successful, AWINZ expects to take over  the animal control activities and facilities of the WCC. Longer term, AWINZ intends to compete  for local authority animal control contracts “anywhere in New Zealand but only if the contracts include animal welfare. MAF considers that this strategy is not appropriate given the concerns about the legality of TA funding.30 may annexure some missing sections
  4. Crown Law has advised MAF that the Local Government Act does not allow a territorial authority to fund an animal welfare organisation or employ animal welfare inspectors. A territorial authority may employ staff only to perform its functions as set out in that Act and may only spend money on matters expressly or impliedly authorised by statute. Crown Law considers that if Parliament had intended a territorial authority to have an animal welfare role then the power could be expected to be found in the Local Government Act or other legislation. I believe that the opinion given by Crown Council is detailed and persuasive and raises an  important matter of public policy. I would need to consider whether I should approve a proposal given that I am advised that to do so would be contrary to the law.12 June MAF copy  and the uncut version showing what MAF  removed when they sent the document to me  12 june wells copy
  5. MAF state “Whether or not we approve AWINZ should stand on Its own merits ie I am not keen on the Government entering into an agreement under S37T to legitimise something that is not a l ready legit “28 Aug. 2000.pdf
  6. ” If the  crown were  to enter into an agreement with TA and with AWINZ that  would be recognition  that work was being undertaken on behalf of he crown  should it  come to pass that the TA was held not able to undertake the activity from its funds  the crown would be left with a potential claim against it.”8 Sept 2000.pdf
  7. A definitive resolution of these conflicting legal opinions should be decided in court.  should the minister agree to approve AWINZ or decide fi the risk is too high MAF believes regulatory clarity should be sought to remove any doubt13 October 2000.pdf
  8. Bayvel to Neeson  ” although Neil has drafted the documents himself  they will need to be closely scrutinised by you and legal  to ensure that the crowns interest are protected12 Dec 2000.pdf
  9. 9.     From treasury : Our overall advice is that you do not send this paper to Cabinet. The paper has not clearly argued what the benefits and costs( economic, social, fiscal) of approving AWINZ are and why these benefits outweigh the costs.treasury.pdf

 

3014 (2006). Dr Wayne Mapp to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Mar 2006):

What procedures did the Minister undertake in approving the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (Inc) as an  approved organisation pursuant to section 121 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

On receiving an application for the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand to be declared an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, the then Minister of Agriculture considered the application, took advice from his officials at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and from the Crown Law Office, and consulted with his colleagues, the Minister of Local Government, the Department of Internal Affairs, Treasury and Cabinet.

My comment:

No consideration was ever given to the effect of incorporation, as shown in  3013 above , the minister acted against the advice of his advisors.

Despite the INC being shown behind AWINZ name , AWINZ was never incorporated under any legislation  and  has not been dealt with   in  the appropriate legal manner for a trading name.

 

3015 (2006). Dr Wayne Mapp to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Mar 2006):

What procedures does the Ministry have in place to determine whether an organisation shall remain an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

Section 123 of the Animal welfare Act 1999 permits the Minister of Agriculture to revoke the declaration of an organisation as an approved organisation under the Act, if he or she is satisfied that the organisation no longer meets the criteria for an approved organisation or has failed to comply with any condition relating to the establishment of performance and/or technical standards for its inspectors and auxiliary officers. There are two approved organisations in New Zealand, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand. Both have established performance and technical standards as required by the Minister, and operate under a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). MAF audits both organisations annually, to ensure their continued compliance with the provisions of the relevant memorandum of understanding, adherence to the performance and technical standards for inspectors and auxiliary officers, and compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

My comment: the MAF Audit of 2008  records .

