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Sir Michael Cullen: Management of Possible Conflict of Interest

Matthew Hooton made this Official Information request to Auckland Council

This request has an unknown status. We're waiting for Matthew Hooton to read recent responses and update the status.

From: Matthew Hooton

Dear Auckland Council

In the first half of 2018, Sir Michael Cullen was involved in activities for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to promote to Government Ministers its alternative to the Auckland Transport (AT) light-rail proposal. At the time, Sir Michael was an AT director. City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) chair Sir Brian Roche, since appointed chair of NZTA, was also involved in this activity.

I have written about this matter in the NZ Herald in October 2019 and March 2020:
1. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...
2. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...

In addition, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has released material under the Official Information Act about these activities, some of which can be found here: https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/sites/default...

Sir Michael has also publicly confirmed that the activity took place: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...

That this activity for the Fund occurred it therefore not in dispute.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he is satisfied no conflict of interest existed between Sir Brian's activities for the Fund and his later appointment as NZTA chair. However, with respect to Sir Michael's possible conflict between his activities for the Fund and his role as a director of AT, Mr Twyford sought Cabinet Office advice which is to address questions to Auckland Council.

Therefore, under the LGOIMA, I request the following information:

1. Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior management of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities in 2018 for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?
2. Regardless of the answer to 1, would such activity constitute a conflict of interest with their roles at AT and/or CRLL?
3. How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland Council, AT and/or CRLL?
4. What training or information is given to AT and CRLL directors about identifying and managing conflicts of interest?

Please provide this information under the terms required by law.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Hooton

Link to this

From: AT Official Information (AT)

Kia ora Matthew,
 
Auckland Transport (AT) acknowledges receipt of your request for official
information which we received from Auckland Council on 10 March 2020.
 
We hope to respond to your request as soon as possible, but not later than
7 April 2020, which is 20 working days after the day your request was
received. If we aren’t able to respond to your request by then, we will
notify you of an extension of that timeframe.
 
Your case is being managed by Cameron, who is one of our LGOIMA Business
Partners. If you have any further queries, you can contact the team on
(09) 355 3553 during business hours, quoting Local Government Official
Information request number CAS-117010-C7J4X1.
 
Ngâ mihi,
 
Pablo | Customer Care Coordinator
Customer Care – Case Management
Auckland Transport
Private Bag 92250, Auckland 1142
P 09 355 3553 | E [email address] or
[email address]
[1]www.at.govt.nz
[2]cid:image008.jpg@01D4DF26.CF144370
[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D2927A.134A0850[4]cid:image003.jpg@01D2927A.134A0850 [5]cid:image004.jpg@01D2927A.134A0850 [6]cid:image005.jpg@01D2927A.134A0850[7]cid:image006.jpg@01D2927A.134A0850
 
 
 
From: Matthew Hooton <[FOI #12397 email]>
Sent: Friday, 6 March 2020 6:55 AM
To: Official Information <[email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Sir Michael Cullen: Management of
Possible Conflict of Interest
 
Dear Auckland Council
 
In the first half of 2018, Sir Michael Cullen was involved in activities
for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to promote to Government Ministers
its alternative to the Auckland Transport (AT) light-rail proposal. At the
time, Sir Michael was an AT director. City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) chair Sir
Brian Roche, since appointed chair of NZTA, was also involved in this
activity.
 
I have written about this matter in the NZ Herald in October 2019 and
March 2020:
1.
[8]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...
2.
[9]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...
 
In addition, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has released material
under the Official Information Act about these activities, some of which
can be found here:
[10]https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/sites/default...
 
Sir Michael has also publicly confirmed that the activity took place:
[11]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...
 
That this activity for the Fund occurred it therefore not in dispute.
 
Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he is satisfied no conflict of
interest existed between Sir Brian's activities for the Fund and his later
appointment as NZTA chair. However, with respect to Sir Michael's possible
conflict between his activities for the Fund and his role as a director of
AT, Mr Twyford sought Cabinet Office advice which is to address questions
to Auckland Council.
 
Therefore, under the LGOIMA, I request the following information:
 
1.            Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior
management of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities
in 2018 for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?
2.            Regardless of the answer to 1, would such activity
constitute a conflict of interest with their roles at AT and/or CRLL?
3.            How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland
Council, AT and/or CRLL?
4.            What training or information is given to AT and CRLL
directors about identifying and managing conflicts of interest?
 
