The misuse of public funds at Dunedin is far from being over……
Received Sun, 8 Jan 2017 at 5:21 p.m.
Questions mount over Hamilton City Council’s commercial nous. By comparison, how does Dunedin City Council stack up ?
### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:03, Jan 6 2017
Hamilton City Council urged to stay away from property ‘gambling’
By Aaron Leaman
….Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said the city council has a poor record when it comes to commercial property deals. And he doesn’t want any more ratepayer money risked on commercial developments. Records obtained under the Official Information Act show the Hamilton City Council has taken a multimillion-dollar hit on a raft of property deals dating back to the mid-1990s. The council incurred heavy losses after selling properties at well below their purchase price.
….In 2017, city councillors will consider restoring the council’s property development company, Hamilton Properties Ltd, after an almost 20-year hiatus. Last term, the council voted to transfer the city’s municipal and domain endowment funds, valued about $52 million, to the council-controlled organisation. The decision can be overturned by the new council. Hamilton Properties Ltd was set up in 1989 and retired in 1998 after developing a host of commercial and community sites, including the BNZ building and Novotel Hamilton Tainui in the central city.
….King said the council should enable developers and investors to risk their money to build Hamilton. “We’ve got $50 million sitting in these funds and I think the proposal to give it to Hamilton Properties Ltd is very, very scary, in my opinion,” King said. “It’s not our job as councillors to risk ratepayers’ money and go into competition against others. The record clearly shows that we are way out of our depth. We’re not specialists in this field and anything council does seems to cost twice as much as what the specialists in the field can do it for.” King’s views, however, are at odds with senior council staff, who have defended the city’s investment nous.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
This post is offered in the public interest.