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Chief Executive statement: EY Independent Review

Chief Executive statement: EY Independent Review

Doug McKay

Chief Executive, Auckland Council

13 December 2013

The EY report released today summarises the findings of their review into the use of council resources and any improper preferential employment treatment, as it relates to the Mayor’s relationship with Ms Bevan Chuang. I commissioned EY to undertake the review to address concerns that had been raised.

This has been an exhaustive and comprehensive review. It addresses the issues that had been raised and I am satisfied that EY has delivered a robust and thorough report.

EY was asked to examine:

• any use of council resources within the Office of the Mayor, in respect of the Mayor’s relationship with Ms Chuang, that contravenes council policies;

• any improper preferential treatment in relation to Ms Chuang’s engagement as an employee, contractor or an advisor within the Auckland Council Group; and

• any other issues that the reviewers or Chief Executive considers relate to, or arise out of, the above matters.

The review covered the period from the council’s amalgamation on 1 November 2010 to the commissioning of the review on 21 October 2013. EY's findings are based on a factual and evidence-based review of the Mayor’s use of council resources as it relates to council policies and processes and, where appropriate, external obligations. EY has conclusively addressed the terms of reference of the review.

EY found that the Mayor did not inappropriately use council resources to support the relationship with Ms Chuang. EY examined the use of council phones, credit cards, expense claims, gifts, mayoral car use and travel. Any use, where it existed, was generally within the permitted guidelines and policies. EY did not find any expense claims funded by council to purchase gifts, accommodation, meals or entertainment as they relate to Ms Chuang.

Arising out of the review, EY found that there were some instances where the relevant council policies were not fully met, or the use of resources raised questions. These include, the amount the Mayor reimbursed to council for costs incurred for personal mobile usage, the Mayoral driver used for private family transportation when the Mayor was overseas, and the payment by council of a portion of a modest overseas dinner that was arguably private.

EY found the Mayor received nine complimentary hotel rooms that have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in his completed annual Declaration of Interests. EY reports the value of the complimentary rooms based on rates provided by the hotels is $6,130. They also found the Mayor received hotel upgrades which have not been registered as gifts or disclosed in the Declaration of Interests. There were 64 instances valued by the hotels at $32,888.50.

EY did not identify any improper preferential treatment in relation to Ms Chuang’s employment, contracting or advisory roles within the council group.

During the course of EY’s review, I was asked about the Mayor’s trip to Hong Kong undertaken in January 2013. The Mayor was a guest of the Hong Kong Government and all costs for flights, accommodation and hotel meal expenses were funded by the Hong Kong Government. The Mayor did not claim any expenses. No staff or support services, such as a translator, accompanied the Mayor.

I am now satisfied that the EY’s report has addressed the concerns raised with me. I would like to thank EY for completing this review and all the parties that assisted them.

Ends

The report can be found here:

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/Independent%20Review%20Report%20FINAL%20131213.pdf

Scoop copy: Independent_Review_Report_FINAL_131213.pdf

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