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Is Audit NZ repeating their Kaipara disaster in Upper Hutt?

The failure of Audit NZ to investigate a legitimate public complaint that allowed the Kaipara Council to construct a new sewerage system that ultimately cost their rate payers over $60 million feels eerily familiar following a recent Upper Hutt City Council meeting.

At that meeting Audit NZ gave a tick of approval for a Long Term Plan that contains a $30 million flood works plan to protect residents in the Pinehaven and Silverstream areas from future flooding.

This was done without any consideration of a local residents group’s verbal and written complaints to Upper Hutt City Council and Audit NZ about flawed hydrology reports from a council contractor being used as a base for critical decisions related to the scope of works, flood plan maps and expenditures and allocations.

Following the Kaipara failure the New Zealand Auditor General at the time, Ms Lyn Provost had to apologise to Kaipara ratepayers at a public meeting for “the failure of Audit NZ to properly assess the impact of the Mangawhai sewerage scheme”.

Ms Provost also highlighted deficiencies in the way complaints were dealt with by Audit NZ as well as the quality of audit work done by them on the Kaipara Councils accounts from 2006 to 2009.

There appears to be a strikingly similar pattern emerging around the Upper Hutt Long Term Plan.

Is it too much to hope that the lessons Audit NZ learned from the Kaipara Council failure can be applied to the Upper Hutt Council Long Term Plan?

If this situation remains uncorrected it could result in disastrous collateral damage to the residents and rate payers of Pinehaven and Silverstream.

A totally unnecessary repeat of what could have been avoided in Kaipara if Audit NZ had done their job and fully investigated the public complaint with due diligence.

Graham Griffiths

Action Committee Communications Team

0212 671 758

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