Ombudsman investigating councillors claims

Phil Goff. Credit: Getty Images

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is now conducting a formal investigation into two complaints from Auckland Councillors about the release of the central city stadium information.

The investigation comes following a letter penned to Mayor Phil Goff by several of his councillors. Nine Councillors including Daniel Newman of the Papakura-Manurewa Ward signed the letter which raised concerns about Phil Goff’s leadership style and expressed formally their concerns around the report into a proposed downtown stadium.

The letter was shared with media, however in Phil Goff’s response on Wednesday 13 June, he said had not been made aware of the letter.
“Dear Councillors,” the letter read, “Thank you for your letter, marked private and confidential but which I received after its content had been given to the New Zealand Herald yesterday.”
Mayor Goff went on to say he was briefed by Regional Facilities Auckland, on the work they had Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC) do on the stadium in July and October of last year. “I did not request copies of the report done at that time because I did not want the stadium to be a distraction from the key infrastructure investment we needed to address as a priority in the Long Term Plan. I am happy to discuss these issues with you personally or collectively at any time and work with you to produce outcomes that benefit our city and the people we represent,” Mayor Goff wrote in his response.

Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward Councillor Bill Cashmore (who did not sign the letter) said, “Mention was also made around the non-inclusive leadership style. There are dissatisfied councillors around our table and we have and will continue to work for a more inclusive atmosphere and more importantly better relationships.”
He said during the term they had tried several ideas to have open discussion with the whole council body. “Meetings with council staff leaders in my office failed to attract more than five or six councillors at any one time. We are next going to try an open round table discussion.”

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said the first stage of his investigation has now started. “I have written to the Chief Executive of Auckland Council and notified the complainants. I am unable to comment any further as I am required by law to treat all evidence as confidential and all enquiries secret. However, I do wish to complete my investigation as soon as possible given the high public interest in this case.” The full letter and response from the Mayor are available on our website www.thepost.nz

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