Is Phil Goff telling lies again?

Last weekend a story hit about Phil Goff and his sneaky plans for a toilet tax. Judith Collins had been digging and found out that Goff’s Auckland Council were sneakily trying to implement a toilet tax: Quote:

Auckland mayor Phil Goff says costs to ratepayers could be little different if a new entity was formed to takeover a $1.2 billion pipeline project.

Council and government officials are exploring whether shifting the 13km central interceptor project into a crown-owned company is practical, with construction due to begin next year.

The idea is complex, but if workable would shift the project debt off the council’s books and give it more financial capacity to accelerate other work.

On Saturday, National party Papakura MP Judith Collins and Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman said the new central interceptor would cost more calling it a “toilet tax”.

Goff dismissed the slogan. 

“We’d still have to be paying for it in pretty much the same way, as if we proceeded without the ‘special purpose vehicle’,” Goff said.

Goff also scotched talk of “privatisation” if the move went ahead, as the central interceptor would be funded through government-owned Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

CIP was set up by the previous government in 2017, to fund infrastructure needed to accelerate housing and commercial developments, in the north and south of Auckland.

Details of work on the pipeline project being done by officials, became public after Collins requested information from Watercare.

Goff said he found it “curious” that Collins’ information request to Watercare was lodged on the same day as councillors met in a confidential workshop to be briefed on progress.

Papers released show no decisions have been made on how or how much property owners would pay for the cost of the sewage pipeline, if it was built by a new entity instead of Watercare. End quote.

Sources inside Goff’s office were alarmed at his stance. It seems Phil Goff has been meeting treasury officials over this, despite his claims otherwise.

Treasury has released an OIA response showing that Goff has been meeting with officials over the ‘toilet tax’.

The document is heavily redacted but shows that both Phil Goff and John Duncan from the Auckland Investment office of Auckland Council have been meeting treasury officials and discussing funding options for the central interceptor project.

Relevant paragraphs that are unredacted:

No wonder staffers in Goff’s office are having conniptions. Those aides-memoire provided by Treasury suggest that plans are well advanced and, not only that, they also show that documents exist from Phil Goff to the government in the form of letters that can be sought under the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

They also show that Phil Goff is being economical with the truth.

Who was Phil Goff meeting on 27 October 2017 to discuss “[…] new revenue tools and look at alternative financing and procurement options for large water projects, particularly the Central Interceptor”?

When Phil Goff wrote to the prime minister and all ministers on 27 October 2017 what did he say about “[…] new revenue tools and look at alternative financing and procurement options for large water projects, particularly the Central Interceptor”?

On what date and in what form did Auckland Council support alternative financing and procurement options for large water projects, particularly the Central Interceptor?

It would be nice if the mayor could answer those questions because it looks like he has been working on a toilet tax for Auckland for at least nine months.

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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.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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