“In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards.
Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.”
In 2001 the then minister of Agriculture, Jim Sutton gave approval for the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand to become an approved organisation under the animal welfare act 1999.
Section 122 of the act requires that the minister must be satisfied “by the production to the Minister of suitable evidence” that the “organisation “complied with the criteria as set out in sections 122 (1) (a) – (e).
It has transpired that the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand (AWINZ) had no legal existence, It had no members, structure or existence beyond that of only one man. There was no Organisation, no body of persons had held a meeting or made a decision to make an application for the coercive law enforcement powers.
I have over the years made a number of OIA requests from the MPI and have conclusively established that.
1. The application for approved status for the Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand was fraudulent
a. Mr Neil Wells made the application on behalf of an alleged trust knowing that no trust existed .
b. The statement with regards to the trust having been formed by way of trust deed was false and known to be false by Mr Wells a statement he was to attempt to retrospectively cover up in 2006.
c. The persons named as the alleged trustees had never formally met together as a trust, signed a trust deed, or discussed the application for approved status under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
d. Section 10 of the application, the institute’s compliance with section 122, sought to mislead and deceive the minister as an organisation which does not exist cannot comply with the criteria.
2. The minister relied on MAF advising him with regards to the trust deed, the reality was that there was no trust deed and no signed deed was ever considered or sighted. This ensured that the ministry staff evaluated the application on a worthless and meaningless document which had not been consented or agreed to by any persons.
3. Mr Neil Edward Wells who had appointed himself as Manager (10.4 of the application) was the former Head of the RNZSPCA, in 1996 he wrote a business plan for his own personal ambition to integrate council’s dog and stock control with Animal welfare which was a central government concern. He called the service Territorial animal welfare service .
4. Mr Wells was well connected with the MPI (MAF at the time) and through this and his party connections (Labour) came to write the No 1 Bill for the new animal welfare legislation this bill was written with his personal business aspirations in mind.
5. Mr Wells served as an Independent Specialist Adviser to the Primary Production Select Committee during the consideration stages of the Bills but no record has ever been located of any declaration of his conflict of interest.
6. During 2000 Mr Wells and his associate Tom Didovich provided the minister and the ministry with information which appeared to be legitimate, however neither the minister not the ministry verified
a. The legal status or existence of AWINZ
b. The consent and knowledge of Waitakere council in providing funding, staff resources and infrastructure for the venture.
c. The knowledge and consent for the alleged trustees named on the fraudulent application
7. Records show that the policy advisors for the ministry of Agriculture were opposed to the granting of the application despite having previously assisted Mr Wells. MAF officials had voiced their concerns with regards to Mr Wells’s undeclared conflict of interest.
8. Consent was finally given after the application went to the labour caucus after Neil Wells was able to comment on and amend the caucus papers and allegedly briefed his former work colleague, Bob Harvey who at the time was the president of the labour party and Mayor of Waitakere City Council.
9. In 2006 as a result of an enquiry from a Waitakere dog control officer I established conclusively that
a. There was no legal person by the name of the Animal Welfare institute of New Zealand
b. Neither MAF nor Waitakere council who both contracted to AWINZ held a signed trust deed.
c. The law enforcement authority AWINZ was not identifiable.
10. Despite AWINZ not existing the then Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton did not consider that AWINZ no longer complied with section 122 and did not revoke the approved status, he too was deceived as to the existence of AWINZ due to a group of persons posing as AWINZ and despite lacking evidence claiming to be the law enforcement authority . These persons were Tom Didovich, Neil Wells, Graeme Coutts and Wyn Hoadley. Not one of these persons (other than Wells) had been a party to the application process or consented to it.
11. This deception continued through the next minister’s term off office and David Carter was similarly deceived.
12. In a series Official information act requests I have established that MPI do not know who the legal persons were who represented the law enforcement authority and it would appear from the latest response ,that they did nothing to investigate the consequences of having a fictional law enforcement authority .
I have recently discovered submissions by Mr Wells for the Animal Welfare Amendment Act , curiously he does not mention his involvement with AWINZ at all but in these he points out the seriousness of this situation by pointing out that New Zealand is only one of two countries to have a private law enforcement authority (the other is Australia).
