Conflict-of-interest warning

Dunedin city councillors are to be reminded of the need to avoid conflicts of interest at all meetings of the council and its committees.

However, council staff say the move is not a response to a recent outcry after two councillors argued for an events fund in the council's draft budget, despite running businesses that could benefit from it.

The claims levelled against Crs Kate Wilson and Richard Thomson were rejected by the Office of the Auditor-general, meaning both can participate in discussions and votes on the fund. A brief note will be added to the agenda of each council meeting, reminding councillors of ''the need to stand aside from decision making'' when their council roles and their private interests collide.

The note appeared for the first time on the agenda for next week's full council meeting, made public on Thursday, and would be added to all subsequent council and committee meetings, council governance manager Sandy Graham said.

It was part of a continued move towards greater transparency in the council, rather than a response to the recent claims, she said. The council had planned to introduce the measure for more than a year, following the example of other councils and boards around the country.

The council also planned to introduce a voluntary register of members' interests, which would list the businesses councillors had a stake in, the boards they sat on, and any other relevant interests.

Ms Graham hoped the register would be implemented by June.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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