  1. Since the MOU was signed in 2003 , AWINZ has not been providing the two  annual reports to MAF as required by section 17 and 22 of the MOU . this was  an issue  identified in  the previous 2006 audit  and continues to be an area of concern
  2. Only  one of the bi annual meeting s  has taken place
  3. The MOU which should be reviewed annually had not been reviewed… ( it should be noted that Animal welfare institute of new Zealand is just a name and cannot enter into a MOU as  its not defined as to who it is. )
    1. Inspectors are not being formally notified of amendments to AWA
    2. The current AWINZ Administrative and Operating Procedures, for Animal Welfare had not been approved by MAF

With regards to the RNZSPCA MAF does not check out each individual organisation it treats all of the societies (nearly 60 of them)   as being one and the same.

The question with regards to AWINZ has to be how could it be held accountable as AWINZ itself had no legal existence.

MAF did not get the required documents from AWINZ in many years and no one considers how you can enter into a MOU with a trading name.

We have a further anomaly that the inspectors, Waitakere city council employees   signed a performance contract with a person called Rochelle dean who is not  associated with AWINZ in  any apparent manner or form. See this response from Minister

 

3016 (2006). Dr Wayne Mapp to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Mar 2006):

How many, if any, animal welfare officers/inspectors has the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (Inc) approved?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

Inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 are appointed by the Minister of Agriculture: auxiliary officers are appointed by the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Seventeen inspectors recommended by the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand have been appointed by the Minister under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Ten of these appointments are current. There are no auxiliary officers appointed under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 on the recommendation of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand.

MY comment:  

Each and every inspector was an employee of council  under a contract which Mr Wells had  effectively with himself   MOU waitakere.pdf  (Wells  took over the  position  and responsibilities of  Tom Didovich there by   now  being both parties to this MOU. )

The AWINZ inspectors are recorded as being council employees final draft audit 2008

Page 2  it was at times  difficult during the audit  to distinguish where the structure  of AWINZ finished  and where WCC began  hence it was  at times difficult  to separate the AWINZ organisation  from that of WCC. For example AWINZ inspectors are not employed by AWINZ but are all employees of WCC

page 9   all personnel  ( including the AWINZ  inspectors ) based at the WCC animal accommodation  facility (48 the concourse ) are employees of WCC It must be noted that AWINZ does not have any employees as such , apart from when they contract to the film industry  to monitor AW issues, this did  lead to some confusion regarding he demarcation between the two organisations . Page 10 Since 2003 no written report has been provided to MAF ,

Page 13 AWINZ inspectors use WCC database.

Page 14 the inspectors vehicle was inspected. This would have been a council owed vehicle.

Page 18 Location of audit WCC animal accommodation   the concourse

 

7723 (2007). Rodney Hide to the Minister of Agriculture (07 May 2007):

Was any verification undertaken to determine whether the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand was a bona fide organisation with a proper legal structure and accountability before Barry O’Neil, Group Director, of the Biosecurity Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr Neil Wells, signing as a Trustee of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand, on 4 December 2003; if so, what was the result; if not, why not?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

The Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand is an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Before the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand was declared to be an approved organisation under the Act, its application was carefully considered in relation to the relevant statutory criteria. These include, inter alia, the accountability arrangements, financial arrangements and management of the organisation. There was no statutory requirement that these matters be re-considered for the purposes of signature of the Memorandum of Understanding, which defines the requirements to be met by the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand in the selection and appointment of, and other matters relating to, Inspectors and Auxiliary Officers appointment under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.

My comment:

Acceptance as an approved organisation   does not   give any one body corporate status.

The information which I have shown that Mr Wells was the only person acting for “AWINZ “   an apparently everything he said was accepted without verification, he gave a number of assurances that AWINZ existed these are

