Auditor-General won't investigate Solid Energy

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 16:56 24/05/2013

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The auditor-general will not investigate debt-ridden miner Solid Energy, saying the company is "already subject to a significant amount of review, scrutiny and change".

In late March, Labour and the Green Party sought an inquiry into the management, governance and oversight of Solid Energy.

The Christchurch-based state-owned enterprise is struggling under a massive debt pile, with Prime Minister John Key calling it a "broken company" this week.

But Auditor-General Lyn Provost said there would be no investigation, despite it being within her office's remit.

"I have given considerable thought to requests that I carry out an inquiry into the management, governance and oversight of Solid Energy Ltd," she said.

"My staff have visited both the Treasury and Solid Energy to obtain enough information for me to make an informed decision.

"There are already a number of reviews under way about Solid Energy's performance and the monitoring of the Crown's investment in the company, and the Treasury has released a range of information on these matters. Those reviews need to run their course.

"Naturally, I would want to see accountability to both Parliament and the public on the key issues raised with my office, and I trust that those who are carrying out those reviews of Solid Energy will make any relevant information publicly available in due course.

"I also note that the company is undergoing significant restructuring, with effects on governance and staffing at all levels."

Provost said she would reconsider her position "if circumstances change to such an extent that proper public accountability is undermined".

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- Fairfax Media

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