Please provide this information under the terms required by law.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Matthew Hooton
 
 

Important notice: The contents of this email and any attachments may be
confidential and subject to legal privilege. If you have received this
email message in error please notify us immediately and erase all copies
of the message and attachments; any use, disclosure or copying of this
message or attachments is prohibited. Any views expressed in this email
may be those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the
views of Auckland Transport.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.at.govt.nz/
3. https://www.facebook.com/akltransport
4. https://twitter.com/akltransport
5. https://www.instagram.com/akltransport/
6. https://www.linkedin.com/company/aucklan...
7. https://www.youtube.com/user/aucklandtra...
8. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...
9. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...
10. https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/sites/default...
11. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...

Link to this

From: Official Information
Auckland Council

Good morning Matthew,

 

Thank you for your below enquiry.

 

We have transferred your request to Auckland Transport under Section 12 of
the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

 

Auckland Transport will respond to your questions direct.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Grace Ray | Senior Privacy & LGOIMA Business Partner
Democracy Services

 

From: Matthew Hooton <[FOI #12397 email]>
Sent: Friday, 6 March 2020 6:55 AM
To: Official Information <[email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Sir Michael Cullen: Management of
Possible Conflict of Interest

 

Dear Auckland Council

 

In the first half of 2018, Sir Michael Cullen was involved in activities
for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to promote to Government Ministers
its alternative to the Auckland Transport (AT) light-rail proposal. At the
time, Sir Michael was an AT director. City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) chair Sir
Brian Roche, since appointed chair of NZTA, was also involved in this
activity.

 

I have written about this matter in the NZ Herald in October 2019 and
March 2020:

1.
[1]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...

2.
[2]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...

 

In addition, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has released material
under the Official Information Act about these activities, some of which
can be found here:
[3]https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/sites/default...

 

Sir Michael has also publicly confirmed that the activity took place:
[4]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...

 

That this activity for the Fund occurred it therefore not in dispute.

 

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he is satisfied no conflict of
interest existed between Sir Brian's activities for the Fund and his later
appointment as NZTA chair. However, with respect to Sir Michael's possible
conflict between his activities for the Fund and his role as a director of
AT, Mr Twyford sought Cabinet Office advice which is to address questions
to Auckland Council.

 

Therefore, under the LGOIMA, I request the following information:

 

1.            Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior
management of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities
in 2018 for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?

2.            Regardless of the answer to 1, would such activity
constitute a conflict of interest with their roles at AT and/or CRLL?

3.            How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland
Council, AT and/or CRLL?

4.            What training or information is given to AT and CRLL
directors about identifying and managing conflicts of interest?

 

Please provide this information under the terms required by law.

 

Thank you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Matthew Hooton

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

 

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[5][FOI #12397 email]

 

Is [6][Auckland Council request email] the wrong address for
Official Information requests to Auckland Council? If so, please contact
us using this form:

[7]https://fyi.org.nz/change_request/new?bo...

 

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:

[8]https://fyi.org.nz/help/officers

 

If you find this service useful as an Official Information officer, please
ask your web manager to link to us from your organisation's OIA or LGOIMA
page.

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Official Information
Auckland Council

 

Tēnā koe Matthew,

 

Thank you for your request for information about Sir Michael Cullen and
Sir Brian Roche.

 

Questions 2 and 4 of your request relate more directly to the functions of
Auckland Transport and City Rail Link Limited. 

In accordance with section 12 of the Local Government Official Information
and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) we have transferred your request to
Auckland Transport  to respond directly.

Auckland Transport will respond to you within 20 working days of receipt
of your request which was 11 March 2020.

On 18 March 2020 we sent your request to City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) and
they will also respond to you directly.

 

Please see below, our answers to questions 1 and 3 of your request.  For
your ease of reference your questions are included in the response below.

 

1.         Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior management
of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities in 2018 for
the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?

 

There was not a declared (or indeed a conflict) of interest at the time of
their appointments.

 

The normal course of action, would be that they make a new declaration to
their Boards (AT and CRLL) once a new conflict arose.

 

3.         How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland Council,
AT and/or CRLL?

 

Auckland Council were not aware of any conflict of interest.

