Land purchases report imminent

The findings of a major investigation into Delta's multimillion-dollar land acquisitions at Jacks Point and Luggate are expected to be released next week.

However, exactly what the Office of the Auditor-general has found after more than a year investigating the purchases remained a closely-guarded secret yesterday.

The report was due to be officially published by Parliament's speaker - who would table the report at 2pm on Thursday - and it would appear on the Auditor-general's website minutes later, OAG staff confirmed.

OAG staff were to discuss the report yesterday, and the Otago Daily Times understands only a handful of others have seen draft versions of it.

Mayor Dave Cull said, when contacted, he was not even aware it was set to be published, and was yet to see a draft, but could not comment anyway.

Publication would end a wait of more than a year, to November 2012, when it was confirmed the OAG was to investigate the purchases.

The probe was to cover all aspects of the council-owned company's decision to spend $14.12 million on property at Jacks Point, in Queenstown, and Luggate, near Wanaka, in 2008 and 2009.

That included how and why the purchases were made, consideration of risks, compliance with legislation, and the identification and management of any conflicts of interest, the OAG said at the time.

The OAG would also consider to what extent the Dunedin City Council - as the shareholder of Delta's parent company, Dunedin City Holdings Ltd - was involved, and any other matters considered ''desirable'' to report on.

The announcement of the probe came just a month after Delta confirmed it was writing down the value of its investments by $9 million, including by $7.5 million for the Jacks Point and Luggate properties.

Mr Cull, speaking at the time, said he had contacted the OAG after receiving new information about the land purchases, which he would not discuss.

However, the information, and the OAG's decision to investigate, meant the integrity of the council companies was on the line, he believed.

''There's clearly questions and concerns that go to the heart of council and community confidence in the integrity, potentially, of council company process.''

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

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