19 Nov 2013

Auditor-General to release Kaipara debt report soon

12:35 pm on 19 November 2013

A report by the Auditor-General on the Kaipara District Council debt fiasco will be out early next month.

The council was dismissed by the Government last year, after its debt rose to $80 million, largely because of borrowings for a sewerage scheme at Mangawhai.

Mangawhai ratepayers have been refusing to pay their rates, claiming the council took out loans without approval and rated them unlawfully to cover the debt.

The Auditor General's office has been investigating the council's records since March.

A spokesperson said she expects the inquiry report will be tabled in Parliament on 3 December and the community will be briefed that day in Mangawhai.

The Commissioners running the Kaipara Council have conceded about $17 million worth of rates were levied unlawfully. They are supporting a Private Member's Bill to validate the rates.

The Mangawhai Ratepayers Association says the report will come too late to inform debate and submission on the bill, which has just passed its second reading.

The association has won the right to a judicial review of the council's failings, and say that will carry more weight than a report by the Audit Office.