Media Release: Councillor Cathy Casey                                                                          10 December 2012

AUCKLAND COUNCILLOR CHALLENGES CCO OVER PORTS INFORMATION

Auckland  Councillor Dr Cathy Casey has today asked the Office of the Ombudsman  to review a decision by Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL) to  withhold information from her regarding their involvement with Ports of  Auckland Limited (POAL) during the recent industrial dispute.

Since  13 September, Dr Casey has been trying to get information under the  Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act from ACIL to  throw light on the nature of their governance relationship with POAL.

“I became concerned when I was leaked an email from ACIL CEO Gary Swift to a staff member at POAL which states: “The  last thing we want is political interference. If they sense that ACIL  is not on top of what’s happening they may interfere and it may not go  the way we want.” (attached)

“This  email obviously gives me great cause for concern about the role of ACIL  in the industrial dispute between the Ports of Auckland and the  Maritime Union of New Zealand and suggests that ACIL may not have been  entirely independent on the matter of the dispute.”

“As is my right as a Councillor, I asked Gary Swift, CEO of ACIL for copies all communications between himself, other ACIL Board members and ACIL Chair, Simon Allen,  and  POAL over the previous year on the subject of the industrial dispute. I  am entirely unhappy with their minimal response citing the many reasons  why they are withholding information from me and have asked the Office  of the Ombudsman to review their decision.” Dr Casey says.

“I  am trying to do my job to the best of my ability and access to  information held by this CCO is critical. I restate my concern about  ACIL’s partisan involvement in the dispute. I think it is important I  have all the facts relating to ACIL’s position so they can be held  accountable. In addition, given the cost of this dispute, I would also  be concerned if there was a pre-determined agenda supported by ACIL to  undermine the collective agreement, which has put us in this situation,  and would mean councillors had been misled that ACIL and POAL are trying  to achieve a collective agreement.”

Contact: Dr Cathy Casey 0274 744231

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