  1. 28 January 2000  MAF requests could you please provide documentary evidence confirming that the Trust has been legally registered under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.17 March 2000 Wells responds and asks for the registration criteria to be reconsidered. He concludes by stating AWINZ can produce evidence that the trust is in being by providing a signed copy of the trust deed and will give an undertaking that it will be registered with the Ministry of Commerce.
  2. 25 March 2000  Wells writes to minister and   advises him that a signed copy of the deed will follow  -claims that the original is being submitted to Ministry of Commerce for registration as a charitable trust in accordance with clause 20 (a) of the Deed
    1. – originals are never sent certified copies are
    2. b.    There is no section 20 in the deed. trust deed.pdf
    3. In 1998 Wells put a proposal to the council for a trust called the national animal welfare trust  this trust was registered by him in 1999 as was another trust called the ark angel trust.  This registration process that he knew the process and if AWINZ had existed by way of trust deed on 22 November when the application was made it would have been well registered by Christmas.
    4. The evidence from the chronology appears to be that MAF was out of their depth with the legislation as they continually asked Wells for advice on it. The advice given appears to have been self-serving and in giving this evidence Wells was  very much  acting in a situation of  gross conflict of interest.

 

9240 (2007). Rodney Hide to the Minister of Agriculture (31 May 2007):

Further to the answer to question for written answer 07723 (2007), was a copy of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand’s (AWINZ) trust deed received by the Minister, and was incorporation of the trust confirmed prior to the Trust becoming an approved Organisation under Section 121 Animal Welfare Act; if not, why not?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

A draft deed of trust was submitted as part of the application by the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (AWINZ) to become an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. Incorporation of a trust is not a requirement under the Act.

Prior to declaring AWINZ to be an approved organisation for the purposes of the Act, the Minister received detailed advice on the application from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and confirmation that the relevant statutory criteria were satisfied.

My comment:

If there was relevant statutory criteria considered in the application, it certainly was not with regard to the registration of a trust.

Mr Wells gave assurances of registration and therefore the consideration that the trust was not registered was not questioned, nor was the   fact that a trust existed or not considered. No one else was spoken to in the process. No one determined if the persons who were to be this law enforcement authority were fit and proper persons and if they were actually real persons and willing to take on such responsibility.

A draft trust deed is a valueless bit of paper it has not been accepted by any one and is therefore not a trust deed.

MAF eventually ( 2006 after I had raised the issue ) received a copy of a trust deed  this however was different to the   draft examined and different to the copy which I had been sent

Incorporation of a trust may not be necessary for the legislation but you still have to know who the legal persons are you are dealing with and if they  give consent to being responsible for  the law enforcement venture.

 

9241 (2007). Rodney Hide to the Minister of Agriculture (31 May 2007):

Further to the answer to question for written answer 07723(2007), was the Minister aware of the unincorporated status of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand, before approving it as an approved organisation; if so, were the implications of an unincorporated trust becoming an approved organisation considered with regards to section 122 (1) b, c and d of the Animal Welfare Act; and why was it considered appropriate for an unincorporated trust to be an approved organisation.

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

As advised in the answer to written question no. 09240 (2007), incorporation of a trust is not required for a declaration of approved organisation status to be made under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. A draft deed of trust was submitted as part of the application by the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (AWINZ) to become an approved organisation under the Act. The proposed structure of AWINZ was included in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s consideration of whether the criteria in section 122(1) (b), (c) and (d) of the Act were satisfied, prior to advice being given to the Minister that the declaration of approved organisation status should be made.

My comment:

 It may be correct that incorporation is not necessary but it would have been essential for a signed trust deed to have been presented with the application and all those who were named as trustees to give their consent in the application.

The name of the organisation making the application in that case would be the full names of all of the trustees as trustees in the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand.

For legal reasons and perpetuity, an unincorporated trust would probably not be an ideal format for a law enforcement authority and I note that there was never a legal opinion on that aspect.  This is probably due to the fact that Mr Wells gave repeated assurances of registration even telling the minister that the deed had been sent for registration. 25 March 2000

In light of two trust deed having been presented in court and   evidence being sworn in affidavits

  1. a.     affidavits supplied may 2007 didovich.pdf
  2. Graeme Coutts affidavit 31 .pdf
  3. affidavits supplied may 2007 wells

and that we also now have  two trust deeds  allegedly dated the same date but the MAF one  is not  signed on  every page and differs from the copy sent to me.

  1.  trust deed MAF version which was different to  both the deed MAF  considered  as part of the application
  2.  And the deed which I had been given a copy of. trust deed

We therefore have to question what truth is and what is deception?

