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Public Excluded

There were three mysterious 'Public Excluded late items'  added to today's Council agenda:

  • Whitianga Boat Ramp Pontoon - Increase budget for 2013/14 (Steve Bremner)
  • Mercury Bay Multisport Park (David Hammond)
  • Major Events Sponsorship (Ben Day)

Just why it is considered necessary to make items of such nature 'Public Excluded" beggars belief. There were no reasons provided as required by Section 41 (1) of the Act, and I subsequently asked David Hammond for the reasons to be emailed to me. They duly arrived, and I remain puzzled, but intrigued - the first two were hidden form public view because Council "needs to be able to "carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations". 

Frankly, this appears to be a cover for Council to approve further allocations in order to enable these embarrassments to be completed without having to further account to the public. We know that there are substantial liabilities associated with the grassing contract at the MBSC, and a strong likelihood of substantial litigation resulting from the failure of the work carried out by Hoppers, or their associates. 

The Major Events funding issue is is separate - the claim in this regard is that PE is required to "protect a trade secret", or that making the information available "would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied, or is the subject of the information". Perhaps this is legitimate, but it has never to my knowledge been necessary in the past to place such an item in PE - it is something that under normal circumstances should be out in public view.

I don't believe on the face of it that any of these should be being discussed behind closed doors unless there is a very good reason, and one does not spring immediately to mind. I will make an OIR over the next few days, and see what that brings out in the open. 




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