Hall stays silent after meeting

One of Dunedin's incoming city councillors, businessman Doug Hall, is remaining tight-lipped about conflicts of interest after a top-level meeting with Dunedin City Council staff yesterday.

However, council staff have agreed to seek advice from the Office of the Auditor-general (OAG) to help clarify the position, following a request from Mr Hall, it has been confirmed.

The move comes after Mr Hall met council chief executive Paul Orders and corporate services group manager Sandy Graham to discuss possible conflicts of interest yesterday morning.

That included Mr Hall's legal dispute with the council over the realignment of State Highway 88, running past his transport business next to the road, which is set to play out in the Environment Court next year.

Mr Hall said after the meeting any statement would come from Ms Graham, although he did not predict major difficulties.

''There's no issue ... Sandy's working through all that. She's going to come back to me. Anything can be worked through.''

He would not say what other conflicts he expected might arise, or whether yesterday's discussions included any attempt to resolve the standoff over the SH88 realignment.

''I know it's awkward. I'd love to sit down and - but it's not going to happen just now.''

Ms Graham said the meeting was ''constructive'', but did not include any attempt to resolve the SH88 dispute.

Instead, talk of SH88 focused only on any possible conflict of interest arising from Mr Hall's involvement in the legal proceedings and his duties as a councillor.

The potential for other conflicts to arise was also discussed, given Mr Hall's interests, she said.

As a result, Ms Graham said she had been asked by Mr Hall to contact the OAG for advice, but it was not yet known how long that process might take.

''He has requested that I action that for him,'' Ms Graham said.

She would seek advice on ''any matters where there may be a conflict'', including SH88, but would not say what other potential conflicts had been identified.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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