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HBRC hears from Auditor General on its own compliance

Media Release
21 May 2013

HBRC hears from Auditor General on its own compliance

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is comfortable with the response from the Office of the Auditor General relating to claims made against it by Transparent Hawke’s Bay.

In a letter dated 16 May 2013, the Officer of the Auditor General (OAG) responded to claims that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) had not met its statutory obligations to consult on the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, and concerning perceived conflicts of interest through membership overlaps between HBRC and the Board of Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd.

Having referenced HBRC’s 2012-22 Long Term Plan, draft and final documents, the OAG was satisfied that the disclosures regarding the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) were adequate and appropriate given the early stages of the project.

The letter further stated that conflict of interest situations are not uncommon in the local government sector, noting HBRC’s intent to operate the current HBRIC Board as a transition Board of Directors until 1 January 2014. This in itself confirmed the view of the OAG, indicating an awareness of the conflict of interest and intent to address the matter should RWSS proceed past the investigation stage.

“This reinforces my recent discussions with the Mayors of Napier and Hastings and also covers off their concerns ” said HBRC Chairman Fenton Wilson.

“It confirms the fact that processes are in place to deal with these issues going forward. However, we take our role in the community seriously and we will be having formal consultation at the end of this process. This is when all parties will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore any remaining issues,” said Mr Wilson.

ENDS

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