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Update on recent legal challenges

While LFT Auckland has always operated according to the objects and terms of its constitution and rules, it has been suggested that we hold property on trust for the sole object of the Laura Fergusson Trust for Disabled Persons (the National Trust).

In 2021, we brought a proceeding in the High Court and separately initiated a statutory process with the Attorney-General to determine whether we can continue to use LFT Auckland’s current constitution to direct our future activities. Both proceedings are now before the Court and we expect them to be considered in a consolidated hearing.

The Court has encouraged all parties to consider mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution.  Our Board has offered to do everything necessary to resolve the case out of Court and remains hopeful that mediation will progress.  If not, we will look forward to the High Court’s decision, expected later this year or early next year.

Our applications to the High Court and various documents relating to the most recent High Court process are now available to view and download.

These documents are:

  • LFT Auckland’s two applications to the High Court
  • The Attorney-General’s Report on LFT Auckland’s second application
  • The PwC Report submitted to the Court as part of the second application.
  • Affidavits submitted to the Court in support of the second application

 

LFT Auckland’s High Court Applications

The documents below relate to LFT Auckland’s two applications to the High Court.

The first application, filed on 17 November 2021, asks the Court to confirm that LFT Auckland does not hold any property on trust.

The second application, filed on 10 June 2022, asks the Court to exercise its powers under the Charitable Trust Act 1957 to vary the terms of any trust LFT Auckland might be found to hold property under, so that they match LFT Auckland’s current constitution and rules.

The second application was filed after the first because LFT Auckland had to complete a statutory process that involved sharing information with the Attorney-General and the Attorney-General publishing a report on its conclusions.

High Court Application (i)

High Court Application (ii)

 

Attorney-General’s Report on LFT Auckland’s Application

As noted above (under LFT Auckland’s High Court Applications) LFT Auckland had to comply with a statutory process that involved providing information to the Attorney-General and the Attorney-General publishing a report on its conclusions.

The Attorney-General reviewed our application to vary the terms of any trust we might hold property under, so that they match LFT Auckland’s current Constitution and Rules.

Attorney-General’s Report

 

PWC Report

Our decisions reflect the conclusions of independent professional advisors. In 2019, PwC completed an analysis of LFT Auckland that was the most extensive and in-depth they had ever done for disability services in New Zealand.

As part of this work, PwC established a purpose-built ‘cost of care model’ that gave a clear breakdown of the cost of providing care, together with information to support operating efficiency.

As part of PwC’s analysis, they constructed scenarios for continuing LFT Auckland’s existing services in one form or another.  The financial performance of each scenario was modelled and projected into the future.

PwC concluded “we could not identify any potential scenario where LFT rehabilitation was projected to be operating sustainably in the future.” If PwC re-ran its analysis today, the conclusions would be even worse, due to the effects of inflation, COVID-19, chronic shortages of qualified staff and further reductions in funding for disability services.

PwC Report

 

LFT Auckland Affidavits

LFT Board Chair Chris O’Brien, Board member Heather McLeish and Professor Des Gorman (Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences) provided affidavits to the High Court in support of LFT Auckland’s most recent application. These affidavits are available below:

Chris O’Brien Affidavit

Includes an overview of LFT Auckland’s history, further detail on the reasons behind the Board’s decision to cease LFT Auckland’s services, close and sell the Greenlane property, and the Board’s proposed future direction.

Heather McLeish Affidavit

Includes an overview of the services LFT Auckland provided over the last 50 years, difficulties faced in providing these services on a sustainable basis, steps taken to address the difficulties, and the circumstances surrounding the decision to stop providing services.

Professor Des Gorman Affidavit

Includes an overview of Prof Gorman’s involvement with LFT Auckland and his perspective on the funding challenges LFT Auckland encountered, the current and future state of disability services in New Zealand, and the Autism New Zealand partnership.

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