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Committee Endorses Hauraki Investigation By Audit


LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE


MEDIA STATEMENT
COMMITTEE ENDORSES INVESTIGATION BY AUDIT OFFICE

1 March 2000


Jeanette Fitzsimons MP, Chairperson of the Local Government and Environment Committee, announced that the select committee has today discussed a proposal to inquire into the management of the statutory responsibilities of the Auckland City Council in the Hauraki Gulf. The proposal, which was made by Owen Jennings MP, is one of a number of possible inquiry topics that have been suggested by members of the committee.

The committee is aware that some residents of the Hauraki Gulf islands, particularly Great Barrier Island, have expressed strong concerns about the management of the Auckland City Council’s responsibilities. The committee also noted that there are current court proceedings relating to some of these issues. Members agreed that these court proceedings must be left to run their course without prejudice by any select committee inquiry. A panel has also been established by the Mayor of Auckland City to investigate complaints against council officers. The committee is confident that this panel, which includes a former Justice of the High Court, is competent to give full and fair consideration to such complaints.

The committee is, however, of the view that allegations have been made that are of a very serious nature and should be investigated by an independent agency of the highest level. The committee has been informed that the Auckland City Council has invited the Controller and Auditor-General to investigate the allegations made about the council’s management of various affairs in the Hauraki Gulf. The Audit Office has given an initial indication that it will look into the allegations to the extent that its mandate allows, except where matters are before the court.

The committee has therefore endorsed the Audit Office as the appropriate independent agency to investigate these matters. In particular, the Audit Office has the expertise to ensure that the Auckland City Council and other relevant authorities are operating in full compliance with their legislative requirements.

The committee will continue to be involved in the issue. The Audit Office has undertaken to consult the committee before finalising the Terms of Reference for the investigation. The committee will also receive briefings on the progress of the investigation and will hear the findings once it is concluded.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP
Chairperson
Local Government and Environment Committee

Contact: 04 471 9999 ext. 6665

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This media statement is made under Standing Order 238(1).

Members of the Local Government and Environment Committee:

Jeanette Fitzsimons (Chairperson)
Martin Gallagher (Deputy Chairperson)
David Benson-Pope
Georgina Beyer
Ann Hartley
Joe Hawke
Owen Jennings
Hon Murray McCully
Eric Roy
Richard Worth

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