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Insider knowledge not normal 'business practice'

Media statement Friday, April 16th, 2004

Use of insider knowledge of tenders far removed from normal business practice

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) is distancing itself from reported claims by Auckland Mayor John Banks that making use of inside knowledge of tenders is 'normal commercial practice.'

The question has arisen how Mayor Banks could know in advance how much Government would have to pay for the city's two marinas to secure them for Auckland.

"Tenders are private and confidential and usually opened after closing by more than one person representing the vendor," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"There is no way the Ports of Auckland would have done otherwise.

"Yet in such circumstances it's hard to see how anyone would know what other tenders were being offered to buy Westhaven prior to its tender closing.

"That the Government appears to have been pleased to be party to this dubious outcome raises serious ethical questions.

"The Westhaven tendering process will damage the reputation of business and undermine our work at EMA to drive a positive attitude to business.

"The issue is amplified since public funds are being used to fund the purchase of a facility to benefit its private users.

"Westhaven is a wonderful asset which should probably be owned and operated by an incorporated society. But there is no point in Auckland city selling it's airport shares to buy the marina.

"It was appropriate for the Ports of Auckland to sell the marina as it is not part of its core business, but its not appropriate for Auckland City's ratepayers to own the marina as equally its not core business for the city.

"However the city is right to secure the waterfront from Queen Street through to Westhaven to maximise the public good aspects of the land's redevelopment, and this is what the city should focus on. The marina should be on sold to fund their development."


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