Corrupt Auckland Transport officers are a sign of the times

Corruption in local Government is a permanent feature so you better get used to it.

Auckland Transport has yet another dodgy staff member trying to line their pocket from the public purse. That place is dodgier than a 10-day-old curry.

An Auckland Transport team leader lost his job after awarding contracts to roading giant Fulton Hogan, which sub-contracted them back to a company owned by his wife.

The issue came to light only after the Weekend Herald brought the allegation to the council body’s attention.

It was alleged that after Erle Bencich was involved in awarding contracts to Fulton Hogan, the company sub-contracted the work back to drainage and pipeline inspection company IDI Contracting Ltd.

Mr Bencich’s wife is listed as the sole director of IDI Contracting Ltd in the Companies Office under her maiden name Donna Opai. Mr Bencich has been a former director and shareholder of the company.

In a statement, Auckland Transport said an internal investigation found no evidence of illegal activity.

“However, it was determined that the individual had shown a clear lack of judgment and had not followed policies with regards to declarations of possible conflicts of interest.

“This resulted in the ending of his employment. His last day of employment was November 10, 2015,” the statement said.

Auckland Transport has declined to release a copy of the investigation, carried out by Kensington Swan.

With the SFO already investigating a number of other former Auckland Transport officers for fraudulent procurement activities (think brown paper bags of cash) it comes as no surprise to find yet another procurement officer is sliding around the peripheral edge of what’s legal.

Back in the late 1700s Scottish history professor Alexander Tytler studied and observed that all civilisations go though a cycle:


At the peak of a civilisation’s success the people become apathetic – not really giving much of a toss about what is happening outside their own abundant lives. And so the opportunity for corruption to sneak in begins.

Decline of civilisations always begins with subtle actions like officials ignoring the rule of law, along with a lack of care for the expenditure of the public purse.

It can also be observed by the slow creep of corruption as officials increasingly find opportunities to lord it over the public and when they manipulate outcomes that benefit themselves personally, like procuring contracts to their own personal benefit.

It’s all a blurring of the moral compass.

Tytler also made this profound observation: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.”

Yep. Everyone thinks the public purse is there for the taking, including the staff. Not that anyone will care and with a civil moral compass on the decline we can expect this sort of carry on to increase.



– NZHerald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

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