Councillor concerned because ports information being withheld

Press Release – Dr Cathy Casey
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 Chair 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.’

“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, Chair of ACIL for copies all communications between himself, other ACIL Board members and ACIL CEO 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.”

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