The New Zealand Maori Council has asked that the Auditor General intervene and audit the finances and management of the following Councils: Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, New Plymouth and the Far North District Council. The Councils Executive Director, Matthew Tukaki, has told the Auditor General that ‘The New Zealand Maori Council has deep concerns over the financial viability of the Tauranga District Council, the Western Bay Council, The Gisborne City Council, the Far North District Council and New Plymouth Council. The New Zealand Maori Council has great concern that each of the Councils are insolvent. Under Section 18 of the Maori Community Development Act (1962) the New Zealand Maori Council has received correspondence requesting our intervention in this matter. Having reviewed each of the Council’s operating plans, budgets, financial statements and accounts we share the concern around insolvency”.
Tukaki has also said: “The Auditor General / Controller immediately commence audit and review proceedings of each of the Councils – this includes their risk and audit policies, the financial statements and accounts, their operational plans, risk management plans and so on; As you can imagine Maori ratepayers in each of these Local Government areas deserve better from elected officials and their appointed managers. Whanau Maori also deserve more when it comes to the high quality of financial management expected by these same officials”.
Tukaki has gone further and also asked the Minister for Local Government to intervene “If the Councils are insolvent that the Government immediately act and appoint a commissioner until the next Local Body elections. Here is the point – these Councils like to tell us all how to do things, why we can’t do things and at the end of the day some of them are the worst performing, mismanaged, potentially insolvent organisations in the country – many of them could not manage a rat out of a trap. So its time to push back against these pontificating, empire building, mis-managers of rate payer funds”. Tukaki said
“We have analysed the books and in our assessment they have been left wanting – all ratepayers, all communities should expect better and they must get what they paid for – not Councils laden with debt, approving projects that put them more in debt and basically go on spendathons”.
“And all other Councils should be on notice – get yourselves sorted or you’ll likely receive the same attention”. Tukaki said