25 Jul 2018

Audit Office declines to investigate sale of Russell Wharf

12:57 pm on 25 July 2018

The Audit Office has declined to investigate the proposed sale of the Russell Wharf.

Russell Wharf, Bay of Islands

Russell Wharf, Bay of Islands Photo: 123RF

The Far North District Council is selling the old wharf for a dollar to its commercial arm, Far North Holdings.

The company plans to upgrade it with money from the Provincial Growth Fund, and borrowings.

The council's agreed the wharf can then be on-sold to the Russell Wharf Trust - a charitable trust headed by Russell business people who've raised funds for the wharf in the past.

Russell ratepayer Doug Owens asked the Audit Office to investigate - saying a public asset repaired with public money shouldn't end up in the hands of a private trust.

But the Audit Office said the council had properly consulted the public about the deal and it was conditional on input from tangata whenua and the community over future governance.

It said the council was entitled to make that decision.