If there had been only one trust deed the statement to the minister in saying that the original is not available could be acceptable (except that certified copies are sent).

But in view of there being two deeds you have to wonder why didn’t Wells just send a copy of the other original?

And then why were both copies missing   when the   so called trust met in  2006    and why was it referred to as being a  singular deed   when they knew there were two?

And how do you appoint a trustee when the deed is missing how the trustee would know what the rules of the trust are?

 

19741 (2007). Rodney Hide to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Nov 2007)

Further to the answer to question for written answer 9241 (2007), did the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in consideration of the structure of the trust, verify the claims made by the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand, in its application dated 22 November 1999 to become an approved organisation, that “the institute will be registered under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957” and “A charitable trust has been formed by Deed of Trust … It is being registered under Part II of the Charitable Trust Act 1957”, before advising the Minister that the declaration of approved organisation status should be made; if not, why not?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s (MAF) consideration of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand’s application to become an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 included the question whether the Minister needed to be assured that the trust had indeed been registered as a charitable trust.

MAF concluded that registration of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand under the Charitable Trust Act 1957 would not add anything to the criteria which the Minister must consider under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

My comment: MAF’s own document provided to me show that this statement is wrong and was probably drafted by Mr Wells himself.   

My evidence is:

  1. In the 22 November 1999 application. Neil Wells claims that a trust has been formed by way of trust deed and is in the process of being registered under the charitable trust act.

What registration under that act does is set out in section 13 Effect of incorporation .

MAF accepted an unsigned application from an applicant named the Animal welfare institute of New Zealand.

This applicant did not exist at the time. In effect even if   it was registered later it is like a baby making an application before it is born.

The animal Institute of New Zealand could only have made the application if it had been registered prior to 22 November 1999, which it was not.

Therefore the application was not made by the Animal welfare institute of new Zealand  it was  made  by Mr Wells  , the reason the application was not  signed was that it did not exist.

  1. The minister is quite correct in saying that the animal welfare act does not say that the applicant needs to be incorporated, but in the case of accepting an application from unincorporated persons MAF should have accepted the application from the individuals who together wished to be considered as an organisation.

MAF did not have any dealings or applications from any other persons and therefore no   other individuals were   considered for approved organisation only a fictitious organisation.

This did not happen and as such no other persons are applicants.

  1. A lawyer for MAF  Gets things terribly wrong with regards to incorporation  and this  gives the basis for this statement  . She does not address the  risks   and the   process for dealing with an unincorporated    applicant  who cannot be identified.

19742 (2007). Rodney Hide to the Minister of Agriculture (29 Nov 2007):F

further to the answer to question for written answer 9241 (2007), did the Ministry, in considering the application from the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand to become an approved organisation, determine whether a signed trust deed existed at the time and were they aware of any untrue statements that had been made in the application?

Hon Jim Anderton (Minister of Agriculture) replied:

A draft deed of trust was considered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as part of the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand’s application to become an approved organisation under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. While the application stated that a charitable trust had been formed, the deed of trust included with the application had not been executed. As stated in the answer to written question no. 9240, incorporation of a trust is not required for a declaration of approved organisation status to be made under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

My comment:

The application.Made a number of false statements

The criteria for approved organisation had been published

Under section I21 the information that an application must contain is

  1.  the full name of the applicant:

This was a pseudonym, trading name, undefined as whose name it was, it was not a legal name for a legal person or any group of legal persons.

  1. A contact  address:

A registered office was given;   AWINZ was not registered and therefore did not have a registered office

  1. The area in  which the applicant proposes to operate as an approved organisation and

The intent was stated as nationally, however something which does not exit cannot have intent. A trust can have intent only after meetings and after a quorum has voted on an issue.

  1. Information which will enable the minister to assess whether the organisation meets the criteria set out in section 121.
    1. Evidence of the purpose of the organisation such as rules deed of trust memorandum and articles of association. It must be possible to verify the legal status of the organisation including a clear statement that its principle purpose is to promote animal welfare.

