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Inquiry into Auckland Council’s management of the project to develop a new town centre at Massey North

11 February 2015

The Auditor-General has decided to carry out an inquiry into Auckland Council’s management of the project to develop a new town centre in Massey North. This document sets out the terms of reference for the inquiry.

Background

In 2010, Waitakere City Council entered into a set of agreements with New Zealand Retail Property Group Limited (NZRPG) and related companies for the development of a new town centre at Massey North. This development is part of the overall Northern Strategic Growth Area (NorSGA) project. The agreements set up a collaborative project between the Council and NZRPG, with NZRPG managing the construction project for both the Council’s and its own parts of the development.

Auckland Council became responsible for the project when it was created on 1 November 2010.

A number of concerns have been raised with us about the way in which the project was established and is being managed, largely relating to how the line between the public and private benefits of the project has been managed.

The Auditor-General has decided that it is appropriate to examine and report on these matters, given the public sector’s continuing interest in exploring new ways of working with private sector partners and the novel collaborative arrangements in this project.

The inquiry into the project will focus on the period from 1 November 2010, but the background section of the report will describe events before that, as they are relevant to setting the context for the matters we will inquire into.

The inquiry

The inquiry will examine:

  • the steps Auckland Council took to assess the project and to put in place appropriate management and reporting systems for the project;
  • how Auckland Council is:
    • managing the risks of conflicts of interest and related-party transactions within this project; and
    • ensuring appropriate separation and allocation of costs for the work carried out for the benefit of Auckland Council and for NZRPG;
  • how Auckland Council is checking, monitoring, and reporting on the project’s costs and benefits (both tangible and intangible) and progress to management, Auckland Council, and the public; and
  • any other matters that the Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

The inquiry will be carried out under section 18 of the Public Audit Act 2001. We will not comment while our inquiry is under way, but will publish a report when we have completed the inquiry.

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