A good start

The Herald reports:

is entering a new era of openness by publishing details about the spending of ratepayer money, says chief executive Stephen Town.

He says the first publication of details of contractors and suppliers last month was part of a bid to give ratepayers better information about how the city is run.

“There was a clear mood in the councillors when I was appointed – we need to strive to be as open and transparent as we can.”

The first stab at it had the council list contractors next to the tasks for which they had been contracted, but with a threshold of $100,000 as the only indication of the cost to ratepayers.

With suppliers, the council listed the company and the value of the supply agreement where it was greater than $100,000 – but didn’t list what was being supplied. It shows $383,049,101 of spending.

This is a good start for transparency.

I’d like to see New Zealand do what some US states have done, and have am Armchair Auditor Act that requires all government (central and local) payments (except staff) to be listed online in a searchable database. We’re paying for them, so should be able to see them.

As part of the proactive approach, Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act requests would be published online a few days after the information was provided to the person sought.

Also welcome. All government agencies and local councils should do this.

The move follows Auckland Transport’s decision to publish detailed lists of contracts over $50,000 which include the reason for the contract, who won it and how much it was worth.

Victoria University’s expert on government accountability, associate professor Michael Macaulay, said transparency led to better governance and allowed the public to analyse expensive projects if they wished. “This is public money we’re talking about.”


As I said, good to see Auckland Council leading the way on something positive.

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