Auckland Transport. The Cost of Accountability

 

On 1 November 2012 I put 9 questions to the Henderson_Massey Local Board (HMLB) re the Te Atatu Corridor Project. Those questions are documented in the November Archives on this blog site entitled “Te Atatu Land Acquisitions”.

On 2 November Michael Riley, Property Specialist, Auckland Transport (AT) sent me a gratuitous letter. (copy on this site December Archives)

On 27 November I sent an email to Vanessa Neeson asking for a response to my 9 questions posed a month earlier.

On 29 November she sent the following response “ The questions that you posed to AT have been forwarded to them and we await their reply.

The questions asked of the Board

  1. Does the LB feel that they have been adequately kept to date?

We have had information provided. It has been adequate for our non-decision making role.

  1. Is the LB aware of the budget?

The budget is in the regional Land Transport Program in the local road funding section. The LB has no decision making authority for this project.

These are the only two questions I can answer. We are appointing a community advocate and that is all we are able to do.” 

(I was aware myself, at that stage, some Board members did not feel they had been kept adequately up to date.)

On 12 December I emailed Vanessa Neeson asking what response she had received from AT.

On 13 December I emailed AT to chase things along.

On 17 December I received the following email from Vanessa Neeson:
 “Hi Gary here is the answer to Question 7

  1. When and how does the HMLB intend informing affected owners of its Community Advocate proposal?

The Henderson Massey local Board has made a decision with regards to creating a position and currently progressing this through Auckland Transport.

Once the position has been finalised the person will introduce themselves directly toaffected property owners as well as making themselves available to interested persons.”

I sent a reminder to AT and received the following email from Owena Schuster next day. “Thank you for your email reminder! We apologise for the delay. AT is working on your questions and will be sending you a response in due course.”

On 21 December I received the following email from Roger Wilson, Elected Member Liaison Manager, AT.

“Dear Gary

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

Re:AT2012/064712

In response to your list of questions submitted to the Henderson Massey Local Board November meeting, concerning costs associated with the Te Atatu Road project. Your document was transferred from Auckland Council to Auckland Transport on 14 November 2012. Regrettably, this request was not forwarded to the appropriate business unit until 17 December 2012. Please accept our apologies for this oversight and any inconvenience caused by this.

We have assessed the amount of work required to respond to your request and provide the information you are seeking. In accordance with section 13 of the Local Government Official Information and  Meetings Act (LGOIMA) we are entitled to charge to cover the cost of labour and materials involved in making the information available.

Our rate in that regard is $47.50 (incGST) per half hour and we estimate it will take 20 hours to collate the requested information. Accordingly, should you wish to proceed please arrange to either forward to us your cheque for, or electronically transfer $1900.00 to our account, details of which appear below:

·        Account: BNZ 02-0192-0122888-00

·        Cheques to be made payable to Auckland Transport and posted to Private Bag 92250, Auckland 1142. Please write on the back of the cheque AT2012/064712

In case of electronic transfer of funds please include reference AT2012/064712 when making the deposit and advise us by email to info@aucklandtransport.govt.nzonce the funds have been deposited so that we may action your request within the appropriate timeframe. Our tax invoice/receipt will be forwarded to you following receipt of funds.

In accordance with section 13(4) of the LGOIMA, Auckland Transport requires that these charges are to be paid in advance of your receipt of the information.

Pursuant to section 27(3) of the LGOIMA you have the right to make a written complaint to the Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with our response regarding the charge of $1900 for responding to this request.

Alternatively, there are a few options open to you, which include:

·        Accept the quoted fee and proceed with your request, or

·        Refine your request to reduce the charge for the information, or

·        Withdraw your request

Your request is on hold while you are considering your options; please let us know when you reach a decision. If we do not receive a response from you within 14working days  from the date of this letter, we will close your request. As Auckland Transport will be closed over the Christmas holiday break, the 14 days will expire on 30 January 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Wilson.”

 On 22 December I sent an email to Lester Levy, Chairman Auckland Transport Board asking if he supports the request for $1900.

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