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THOTT probe prompts Auditor General study

THOTT probe prompts Auditor General to propose study

A call by National MP Phil Heatley for an audit of the contracts between a failed Northland health and social services agency and two Ministries has resulted in a proposal for a much wider investigation into contracting practices across the state sector.

The Whangarei MP asked the Controller and Auditor General in September to audit the contracts between Te Hau Ora O Te Tai Tokerau (THOTT), organisations it oversaw, the Ministry of Social Services and Employment and the Ministry of Health, after he had revealed concerns over the agency’s overspending and management.

“The Controller and Auditor General has replied saying that, instead of auditing THOTT specifically, he wants to conduct a more wide-ranging study of contracting practices across the state sector,” Mr Heatley said today.

“The Controller and Auditor General says there are other examples of community and voluntary agencies that have apparently failed to deliver services in accordance with their contracts. He wants a study to find out if the problem is more widespread.

“This study would be the first step to identify the problems that agencies have in fulfilling their contracts, and to require government agencies to enforce contract conditions.

“I am concerned $1.7 million of taxpayers’ money has allegedly been wasted by THOTT. Such agencies must be bound to stick to their agreed contracts. If this study is approved any widespread problem can be identified and rectified.

The Controller and Auditor General must consult with Parliament on the study before it can start.

“My hope is that the study can get underway in 2003-04 as the Controller and Auditor General is anticipating,” Mr Heatley said.

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