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Auditor General Replies

Anyone who thought my complaint to the Office of the Auditor General in regard to the Draft LTP will be disappointed, but hardly surprised at the response received yesterday:

        Dear Mr Barclay

Thank you for your letter dated 2 February 2015, addressed to Bruce Robertson. He has referred your letter to me, as Sector Manager with responsibility for the Coromandel.

 You express concerns around how Council  propos es to-repay debt relating-to·the-Eastern Seaboard Wastewater Scheme specifically, and more generally you are concerned that the Council's proposed Financial Strategy may disadvantage the ratepayer. You request that this office examine the Council's proposals to ensure that they are appropriate.

I have discussed your concerns with the Appointed Auditor. The matters you raise in relation to debt are significant issues for the Council, and we understand that these matters will be included in the Consultation Document (which is yet to be adopted by Council). This document is the means by which the Council will seek the community views on its proposals before finalising its Long Term Plan. This is your opportunity to provide feedback.

I hope this information provides you with some reassurance. I understand that since you wrote your letter, you have met with Management at the Council to discuss your concerns further. This is an appropriate course of action.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Yours sincerely

Svea Cunliffe-Steel   Sector Manager, Local Government

That fact that Mr Steel has failed to deal with my specific issues is indicative of the cavalier attitude displayed on almost every occasion regarding 'prima face' legitimate complaints. This unwillingness to engage is interesting in the light of the OAG 's legislated role to 'approve' the document before it goes to public consultation.

The OAG appears to simply accept assurances, and gain comfort from my having "met with "Mangement." Those discussions in no way answered my concerns - especially in regard to future valuations, and the CEO's stated intention to avoid funding some major projects until "approved by Council."

These issues are not of such a nature that they can be dealt with through the consultation - they go to the heart of the LTP process over which it is the AOG's legislated role to exercise control. No one who has dealt with the Office in the past will be surprised. 




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