Gerry Brownlee: City council audit review redundant

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 11:11 07/08/2014

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A Crown-commissioned review of an audit into the city council's finances was made redundant by work the council already had underway, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. 

yesterday, Brownlee did not answer questions about the outcome of work he commissioned to review a KordaMentha audit of the Christchurch City Council's financial position. 

When the report was released in May, revealing a $534 million budget shortfall, Brownlee questioned the figures and believed the blowout was based on an outdated estimate of the cost of repairing infrastructure.

In a media release issued on May 7, Brownlee said he had instructed the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to contract financial consultants Morrison Low to provide an ''independent assessment of how the council's financial position, as presented in the KordaMentha report, relates to the Crown's role in the rebuild''.

But no report came out of the work done by Morrison Low and neither Brownlee's office nor Cera would not say what the result of the work was. 

Brownlee told Newstalk ZB this morning that the Cameron Partners report, commissioned by the council, made the need for his own independent review redundant.

''It made the need for a single report redundant, but the work [done by Morrison Low] has fed into important discussions between Cera and the council.''

Brownlee said Morrison Low had provided ''heavyweight financial advice''.

He maintained that it had validated his initial concern that some of the figures used in the KordaMentha report were misleading. 

''[It] clarified that some of the figures...don't necessarily relate to the expenses the Government will have to meet," he told Newstalk ZB. 

He said the work had informed discussions that ''ultimately led to the Cameron Partners report''.

''[And] that's a far better analysis.'' 

Speaking to Chris Lynch on ZB, he would not reveal any details about the Convention Centre announcement today but said it would ''another significant step'' in the recovery. 

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- The Press

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