On 9th February 2011, I made the following request under the Local Government Official Information and Management Act.
“Could you please provide all WCC notes, briefings and correspondence which relate to: 1. The reduction of WPL’s shareholding in PWML from 400 to 240 on 16/12/09.
2. The sale of 300 shares HCFMS Ltd (ultimately owned by Coldicutt) to AFSL of which WCC was a shareholder through WPL.
3. The input of the Council to the amendment of the constitution of PWL on 27/1/09 (prior to its name change).
4. The input of Council with regards to the amalgamation of Auckland Film Studios Ltd and PWML.
5.The financial implication for the ratepayers with regards to (a) the change in the constitution (b) the amalgamation (c) the sale of shares
6. The cost benefit analysis conducted by WCC with regards to this investment.
7. With regards to Ron Cherry (Accountants for Tony Tay Film Ltd) what documentation you have that considered the implications on the associated assets held through Ton Tay Film Ltd.
8. PWML and PWL used Kensington Swan as their solicitors. Kensington Swan were also solicitors for the Council. Whose funds paid for rthe solicitors, the Council or the company?
9. A copy of the legislation and the consideration which was given to that legislation which enables the Council to enter into a public/private partnership for a non-core Council business.”
On 3rd March 2011, I rang to find out what stage my request had reached. I was told by Jennifer Lamm, solicitor, there had been a meeting last week but an extension of time would possibly be sought. I was asked if I would like a copy of the information available so far and I indicated I would appreciate that.
On 6th March 2011, I received the following email from Wendy Branson, General Counsel, Auckland Council.
“I have asked the LGOIMA team to advise an extension to this request if that has not already been done. It requires substantial collation and research and we have had to engage a contractor who is familiar with the documentation to locate it and compile it for your request.”
I rang to speak to Wendy but as she was unavailable so I spoke to Jennifer Lamm who informed me Bruce Thomas was in charge of the request. I rang Bruce but he was unable to tell me if an extension request had gone out.
At 4.12 pm I received an email from Sharlene Riley, Information Advisor, enclosing a letter from Gary Swift, CEO Auckland Council Investments Limited advising me “Under section 14(1)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, (LGOIMA) Auckland Council Investments Limited is extending the time limit for responding to your request. We will reply to your request by 18 March 2011.”
I had earlier that day pointed out to Jennifer Lamm that Auckland Council’s website advised that if Council was seeking an extension it would advise the applicant within 10 working days of the request.
By email Wendy Brandon advised me “We have checked the information published on the website and confirm that it states that the Council has 10 days to respond or seek an extension. That is incorrect; in fact the LGOIMA provides 20 working days within which the Council must respond to a request or seek an extension.”
I sent a reply suggesting that the person responsible for placing information on the website might in future check its accuracy before placing it.
We will be very interested to see the answers to these very important questions. The Government and the Council have proven time and time again they know very little about the film Industry, Auckland Film Studios is a perfect example of this…. to much power and very little knowledge.
Penny Hulse continues to display her ignorance of company law. Until the receivers for the Tony Tay make up their minds as to how or when they dispose of Tay’s holding in the film studios, the council is in limbo. It can decide to exercise its pre-emptive right and acquire the Tay controlling interest or sit and watch it sold to another party. Or,they could decide to keep the asset and try and trade out of Tay’s current position.There’s no doubt though that from a ratepayer perspective the film studios represent a poor investment and those reponsible guilty of equally poor judgment. Ratepayers would have been better served had their $6million investment been placed on deposit at the bank or used to reduce current overdraft.