Ask Phoebe

Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: CCOs ultimately accountable to council

By Phoebe Falconer

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Part of the water infrastucture of Auckland Watercare Services.
Part of the water infrastucture of Auckland Watercare Services.

Q. I note that a number of Auckland service providers such as Watercare Services are said to be Council Controlled Organisations.

I would like to know just how much say the Auckland Council and its elected councillors actually have over these stand-alone entities.

Can, for example, a councillor ask the management of Watercare to justify its procedures or change the way that they do business?

If not, what, if any, influence do the ratepayers and their representatives have over these bodies?

Peter Lewis, Forrest Hill.

A council-controlled organisation (CCO) is an organisation in which the council controls 50 per cent or more of the votes or has the right to appoint 50 per cent (or more) of the directors or trustees.

A substantive CCO is a CCO that is either responsible for the delivery of a significant service or activity on behalf of Auckland Council, or owns or manages assets with a value of more than $10 million.

Auckland has seven substantive CCOs, including Auckland Transport, Watercare Services, Auckland Council Property, Auckland Council Investments and the Waterfront Development Agency.

CCOs are governed by their boards of directors or trustees, and operate at arm's length to the council.

They are accountable to the council, which determines the objectives for each CCO and monitors their performance. The CCO Governance and Monitoring Department, Auckland Council's Accountability and Performance Committee and the CCO Strategy Review Subcommittee assist the council in this governance.

The overall direction for CCOs is set in line with the Auckland Plan, the council's long-term plan, including the CCO Accountability Policy, which sets how the council will hold its CCOs accountable for meeting its objectives and priorities for them.

Members of the public are able to provide input to the statements of intent (SOIs) at meetings, which the CCOs must hold in public. The public meeting to discuss the shareholder comment of the draft SOI for the following year must be held before June 30 each year. The second public meeting must be held after July 1 each year, where the board will consider the CCO's performance under its SOI in the previous financial year. (Source: Auckland Council website)

Q. Can you enlighten me to what the law is with respect to entrances to malls and supermarkets, where they cross the footpath. At times the crossing point looks like an entrance to a driveway, but at other times it appears like a highway. I understand that this is an entry to private property and so the pedestrian should have right of way. Am I right?

Philip Sampson, Auckland.

Yes, you are. The Road Code, in the section on sharing the road with other road users, states very clearly that when a motorist is entering or leaving a driveway that crosses a footpath, he or she must give way to people using the footpath.

Having said that, it behoves pedestrians to take care and watch for vehicles when they are crossing a driveway. Not all vehicles stop or give way when they should, as we all know only too well.

- NZ Herald

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