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Deputy Mayor Kerry Prendergast reported to AG

To: The Chief Reporter
From: Alan Whiting, Lambton Ward candidate.

Media Release
Sunday 22 September 2001

Deputy Mayor reported to Auditor General on conflict of interest

Lambton Ward candidate Alan Whiting has asked the Auditor-General to investigate the failure of Deputy Mayor to acknowledge a conflict of interest relating to her husband’s ownership of a building in the Lambton Harbour area.

This follows conflicting statements from Councillor Prendergast who claimed the building had been sold1, and subsequent comment by her husband, Rex Nicholls that “it was his building”2.

The building, at 42-48 Cable St., falls within the city blocks between Cable St. and Wakefield St. which are to be removed from the Lambton Harbour area into the Central Area by Variation 22.

This district plan change is likely to have a significant effect on the value of the building in question and has been consistently supported by Councillor Prendergast.

The removal of the Cable St./Wakefield blocks was a also a component of Variation 17 and the Waterfront Framework Document whose adoption by council were both supported by Kerry Prendergast at a time when the building was in the ownership of Mr. Nicholls.

Commenting, Alan Whiting said “As deputy Mayor and a director of Lambton Harbour Management, Kerry Prendergast has more influence then anybody over our waterfront.

For her spouse to be purchasing property in the Lambton Harbour area and for Councillor Prendergast to be voting on district plan changes affecting the commercial value of that property is highly inappropriate”.

1 Kerry Prendergast comments were made at a meeting on Friday, 10 August 2001 which was reconvened from 1 August 2001. The comments were made in response to the raising of a ’point of order’ by Councillor Ritchie.

The meeting minutes, which do not go to the detail of this exchange but which show how voting took place, are at: http://wcc.govt.nz/council/committees/2001/pdf/Council/406_minutes.pdf.
The press release issued that day ( http://www.wcc.govt.nz/news/press/2001/nr000595.htm) omits to mention the removal of the Cable St./Wakefield St blocks although this was identified previously as a "key feature" of the variation.

2 Rex Nicholls was quoted in the Evening Post (September 8, p3) as saying "It's my building" when interviewed about election hoardings on the West side of the building.

*************************************
END OF MEDIA RELEASE
*************************************


Alan Whiting, Lambton Ward candidate (Independent)
Apt 9
4 Claremont Grove
Mount Victoria
Wellington
Tel: 04-384 2201
E-mail: alan@whiting.net.nz
Web Site: www.whiting.net.nz

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