A crisis of accountability with ACIL and Ports of Auckland

The Maritime Union says there is a crisis in accountability with Auckland assets such as Ports of Auckland.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National President Garry Parsloe says ACIL CEO Gary Swift was effectively burying information about the Ports of Auckland dispute and giving Auckland councillors the brush off.

Labour MP Darien Fenton today joined with Auckland councillors in expressing her serious concern that Auckland ratepayers are not being given the full facts about the amount of public money spent by Council companies during the Ports of Auckland dispute on consultants, advertising, public relations and similar payouts.

Several Auckland councillors yesterday expressed their serious concern and were openly critical about the situation to ACIL CEO Gary Swift at a meeting of Auckland Council’s Performance and Accountability Committee.

This has now resulted in one Councillor seeking information from ACIL with an official information request under LGOMIA.

Despite direct involvement in the dispute, revealed in an email to POAL communications staff, Mr Swift told councillors at yesterday’s meeting he did not have any knowledge of the costs of the dispute and such knowledge was inappropriate at a governance level.

Mr Parsloe says Mr Swift can’t be involved in the dispute when he feels like it, and then not involved the next day.

He says the Ports of Auckland was not the property of the POAL management or board, or the ACIL management or board, but the property of Aucklanders.

“These managers and board members are responsible and accountable to the owners – the people of Auckland – through their elected representatives, who have a right to straight answers and some basic respect.”

While the ACIL Statement of Intent specifically makes it clear they are “accountable for the prudent governance and management” of the investments they hold on behalf of the Auckland Council, there appears to be no mechanism to test that accountability in a crisis situation, says Mr Parsloe.

The Maritime Union supports Ms Fenton’s private members bill, the Local Government (Council Controlled Organisation) Amendment Bill, due to have its first reading next week.

The bill would open ports to official information requests they are currently excluded from.


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