I was recently motivated to ponder just what constitutes a “working day” for Auckland Council.
On 7/12/15 I raised some questions with Auckland Council regarding drownings of toddlers in private swimming pools in Auckland since 1/11/10 (the date of inception of Auckland Council).
On 9/12/15 I was told my request would be treated as a “LOIMA request”. (I believe they meant LGOIMA request (Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, 1987)). I was told “I understand the requirement is for me to get back to you within 20 working days.”
Upon checking I found Section 2 of LGOIMA defines “working day” as “any day of the week other than-
(a) Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign’s birthday, and Waitangi Day; and
(ab) if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday; and
(b) a day in the period commencing with 25 December in any year and ending with 15 January in the following year.”
Then on 10/12/15 I received a letter from Council dated 7/12/15 on another matter – a supplementary valuation on my property. It gave me until 12 January 2016 to object. But a large part of that period is covered by non-working days I thought. – Silly me! The definition of a “working day” for the Rating Valuations Act 1988 is governed by Section 29 of the Interpretation Act 1999 and is defined as
“a day of the week other than-
(a) a Saturday, a Sunday, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign’s birthday, and Labour Day; and
(b) a day in the period commencing with 25 December in a year and ending with 2 January in the following year; and
(c) if 1 January falls on a Friday, the following Monday; and
(d) if 1 January falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the following Monday and Tuesday; and
(e) if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday”
With these inconsistencies I wondered what was the point of the Interpretation Act –largely regarded as the Bible for statutory Legislation and definitions?
Under Section 2 it states
“the purposes of this Act are –
(a) to state principles and rules for the interpretation of legislation; and
(b) to shorten legislation; and
(c) to promote consistency in the language and form of legislation”
However my concerns didn’t end there.
On 24 December I rang 3010101 and asked to speak to a Council Officer.
“Oh, no” I was told “this is Christmas Eve, all Departments closed yesterday.”
I pointed out this was a working day and asked if Council staff were being paid for not working on a “working day.” I was told that was none of my business but I pointed out that, as a ratepayer, I regarded it very much as my business. Eventually I contacted the Deputy Mayor who contacted the Deputy CEO who has informed me “I will follow through and someone will be in touch in the new year.”