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Friday
Jun282013

Manifesto (2)

Further to the the last post, I have made a complaint to the OAG representative who sits ex officio on the Audit Committee in the following terms:

I understand that you attended the meeting of the TCDC Audit Committee on 11 June as AOG Ex-Officio member. I am not sure if you are the person to approach in regard to matters that you are reported to have raised at that meeting, including guidance in regard to pre-election advertising and publicity.

I have been extremely concerned at publicity recently promulgated by TCDC that appears to cross the lines to which you referred - specifically a Hauraki Herald advertisement on in early June in which the Chief Executive made quite erroneous claims regarding debt reduction. He later appeared to apologise, and corrected the statement involving a difference of $6m.

What is of even greater concern is that on 26 June, Council approved a “Pre-election Report” prepared by the Chief Executive that appears to blatantly cross the line into pre-election advertising and publicity, and that it does not appear to meet the requirements of the LGA amendment passed in late 2012 that required such a document to be prepared containing important factual and governance information  in order to alert ratepayers and prospective  candidates as to any deficiencies or risks facing any incoming council.

It was not intended by my understanding as a panegyric, advertising brochure, or manifesto for the incumbent Mayor and Council. As this is the first occasion on which this has been produced, it is understandable that there are still loose ends regarding interpretation of the Act.

But the question remains as to how a council can legitimately sign off on such a document, and for it to be distributed (see TCDC website   http://www.tcdc.govt.nz/Your-Council/News-and-Media/News-and-Public-Notices/News-Articles/Pre-election-report-gives-you-the-facts/  before final accounts have been prepared for the year and published in the Annual Report. There is a great deal of important information to which the Chief Executive cannot possibly be privy on the 26th June – not the least being the Derivatives valuation, capex and opex figures.

In view of this, I seek your advice as to where I should direct a complaint about the content and timing of this report. I don’t believe for one moment that it fulfils the requirements, or intent of the Act, and that it was produced and approved at the 26 June meeting with the precise intent of avoiding the 3 month embargo on advertising and publicity that comes into effect on 12 July. I believe this to be a deliberate abrogation of the responsibility of the Chief Executive, and that the Mayor and Council have been complicit in its production – even to the extent of requesting changes at the meeting to suit their own electoral purposes.  

The Chief Executive announced at Wednesday’s meeting that he thought his report was “first off the block” – hardly surprising in the circumstances.

If required, I will prepare a properly documented complaint, but in the meantime seek your immediate intervention to prevent further circulation of the Report in its current form

It may be that I will have to re-direct it through other channels, but this is for starters.

 

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