7 Aug 2019

No decision yet on Westland council oversight, officials say

12:17 pm on 7 August 2019

Department of Internal Affairs officials say the Local Government Minister is still deciding what to do about the oversight of Westland District Council.

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An inquiry raised serious concerns about Westland District Council's procurement process. Photo: Screenshot / Google Maps

The Governance and Administration select committee is hearing submissions on the Auditor-General's inquiry into the the procurement of work at Franz Josef.

The Inquiry raised serious concerns about a decision by Westland Mayor Bruce Smith and Councillor Duham Havill to build a $1.3 million stopbank at Franz Josef in 2017.

They did so without conducting a proper procurement process, without consulting experts, and without backing of the full council.

There have been reports that Nanaia Mahut recently wrote to Westland Mayor Bruce Smith to advise she was planning to appoint a Crown observer to monitor the council.

However, DIA spokesperson Richard Hardie told MPs today that no decisions had been made.

"Following the OAG [Office of the Auditor-General] report the Minister sought some further information from the council.

"Council has responded and now the Minister is considering what her next steps will be, which is an ongoing process at the moment", he said.

Mr Hardie confirmed that no Crown observer had been appointed and that Ms Mahuta had a range of options she was considering.