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HNZC invites OAG to conduct inquiry

For Immediate Release

10 April 2006

HNZC invites OAG to conduct inquiry

The Board of Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) has invited the Office of the Auditor-General to conduct an inquiry into allegations about accounting irregularities.

HNZC Chairman Pat Snedden said that this will ensure "total transparency".

"The Office of the Auditor-General will do the work and report back to the Board within a month," Mr Snedden said.

"The Terms of Reference are expected to be determined by late tomorrow (Tuesday). All relevant parties with a material interest in the outcome of this inquiry - the Minister of Housing, Treasury, the Department of Building and Housing (HNZC's monitoring agency) and the State Services Commission -- will be consulted on the Terms of Reference."

Mr Snedden said it was his intention that the Terms of Reference would as a minimum include review of:

The statement of facts containing the allegations agreed between the former contractor and Housing Zealand Corporation on 23 November 2005
The context, content, advice received and all matters related to the
finalisation of the settlement agreement

How the $3000 payment was agreed, what it was for and how it was initiated
The degree to which the Chief Executive was involved, if at all, in this settlement agreement

Any further issues the contractor wishes to place before the inquiry
Any issues as a result of this inquiry that are deemed relevant to it by the Office of the Auditor-General.

"This is a Housing New Zealand Corporation Board sponsored inquiry. The report from the inquiry will go to the Board for review before it is publicly released," said Mr Snedden.

"This matter has been discussed with our external auditors and they are comfortable with our approach, which ensures total transparency."

ENDS

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