Councillors on boards join CCO debate

Last updated 07:08 09/11/2012
IONA PANNETT
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
IONA PANNETT: "It actually does hit rather hard at the democratic decision-making process."

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Wellington city councillors were allowed to vote on a report on council-controlled organisations despite many being paid $15,000 for serving on those organisation's boards.

The day before the council met to debate a review of its eight CCOs and whether they were effectively governed, councillors received advice from the Office of the Auditor-General that councillors on CCO boards did not have to declare a conflict of interest.

CCOs have separate boards and chief executives who manage the council facilities or services as separate businesses.

Nine councillors serve as directors or trustees on CCO boards, with most receiving $15,000 on top of their base salaries. The auditor-general's letter gave the councillors dispensation to take part in the debate yesterday.

Councillor Iona Pannett questioned the legitimacy of the advice during debate yesterday.

"It actually does hit rather hard at the democratic decision-making process," she said.

The recommendations on the table call for councillor appointments to CCOs to be retained, but to limit appointments to one per board.

However, amendments yet to be debated include not allowing appointments on boards of four members or fewer, and withdrawing payment for board appointments.

There is also a call for board members not to be on the council's CCO performance committee.

Councillors on CCO boards include Andy Foster, Capacity; John Morrison, Basin Reserve Trust; Jo Coughlan, Positively Wellington Tourism; Ngaire Best, Positively Wellington Venues; Ray Ahipene- Mercer, Wellington Museums Trust; Justin Lester, Wellington Waterfront Ltd; and Simon Marsh, Wellington Zoo Trust.

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- The Dominion Post

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