 

Ngā mihi

 

Samantha

 

Samantha Sinclair | Senior Business Partner Privacy & LGOIMA
Democracy Services | Auckland Council

 

 

From: Matthew Hooton <[1][FOI #12397 email]>
Sent: Friday, 6 March 2020 6:55 AM
To: Official Information <[2][email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Sir Michael Cullen: Management of
Possible Conflict of Interest

 

Dear Auckland Council

 

In the first half of 2018, Sir Michael Cullen was involved in activities
for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to promote to Government Ministers
its alternative to the Auckland Transport (AT) light-rail proposal. At the
time, Sir Michael was an AT director. City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) chair Sir
Brian Roche, since appointed chair of NZTA, was also involved in this
activity.

 

I have written about this matter in the NZ Herald in October 2019 and
March 2020:

1.
[3]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...

2.
[4]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news...

 

In addition, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has released material
under the Official Information Act about these activities, some of which
can be found here:
[5]https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/sites/default...

 

Sir Michael has also publicly confirmed that the activity took place:
[6]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...

 

That this activity for the Fund occurred it therefore not in dispute.

 

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says he is satisfied no conflict of
interest existed between Sir Brian's activities for the Fund and his later
appointment as NZTA chair. However, with respect to Sir Michael's possible
conflict between his activities for the Fund and his role as a director of
AT, Mr Twyford sought Cabinet Office advice which is to address questions
to Auckland Council.

 

Therefore, under the LGOIMA, I request the following information:

 

1.            Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior
management of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities
in 2018 for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?

2.            Regardless of the answer to 1, would such activity
constitute a conflict of interest with their roles at AT and/or CRLL?

3.            How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland
Council, AT and/or CRLL?

4.            What training or information is given to AT and CRLL
directors about identifying and managing conflicts of interest?

 

Please provide this information under the terms required by law.

 

Thank you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Matthew Hooton

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

 

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[7][FOI #12397 email]

 

Is [8][Auckland Council request email] the wrong address for
Official Information requests to Auckland Council? If so, please contact
us using this form:

[9]https://fyi.org.nz/change_request/new?bo...

 

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:

[10]https://fyi.org.nz/help/officers

 

If you find this service useful as an Official Information officer, please
ask your web manager to link to us from your organisation's OIA or LGOIMA
page.

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: AT Official Information (AT)

Kia ora Matthew 

 
I’m the LGOIMA Business Partner who’s looking into your case

My name is Alison and I’m a LGOIMA Business Partner at Auckland
Transport. I’m responsible for looking into your request for information
below.

We are working on your response and we are granting part of your request,
which means we will provide the information for requests one, three, and
four. 

Unfortunately, the information that you have requested in your second
request doesn't exist. Under LGOIMA there’s no obligation to create
information that doesn't exist. We may have to refuse your request under
section 17(e) of the LGOIMA because it doesn't exist. We are however, able
to provide a copy of AT’s Declaration of Interest Policy. This policy
applies to AT directors as well as employees and representatives. The
policy outlines AT’s expectations and how AT manages conflicts of
interest.

Before we decide whether to refuse your second request, we wanted to check
whether you have any ideas about where we ought to look for the
information. This might include specific search locations. If you do, we
would be grateful to hear from you by 27 March. If we don't hear back from
you will send a response providing the information for your requests one,
three and four and our decision about request two. 

The quickest way to get this to us, is to reply to this email leaving the
subject line as it is. We’ll make sure this information is added to your
case.
 

Ngā mihi

Alison 

LGOIMA Business Partner 

 

Auckland Transport

20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland 1010

[1]www.at.govt.nz

 

 

 

Therefore, under the LGOIMA, I request the following information:

1.            Were Auckland Council and the boards and/or senior
management of AT and CRLL aware of Sir Michael and Sir Brian’s activities
in 2018 for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund?
2.            Regardless of the answer to 1, would such activity
constitute a conflict of interest with their roles at AT and/or CRLL?
3.            How was any conflict of interest managed by Auckland
Council, AT and/or CRLL?
4.            What training or information is given to AT and CRLL
directors about identifying and managing conflicts of interest?

Please provide this information under the terms required by law.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Hooton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all have an important part to play in helping to reduce the spread of
COVID-19 in our communities. For the latest information and advice from
Auckland Transport go to
https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/servi....
For Ministry of Health updates go to
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise....