Mr Wells in his submissions states “Legal commentators maintain that the enforcement and prosecution of criminal law (animal welfare offences are crimes) are the responsibility of the state and not private organisations that have no public accountability.”
He goes on to state “There are (in NZ) three types of enforcement and prosecuting authorities — the Police, the Ministry for Primary Industry, and approved organisations. “
And “MPI does not have the resources to be able to deliver national enforcement and prosecution services on its own for all animal welfare complaints and is totally dependent on approved organisations. This creates an enormous risk for government.”
AWINZ was an approved organisation yet it did not exist, no one knew who comprised it, ran it, apart from Mr Wells who was not given law enforcement powers in his own name but obtained it fraudulently in a fictional name and then acted on behalf of that fictional body.
The act, section 122, requires that the Minister must be satisfied – by the production to the Minister of suitable evidence – before declaring an organisation to be an approved organisation for the purposes of the Act.
For the decision of several Ministers to have been lawful evidence must exist which shows
1. Who the legal persons were who applied for the law enforcement powers and
2. The legal basis upon which the ministers granted law enforcement powers to a trading name for person or persons unknown and had belief that there was accountability to the public.
If that evidence does not exist then there is another option and that is that successive ministers were deceived.
If this is the case the government has two options
1. To condone fraudulent applications to the crown for law enforcement authority or
2. Instigate a full ministerial enquiry into the matter and hold all those who played a part in the deception accountable to the full force of the law.
The current Minister, Nathan Guy appears to have distanced himself from this matter despite repeated requests for him to conduct a ministerial enquiry into this deception. Every request I write to him is routinely handed over to the MPI. The MPI do not hold the evidence and quite clearly under the act it is for the minister to be in possession of the suitable evidence which satisfies him, it is therefore clear that if there is any evidence as to the legitimacy of the application of AWINZ and the existence of AWINZ then it must be held by the minister.
If the minister does not hold that information then the minister cannot condone a fraudulent act of this magnitude. It is also not a responsible action just to ignore the issue. (Ignorance of the law is no excuse Crimes act 1961)
Fraud is a crime and obtaining law enforcement powers for one of only two approved organisations is serious, it is even more serious when the law was enforced through this fraud and I have evidence that it was.
I did not intend to be a Whistle blower, I simply raised issues which I believed were in the public interest to raise in what was reported to be the world’s least corrupt country. I asked
1. Why did the minister give law enforcement powers to a fictional organisation
2. Why was the manager of a council dog and stock control unit contracting to himself in a fictional name
Those two questions have devastated my life and that of my family, I have had a total cold shoulder from the government for 8 years now. I have been treated like the villain in a tactic which I now recognise as classic Darvo where the roles of villain and victim are reversed.
I have been persecuted thought the courts on defamation claims for which I was denied a defence of truth and honest opinion, skipped formal proof and went straight to sentencing.
My crime has been to speak the truth and speak up on a matter of serious public corruption, it has been 8 years I have had every bit of spin and every bit of avoidance, it is painfully obvious that no one knows who the law enforcement authority was and there was no accountability to the public.
I should not be the scape goat. If New Zealand wished to strive to be the least corrupt country in the world then it would instigate a full investigation into this matter and see that whistle blowers are compensated as intended by the United Nations convention against corruption.
While New Zealand is still covering up corruption it will never be able to ratify the convention. We cannot continue to pretend that there is no corruption the only way to deal with it is to meet it head on.
I therefore ask for you Mr Key to direct that the minister for MPI conduct a full investigation into this matter together with lawyers versed in criminal law and Trusts.
I am happy to assist I am a former Police Prosecuting Sergeant and am currently a licenced Private investigator, the matter is already well investigated and researched.
Additionally I request financial assistance to relieve the financial hardship which I am experiencing due to having blown the whistle. I would not be in the position that I find myself in today if the government had acted responsibly and relied on evidence rather than hearsay.
I will soon be attending an international anti-corruption conference and hope that I can report that NZ is taking corruption seriously. I will also send a copy of this to the United Nations for their reference and also publish this on www.transparency.net.nz
I see this as a true test of the ethics of our current government.