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Inquiry into Westland District Council’s procurement process

Inquiry into Westland District Council’s Procurement of Remedial Works for the Franz Josef Wastewater Plant

21 December 2017: We have decided on an inquiry and its terms of reference.

The Deputy Auditor-General, Greg Schollum, has decided to carry out an inquiry into Westland District Council’s procurement of remedial works for the Franz Josef wastewater plant. This document sets out the background and terms of reference for the inquiry.

Background

On 5 July 2017, Westland District Council (the Council) agreed to remedial works for the Franz Josef wastewater plant, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. The wastewater plant is located next to the flood-prone Waiho River and there have been issues for several years with the quality of the discharge from the plant. The remedial works, described by the Council as “emergency works”, were the development of a new infiltration gallery for the wastewater plant and maintenance of the flood embankment.

Concerns have been expressed to us about the Council’s procurement of the works, including the processes it followed and whether the Council appropriately managed any potential conflicts of interest. These types of concerns can undermine confidence in the Council’s decision-making processes. We decided an inquiry was necessary to better understand what happened.

Inquiry

Our inquiry will examine the Council’s procurement of the works for the Franz Josef wastewater plant, including:

• how the Council determined that emergency works were needed;

• the procurement and contract management practices adopted by the Council for the works;

• how any potential conflicts of interest were managed; and

• any other related matter that the Deputy Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

The inquiry will be carried out under section 18 of the Public Audit Act 2001. We will not make any public comment while our work is under way, but will publish a report once we have completed the inquiry.


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