Received from Martin Legge
Saturday, 29 June 2013 9:53 a.m.
Learn how the Kaipara council was repeatedly given a clean bill of health by Audit NZ despite the massive debt and obvious governance problems.
Compares with how OAG assured me they were closely monitoring the TTCF investigation into how it was that ORFU and Racing were able to fleece $7 million from the South Auckland community. The truth is, DIA lost that file and therefore didn’t investigate and instead deliberately covered the loss up. OAG appear OK with this and issued DIA with a clean bill of health.
Our trust and faith in the work of these well resourced “highly educated desk jockeys” is misplaced!!!
### NZ Herald Online Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 8:48 AM
Fresh probe begins into debt-ridden council
By Andrew Laxon
The commissioners of debt-ridden Kaipara District Council have begun a new inquiry into its past financial decisions, including the advice it received from former chief executive Jack McKerchar. The tiny Northland council is struggling under an $80 million debt, a long-running rates strike and court action by its own ratepayers over more than $17 million of illegally set rates dating back to 2006. Its former councillors stepped down last year in response to a damning report, making way for Government-appointed commissioners.
Three inquiries are under way into what went wrong. They consist of
● An Auditor-General’s investigation into how the cost of a sewerage scheme at Mangawhai blew out from $11 million in 1999 to $62 million, creating most of the council’s debt.
● An independent inquiry into how the Audit Office failed to notice the excessive debt and repeatedly gave the council a clean bill of health.
● The commissioners’ investigation into other financial transactions they have discovered since taking over last September and see as questionable.
Northland MP Mike Sabin told Parliament ratepayers had been woefully let down by the council’s “mismanagement, incompetence, carelessness and dysfunctional governance”. Mr Sabin, who is sponsoring a local bill to retrospectively validate the illegal rates, said the bill was necessary to keep the council functioning but it would not allow anyone responsible for poor decisions to duck the consequences.
The separate inquiry into the Audit Office’s actions, undertaken by Auditing and Assurance Standards Board chairman Neil Cherry, was not finished.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
7 responses to “Audit NZ and OAG clean bill of health —Suspicious!”
Martin, if that’s Kaipara’s desperate strait then god help Dunedin!
Since, this council has a consolidated debt of over $600 million and NO Accountability WHATSOEVER from Mayor Cull, councillors and the DCC chief executive, to date.
And yes, Audit NZ / OAG keep providing if not a clean bill of health then complete inactivity matched by obfuscatory letters in reply to genuine complaints received – and, for the OAG, there is the pet ‘research’ project (with national budget) to whitewash Delta, negate all Conflicts of Interest, and remove links with the Rugby-Pokie-Property-Speculator Brigade that have for years defrauded by millions of dollars not just South Auckland but also the Dunedin community (see DCC ‘mishaps’ of investment with ORFU, Carisbrook, new stadium, and gratuitously, plenty more).
It appears the DCC chief executive’s “team of three” – including himself, Ms Rosebud, and a lesser manager in ‘governance’ (conceived to be working for both sides…) – is hellbent keeping lids on DCC’s mysterious ways.
No-one in governance at DCC wants to make the call for an official inquiry, and certainly not… the replacement of elected representatives by government-appointed commissioners.
As we know, through your public exchanges of information via news media and this website, DIA corruption is inextricably (indirectly and directly) linked to how DCC has been conducting its business with professional rugby, ORFU. The evidentiary paper trails and intelligence are extraordinary!
This all just goes to confirm my suspicion that the OAG was never any more than a placatory body set up by central government so as to be seen to be doing the right thing by the citizens. It was never intended to be any more than an illusory activity to placate the ‘plebs’. We have seen it repeatedly with the closest approach to flex its muscles in the SkyCity Convention Centre / Central Government rort. That finished with a whimper. Watch for the Delta investigation, never mind Martin’s battle with the DIA over misallocation of $millions of dollars of ‘pokies’ proceeds. Corruption is the only word.
Received from Martin Legge
Sunday, 30 June 2013 7:57 p.m.
This was an email sent to OAG. Note that it is over 18 months after my complaint to DIA and OAG. (October 2010).
From: Martin Legge
Sent: Monday, 14 May 2012 9:27 p.m.
To: ‘Liz Colley’
Cc: ‘nicola.white [at] oag.govt.nz’
Subject: FW: Martin Legge – DIA
Attention: Liz Colley- Office of the Auditor General
I appreciate that you may not have been in a position to correspond with me or reply to any of my complaints due to ongoing investigations of same, however I would like to update you on the following points;
● Neither I nor my staff have to date, received any correspondence, contact or request for interview from DIA regarding any past, present or future investigations which is surprising considering some of the statements being made in the media by senior management at DIA regarding “fresh looks”, re-audits, re-investigations, etc into a raft of matters to which I have either made complaints or statements or that others in the sector or community have commented on or made complaint on.
