National MP Nikki Kaye is coming to the aid of the gravely ill activist Penny Bright by agreeing to present a petition to Parliament calling for an urgent inquiry into transparency at Auckland Council.
Bright, who was rushed to hospital on August 31 and given six days to live, is pursuing one last battle with the council that came close to selling her house for refusing to pay rates for 11 years.
"Yay, I'm alive. I'm making progress on an urgent inquiry into the failure of Auckland Council to comply with its statutory duties under the Public Records Act. It's a big deal," Bright said from her hospital bed in a weak voice today.
Ratepayers have a right to know how their money is being spent
Her partner, Julian, told the Herald Bright was stable but weak, thin but not anorexic, in no pain and using natural medications.
Bright is battling stage three ovarian cancer and a serious diabetic condition.
The 64-year-old, with the help of friend Lisa Er, has prepared the petition requesting Parliament undertake an urgent inquiry into whether Auckland Council has failed to comply with the requirements of the Public Records Act.
At lunchtime today, 257 people had signed the petition, which closes next Tuesday.
Kaye said she was happy to present the petition to Parliament where it will be referred to a select committee, which will decide what to do with it.
"She is an extraordinary person and always fought for what she believes in and while we may have vehemently disagreed on a number of issues I have agreed to do that [present the petition]," Kaye said.
She said she agreed with the thrust of the petition for greater transparency at Auckland Council, saying she had her own concerns about transparency at the council arising from constituency work as the MP for Auckland Central.
Kaye said she planned to write to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to get an update and "house check" on transparency at council.
For many years, Bright has argued the council has failed to comply with the act when it comes to providing details of contracts with private companies, and stopped paying rates on her Kingsland home in 2007.
Bright settled her case with council in May this year after seeking a rates postponement at the 11th hour after offers closed on her house.
Er said "open the books", is her friend Penny Bright's catch phrase and the petition is continuing her very valuable work insisting on transparency.
"Ratepayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. New Zealand law is very clear on this requirement for transparency in public spending," Er said.
Link to the petition: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_80294/petition-of-lisa-er-auckland-council-must-comply-with