Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has for the last month been
discussing with the Office of the Auditor-general a potential
investigation into the acquisition of land at Luggate and Jacks
Point, near Queenstown.
A statement on the matter would be issued "in the near
future", Mr Cull said yesterday.
Discussions with the Office of the Auditor-general (OAG)
began in early October, he said.
The potential investigation related to the purchase of
subdivision properties by council infrastructure company
Delta in 2008 and 2009.
The value of those properties had subsequently been written
down by millions of dollars, contributing to Dunedin City
Holdings Ltd's $5 million loss for the year to June.
Mr Cull was asked to comment yesterday on claims by city
councillor Lee Vandervis that he had lodged a formal
complaint to the OAG about the land acquisition.
Cr Vandervis said his questions about who approved the land
purchases had not been adequately answered by Delta, Dunedin
City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) and council staff, prompting his
When contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday,
Delta board chairman Ray Polson said he had been out of the
country and was not aware of the complaint.
Councillors typically requested information about Delta and
other council-owned entities through DCHL, he said.
DCHL chief executive Bevan Dodds said he had no comment to
make in respect of Cr Vandervis' complaint.
The complaint came as no surprise to Cr Vandervis' fellow
Fliss Butcher said she shared his frustration about
information being withheld and looked forward to the outcome
of an investigation.
The "top echelon" of the council, including the mayor and
deputy mayor, were part of an "inner circle" privy to more
information than those on the outside, Cr Butcher said.
Richard Thomson said Cr Vandervis was "perfectly entitled" to
lodge a complaint, but he doubted whether it would make any
"A decision was made that was in retrospect a bad one and an
extremely risky one at the time, but I'm not sure if trying
to get down to whether there was an actual vote or difference
of opinion of those voting is going to add much in the
overall scheme of things," Cr Thomson said.