Has Penny (Not too) Bright perjured herself?

Penny Bright

Penny Bright stands to lose her house after the Auckland Council moved to recover 11 years of unpaid rates.

The veteran rates dodger and bludger claims to the NBR that she can’t pay:

Perennial activist and self-styled anti-corruption campaigner Penny Bright says she doesn’t have enough money to pay $34,182.56 in unpaid rates, considering most of it is council penalties.

She has maintained until recently she had the money to pay the rates but now says she can’t pay them.  

The council has asked the Auckland High Court to start the sale of her mortgage-free house to recover the outstanding rates and penalties run up since 2007.

Auckland Council’s acting group chief financial officer Matthew Walker says the council has written to Ms Bright regularly over the past six months offering to resolve this matter. “We have also offered to meet with her to discuss rates postponement, which she has declined.”

Ms Bright says it is unjust and unfair she has been penalised for working fulltime on the public good to persuade the council to open its books and show where rates are being spent.

“This is the third time the council has tried to sell my house from under me and I am determined it will not succeed this time.”

She is going to the High Court to discuss her next step and says she will stick to her guns of not paying her rates until the council completely opens its books and includes details of all the contracts it lets on its website.

“I have been asking the council for years to do this and, while there have been some improvements, it is nowhere near what the public is entitled to know.”

Ms Bright says if she is confronted with the sale of her house she is unsure what she will do but, in her opinion, it won’t happen.

Penny Bright has claimed for years that she could pay the rates at any time. She has been cute because she has no mortgage over the property. Otherwise the council could have recovered the rates long ago by garnishing the mortgagor.

But I think she may well be in more bother than she is letting on. Because over the last 11 years of fighting the council there have been numerous legal arguments, both in court and outside of court, that would have involved sworn affidavits about her ability to pay her rates.

One way of forestalling enforcement would have been to say you have the money and once court issues had been resolved you would pay. Or you could put funds into a solicitor’s trust account.

She has maintained a public perception she could always pay the rates, and I will lay good money on her carrying that public perception through into court filed documents and sworn affidavits.

It now appears those claims were demonstrably false and her charade has collapsed. She may well have perjured herself.

You may be sure the Council’s lawyers will be examining any and all of her previous evidence put before the courts.

It seems that Penny Bright isn’t all that interested working full time for the public good. In reality she is a pest and a rates dodger as well as a bludger. She should pay her rates and no one should listen to a word she says until she does.



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