Important notice: The contents of this email and any attachments may be
confidential and subject to legal privilege. If you have received this
email message in error please notify us immediately and erase all copies
of the message and attachments; any use, disclosure or copying of this
message or attachments is prohibited. Any views expressed in this email
may be those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the
views of Auckland Transport.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.at.govt.nz/

Link to this

Tony Randle left an annotation ()

Any potential conflict of interest by Sir Michael Cullen and/or Sir Brian Roche on the Superfund LRT proposal might be important to know.
However, as LGOIMA only applies to "information held" I would suggest you modify your request to obtain the information that AC, AT and CCRL would hold that contains the information you seek. I would note that there are likely to be TWO processes where an AT or CCRL Board member woul be expected to declare a potential Conflict of Interest from their being on the Superfund Board:
1) As part of the interview process where Auckland Council makes the appointments of Directors to both organisations (https://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt...)
2) As part of any Board meeting agenda of under "Interest Register - Declarations/Conflicts" (eg https://at.govt.nz/media/1982386/agenda-...). This latter declaration of a potential conflict of interest with the Superfund LRT proposal would only apply when the AT Board considered an item or report that included discussion of this issue.

Therefore a request for information on understand the whether Sir Michael declarated a conflict of interest would be expected to take the form of the following:
To Auckland Council: Can Auckland Council please provide a copy of the Conflict of Declaration from Sir Micheal Cullen provided as part of his appointment (or reappointment) to the board of AT ?
To Auckland Transport: Can AT please provide a copy of the meeting minutes where the Superfund Light Rail Proposal was discussed and, in particular, a copy of any conflict of interest declarations made to each of these meetings by Sir Micheal ?

Similar for Sir Brian and CCRL.

Link to this

From: Nicole Lawton


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Hi Matthew

 

This is just a note to say that City Rail Link Ltd has received a partial
transfer of your LGOIMA concerning Sir Michael Cullen and Sir Brian Roche
from Auckland Council.

 

We have begun processing this request and you can expect a response from
CRLL 20 working days from the transfer, on 8 April 2020.

 

Ngâ mihi, 

Nicole Lawton – Communications Coordinator

 

City Rail Link Limited

Level 2, 25 Teed Street, Newmarket, 1023 Auckland

PO Box 9681, Newmarket, 1149 Auckland

 

M: 027 561 3275

E: [1][email address]

 

[2]Sign up to our monthly newsletter here

 

[3]A yellow and blue train traveling down train tracks Description
automatically generated
[4][IMG] [5][IMG] [6][IMG] [7][IMG] [8][IMG]

 

 

CAUTION: This email message and any attachments contain information that
may be confidential and may be subject to legal privilege. If you are not
the intended recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this message or
attachments is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email
message in error please notify us immediately and erase all copies of the
message and attachments. We do not accept responsibility for any viruses
or similar carried with our email, or any effects our email may have on
the recipient computer system or network. Any views expressed in this
email may be those of the individual sender and may not necessarily
reflect the views of City Rail Link Limited.

References

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2. https://www.cityraillink.co.nz/newsletter
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
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Link to this

From: AT Official Information (AT)


Attachment Auckland Transport CAS 117010 C7J4X1.pdf
155K Download View as HTML

Attachment Declaration of Interest Guidelines.pdf
359K Download View as HTML


Kia ora Matthew 

 

I’ve attached the official information you asked for

On 10/03/2020 you asked for information about Sir Michael Cullen. I’ve
attached a signed response from Andrew Downie, Governance Lead. 

 

Should you believe that we have not dealt with your request appropriately,
you are able to make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman in
accordance with section 27(3) of the LGOIMA Act and seek an investigation
and review in regard to this matter.

You can contact the Ombudsman at [1]www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or
freephone 0800 802 602.

 

If you have any further queries, simply reply to this email leaving the
subject line as it is. We’ll make sure this information is added to your
case.

 

Ngā mihi

Alison 

LGOIMA Business Partner 

Auckland Transport

20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland 1010

[2]www.at.govt.nz

 

 

We all have an important part to play in helping to reduce the spread of
COVID-19 in our communities. For the latest information and advice from
Auckland Transport go to
https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/servi....
For Ministry of Health updates go to
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise....

Important notice: The contents of this email and any attachments may be
confidential and subject to legal privilege. If you have received this
email message in error please notify us immediately and erase all copies
of the message and attachments; any use, disclosure or copying of this
message or attachments is prohibited. Any views expressed in this email
may be those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect the
views of Auckland Transport.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.ombudsman.parliament.nz
2. file:///tmp/www.at.govt.nz

Link to this

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Matthew Hooton please sign in and let everyone know.

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