The Auditor-General is to be asked to review Kaipara District Council’s decision-making, financial and contract management processes in relation to the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme.
Council requested the review following consideration of a report prepared by new Chief Executive, Steve Ruru. In the report Mr Ruru highlighted a number of concerns with the processes that Council followed in managing the wastewater project. These concerns included potential issues with the 2009 Long Term Council Community Plan, the level of debt that is projected as being required to fund the scheme and a potential failure to comply with the requirements of the Local Government Act when Council approved the scheme in 2006. The report also noted that Council had previously identified that errors were made in setting budgets in its 2011/12 Annual Plan and in the setting of rates for the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme.
Mayor Neil Tiller said that the range of issues highlighted was a major concern and clearly indicated that an independent comprehensive review of the Mangawhai project was needed if Council was to restore the community’s confidence in its ability to lead. “Council’s decision to ask the Auditor General to undertake the review is a positive step forward. We already know that we got it wrong in relation to the setting of rates and it now appears that there are a number of other areas in which mistakes were made. We need a full review to find out how these mistakes were made and how to stop this from happening again. An independent review will show the full extent of the problem. Processes can then be put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again and we can begin to rebuild the community’s confidence in us.
Mayor Tiller indicated that Council was clear that there was a need for change and a new approach to the way in which it worked. “We have asked our new Chief Executive to help lead the changes in process that are needed to ensure we get it right in the future. We have every confidence in his ability to make a significant difference to the way in which we operate as a Council”.
Chief Executive Steve Ruru will be contacting the Auditor-General immediately with a view to having the review process underway as quickly as possible.