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Cr Dick Quax Welcomes Auditor General's Report

4 August 2005

Cr Dick Quax Welcomes Auditor General's Report

Councillor Dick Quax has welcomed the Auditor General's findings in relation to the Manukau City Council's Citywide publication.

The Strategic Directions Committee of the Council resolved in April a half million dollar contract for the citywide publication should be awarded to Twig Publications Ltd.

"Along with some other Councillors I was extremely concerned that this contract was being granted without any competitive bids being sought."

The Auditor General has upheld the complaints made by Cr Quax, Sir Roger Douglas and Cr Jami Lee Ross.

In the report the Auditor General has criticised Council officers for amongst other things; not providing councillors with sufficient information in the written report about work already done by Twig or the intention to contract directly with Twig for the citywide publication, the issue of any intellectual rights held by Twig was not relevant to the issue of whether the contract could be tendered, councillors were entitled to receive the written legal advice at the Extraordinary Council meeting to make the decision required of them at the meeting and council officers should have made it available, council officers had no authority to make an ex gratia (A payment made out of a sense of moral rather than legal obligation) payment of $27,495 to Twig.

The Auditor General agreed that contrary to officer's advice Twig did not own the idea of a citywide publication and had not supplied the information in confidence and council officers had no delegated authority from Council to commit Council to expenditure.

"It is of great concern to me that $27,495 of rate payer's money was handed over for work done by Twig for what is described by the Auditor General as being done "on a speculative basis". The report was very strong in its condemnation of that payment and I trust that some lessons have been learned and processes will be altered to avoid a repeat of this kind of situation arising again".

ENDS

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