● I was advised today by a contact at DIA that in particular Ms Debbie Despard had made it known internally that the investigations into Otago Rugby Football Union, Centre of Excellence and in fact anything to do with “Martin Legge” should be “buried at the earliest opportunity”. This concerns me greatly, not only because many of these issues are now of substantial public concern but that this type of behaviour from senior DIA management is beginning to smack of corruption and manipulation.
Nothing that I have seen or heard in the last 18+ months in my dealings with DIA has given me any confidence in their department and I am more than ever convinced that there should be a major inquiry into their culture, operations and behaviour in regards to a billion dollar industry. I also believe that there should be an opportunity for DIA internal staff to be able to speak freely with other regulators without the threat of job loss or victimisation.
I have spoken to you at length and on numerous occasions now, particularly over 2011, regarding my concerns about the actions and intentions of the department to stall and deflect from the main issues. You have constantly assured me that you have monitored the department and that the situation I feared was being closely monitored by your office.
While I appreciate your continued attention, I feel confident in supposing that as your office passed on my complaints to that same department in 2010, that your department may also be questioning the current DIA role, ability and competence in regard to regulation and compliance in the class 4 gambling sector.
I look forward to being formally interviewed by your office into this matter as it would be of huge concern to me to think that you are relying on investigations and information provided to you by DIA as the sole basis of your investigation findings.
14 May 2012!!! Jeez, this thing flows like very cold molasses. Simply congealing over any irritant it meets. It is now patently obvious that my contentions about the OAG’s office being a political construct designed to give the appearance of the ‘peoples’ watchman, but in reality ‘toothless’. I am afraid that departments like the DIA can, and will act with impunity. The SFO I suspect is a similar entity. Sure, it will now and again make an example of some ‘tiddly’ scapegoat, but any ‘big fish’ with actions anywhere near a political position are free to rort away. Sad really, but when one looks at the scams perpetrated from within the ‘Beehive’ it is par for the course.
The $500k grant paid by TTCF to the Centre of Excellence for amateur sport to support is touched on in that letter to the OAG. Russell Garbutt complained about this back in 2008 and raised it again with DIA in 2010. Russell should be interested to learn that the complete grant file still sits in our offices after we’d been advised to retain it pending DIA’s full investigation.
I lay odds that Russell wasn’t told about this by DIA heads, Maarten Quivooy and Debbie Despard during his taxpayer funded trip to Wellington for the purposes of defusing the situation after Russell involved the DIA Minister, Chris Tremain.
Martin, it’s often what you hold back that reveals the sheer incompetence, deep corruption and festering political whitewash of “The System”. Eheu.
Has OAG got the resources to more than skim Delta. They don’t want to touch ORFU or DCC. Why? Then another elephant lumbers up.
### nzherald.co.nz 5:30 AM Saturday Jul 6, 2013
Auditor’s eye on aid for big business
By Andrew Stone
The Auditor-General is to investigate a flagship Government project which involves millions in subsidies being paid to some of New Zealand’s biggest primary sector businesses. Plans by the public-spending watchdog to take a close look at Primary Growth Partnership programmes is outlined in an appendix to the Auditor-General’s annual plan for 2013/14. An Audit Office spokeswoman said: “We undertook some initial research on (the Ministry of Primary Industry’s) Primary Growth Partnership before independently deciding to add it to our planned work programme.” She said: “We are in the early stages of planning the work. We do not yet know when the work will start, what it will cover, and when and how we will report on it.”
The ambitious PGP programme was set up three years ago. Designed to support primary sector innovation and lift exports, the ministry has invested $190 million in 15 schemes over the past three years, according to figures published on its website. Private-sector partners in dairying, horticulture, fishing, farming and forestry have matched the investment dollar for dollar, or in some cases by more. The expected investment over the life of the project is $670 million, half of it coming from taxpayers. The ministry claims the country could benefit by some $7 billion a year by 2025. The programme allows private-sector partners in the deals to retain any intellectual property which might arise from research.
The project has come under fire for its generous public subsidies for work that would be done anyway, and for excluding industries which could potentially deliver more bang for the taxpayer, such as the pipfruit or viticulture sectors. One hurdle for smaller players is they need a minimum $500,000 investment to qualify for public funds.
Further, no independent assessments have yet been published of any returns from the existing 15 schemes, even though several have been going for three years and a number make rosy claims on the ministry website about their progress. Three audits of schemes have been published, two done by the ministry and one by accountants Ernst & Young, but no quarterly reports, as required by the projects, have yet been made publicly available.