Today's letter: Why the secrecy?

Last updated 12:00 05/11/2012

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OPINION: Many ratepayers must be wondering what was so secretive about the Invercargill City Council's decision to sell the Don/Deveron streets car park that it took an Official Information Act request to disclose details of the meeting at which a final vote was taken.

"The car park was not publicly tendered, and council discussions regarding the sale were held at public-excluded meetings . . ." (October 23)

These observations - the details of which, mysterious and difficult to understand as they are - do not quite go far enough.

We now should at least be entitled to be told which councillors, of the split 6-6 vote, voted which way?

And with such secrecy indicating hidden and probably controversial factors it would have seemed prudent for the mayor's casting vote to have instead held the status quo.

How can ratepayers judge without details, nor any reason/logic for the secrecy?

Please disclose further details of the voting.
J F WHITFIELD
Invercargill

Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King replies:  "The confidentiality relates to local businesses that expressed interest in being a tenant in a new building on the site. No division was called at the meeting so the names of those elected members voting for or against the motion was not recorded.

The mayor explained to the meeting that he was acting in accordance with tradition and using his casting vote to maintain the status quo.

At that time the council had agreed that the property was for sale, and although those involved in the project changed, the status quo remained."

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