Debt clarification sought

The Dunedin City Council is to seek clarification over any liability for the Otago Rugby Football Union's $1.2 million debt formerly owed to the Bank of New Zealand.

BNZ staff last month confirmed to the Otago Daily Times they had agreed to wipe the ORFU's outstanding debt, in return for a commercial package negotiated with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

The write-off was part of the rescue package negotiated to save the ORFU from liquidation.

However, the issue re-emerged at yesterday's council finance, strategy and development committee meeting, when Cr Lee Vandervis asked for clarification of the write-off.

He said some ratepayers had raised concerns "as recently as today" the council might still be liable for interest payments from the debt, as part of its agreement to underwrite ORFU debts for three years after the sale of Carisbrook.

In response, council finance and resources general manager Athol Stephens said he was not aware of arrangements between the bank and the union, but doubted any charges were coming.

Council chief executive Paul Orders said he had been assured by ORFU representatives the council was not liable, but he would seek confirmation from bank representatives.


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