Auckland Council will not be investigated for striking a deal with the organisers of the V8 Supercars event despite complaints from councillors about the haste of the decision, the Auditor-General's office has ruled.
A number of councillors made complaints following council subsidiary Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development's (ATEED) decision to enter into an agreement with the organisation which runs the V8 Supercar event - to be held at Pukekohe Park for the next five years.
They raised concerns about receiving papers at short notice, receiving a summary of a particular report rather than the full document, and the late public notification of meetings.
Doubts were cast on whether proper due diligence had been carried out and whether other options had been seriously considered.
ATEED had been negotiating with V8 Supercars since November 2011.
On 5 July 2012, the Strategy and Finance Committee of Auckland Council considered a report prepared by ATEED which recommended the committee endorse ATEED's decision to enter into an agreement with V8 Supercars Australia.
Operational decisions on the implementation of a funded programme are within the authority of a council-controlled organisation such as ATEED, however, it is expected that councillors should be informed and updated on any decisions.
A spokesperson for the Auditor-General said the information was "carefully considered" from correspondents and Auckland Council and subsequently no further investigation was required.
The spokesperson said ATEED recognised there would be considerable public interest in the V8s decision and it therefore briefed council staff and Mayor Len Brown regularly during the negotiations.
ATEED also briefed councillors twice during an informal meeting before a council workshop on May 31st, and again during the lunch break of a meeting of the Auckland Plan Committee on July 3rd.
It transpired, however, that neither of these briefings were formally notified and some councillors were not aware that the issue was to be discussed and missed the briefings.
The spokesperson said they discovered that there was some confusion about what decision the committee was actually being asked to make.
"Most of the complaints to us assumed that the council was being asked to make the final decision on whether to proceed with the contract. People were therefore concerned about the amount of time and information given to the council."
The spokesperson said in fact, ATEED was simply intending to brief the Council on a decision that it had already taken.
"The decision to proceed with the contract was within ATEED's mandate and delegated financial authority. It was consistent with the overall Major Events Strategy developed by ATEED and approved by the committee in May 2011."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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