The organisation did not exist and could not be verified as the evidence is overwhelmingly that the application made on 22 November 1999 predated the existence of a trust deed.

The trustees didn’t even meet   and did not meet to sign the deed and probably did not meet until 10 may 2006 when the trust deed was missing.

  1. Evidence of a quality management  system together  with associated policies and procedures

Wells produced the management system a document   was sufficient.

  1. Procedures for selection of persons to be recommended for appointment as inspectors and auxiliary officers

They had to be council employees .The council paid for the training of the animal welfare officers. Wells provided the training.

  1. Copy of employment contract or other written agreement or arrangement between  the organisation  and inspectors and  auxiliary officers

Agreements were signed with unknown persons  acting as  AWINZ,

  1. The wiliness of the organisation to enter into a memorandum of understanding  with MAF

The MOU was signed but it was not enforceable.

  1. All information  should be clearly written  be comprehendible  and credible

The   application was a piece of fiction, it was not even signed.

 

Section 122 criteria are

Criteria

  • (1) The Minister must, before declaring an organisation to be an approved organisation for the purposes of this Act, be satisfied, by the production to the Minister of suitable evidence, that—
    • (a) the principal purpose of the organisation is to promote the welfare of animals;
      • This is what it said but if his organisation did not exist how this could be a purpose?
    • (b) the accountability arrangements, financial arrangements, and management of the organisation are such that, having regard to the interests of the public, the organisation is suitable to be declared to be an approved organisation; and
      • The public needs to be able to   locate and identify the organisation, this was not possible.
    • (c) the functions and powers of the organisation are not such that the organisation could face a conflict of interest if it were to have both those functions and powers and the functions and powers of an approved organisation; and
      • The organisation could not have a conflict it simply did not exist.
    • (d) the employment contracts or arrangements between the organisation and the organisation’s inspectors and auxiliary officers are such that, having regard to the interests of the public, the organisation is suitable to be declared to be an approved organisation; and
      • The council officers were required to give their council paid time voluntarily  , the time was not theirs to give. Wells explains to MAF  how this was to work  However  council did not  give approval for this  only  Didovich who was later to assist in the cover up  gave this consent.  He was not the employer, he was only a manager.
    • (e) the persons who may be recommended for appointment as inspectors or auxiliary officers—

(i) will have the relevant technical expertise and experience to be able to exercise competently the powers, duties, and functions conferred or imposed on inspectors and auxiliary officers under this Act; and

(ii) Subject to section 126, will be properly answerable to the organisation.

        • No one can be answerable to a non-existent organisation

(2) The Minister may, in making a declaration under section 121, impose, as conditions of the Minister’s approval, conditions relating to the establishment by the organisation of performance standards and technical standards for inspectors and auxiliary officers.

There were further items in the   application which were simply not true, that is the financial statements and the   intent of later taking over the council dog and stock control division.

The intent of the application fits perfectly with the intent of Wells expressed in the   business plan for the territorial animal welfare authority   but the act precluded an individual being an approved organisation.

It would appear that MAF never considered the implications of considering a draft deed.  They  did not receive a signed trust deed until  2006  and they sent me a copy of this trust deed trust deed MAF version which was different to  both the deed they considered and the deed which I had been given a copy of. trust deed

The fact that the deed was unsigned has nothing to do with incorporation, it has everything to do with a trust existing or not. In effect the   application was not made by   any organisation and it generally appears that MAF does not know how trusts are formed, what constitutes a trust and what constitutes a legal person.

The audit and the minutes of the MAF meeting with AWINZ  both show that the intention was for AWINZ to have been registered so as to be a body corporate.

The reality is that in 2006 a cover up occurred to make it appear as though AWINZ had exited all along.

The law enforcement abilities under the act require accountability to the public. How can there be accountability to the public if the law enforcement authority cannot be identified as to being a real or legal person.

The documents for AWINZ were such that no bank would have given them a $5 loan on their lack of existence yet the Government gave   it Law enforcement authority.

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