Today I asked the House to agree to introduce my members’ bill, called the Local Government (Council Controlled Organisations) Amendment Bill and set it down for the next Members Day. The government said no.
The bill would have made information held by ports accessible under the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
Currently, Ports are excluded in the definition of CCOs under the Local Government Act. An easy amendment to the Local Government Act, as proposed by No Right Turn, (thanks NRT) would have fixed this deficiency.
Obviously, the costly dispute at the Ports of Auckland has highlighted the need for this bill. The way in which the Ports of Auckland board and management have acted without transparency and accountability has made it very clear there is a need to ensure that these publicly-owned businesses are opened to the same scrutiny every other public institution faces.
We can get information about the local school or a public library, or even SOEs, but we can’t get information about valuable assets like our publicly owned ports, that are worth millions of dollars.
It’s hard to believe any government that claims it cares about transparency and accountability would have a problem supporting a bill like this one. But National is demonstrating that it’s all talk when it comes to open government.
So now the bill will go into the ballot. I’m not giving up.