A former Delta board member involved in approving land
purchases at Jacks Point and Luggate says an inquiry by the
Office of the Auditor-general is a "storm in a teacup".
However, other key players in the land acquisitions are
refusing to comment until after the Auditor-general's inquiry
is complete - a process that could take up to a year.
Norman Evans yesterday told the Otago Daily Times he
was confident the purchases had been handled correctly by the
Delta board, no conflicts of interest existed, and there was
He believed the Auditor-general's inquiry would confirm this.
"It's a storm in a teacup. I'm quite relaxed about it.
"There's nothing wrong been done."
His comment follow confirmation on Wednesday the OAG would
investigate all aspects of Delta's decision to spend $14.12
million on property at Jacks Point, in Queenstown, and
Luggate, near Wanaka, in 2008 and 2009.
The move came after Delta - a Dunedin City Council-owned
company - last month confirmed a $9 million write-down in the
value of its investments, including by $7.5 million for the
two property purchases.
The OAG inquiry would include how and why the purchases were
made, consideration of risks, compliance with legislation and
the identification and management of any conflicts of
interest, as well as to what extent the Dunedin City Council
The Delta board has been largely overhauled since the
property purchases, leaving only incumbent chairman Ray
Polson and director Stuart McLauchlan.
Mr Evans and fellow Delta directors Ross Liddell and Mike
Coburn were replaced earlier this month by two new directors,
while Paul Hudson - also a city councillor - resigned earlier
this year and George Douglas left in December 2008.
Mr Evans told the ODT that, as far as he was aware,
all decisions relating to the land purchases had been handled
properly at Delta board meetings, based on "strict
"I don't know of anything untoward, and I'm pretty sure there
wasn't ... so I'm pretty happy.
"I think people will see that everything was done properly,
and that's totally appropriate. I've got no problem with
people checking to see if things are done properly, because
they should on occasion."
However, asked about write-down that resulted, and whether he
had any regrets, Mr Evans refused to discuss "the details or
mechanics of the thing".
"You'll have to talk to the chairman about that."
The chairman, Mr Polson, would only say Delta would
"co-operate completely" with the Auditor-general's inquiry
but make no further comment until after it was complete.
Asked if OAG rules prevented him discussing the deals
publicly during the inquiry, Mr Polson said: "Not that I'm
"It's just due process, isn't it?
"The investigation's under way. We'll co-operate completely
with the investigation and there will be comment made at the
Mr Hudson - also the former Dunedin City Holdings Ltd
chairman and a city councillor - said when contacted overseas
he was unaware the inquiry had been confirmed, but would not
"I'm out of it. I don't comment on things now of anything to
do with the companies.
"I'm not a board member anymore and as part of my resignation
I agreed I wouldn't comment on anything, so I won't comment
Mr Coburn said when contacted he was in a meeting, but would
respond to ODT questions later in the day.
Contacted later, he declined to comment until after the
investigation was complete.