Deputy Auditor-General to inquire into convention centre tender

The Office of the has announced:

The Deputy Auditor-General, Phillippa Smith, has decided to carry out an inquiry into the expressions of interest (EOI) process for proposals to establish an international convention centre. This document sets out the terms of reference for the inquiry. …

The inquiry will examine:

  • the overall process for seeking and assessing proposals for an international convention centre;
  • the adequacy of the assessment of the likely costs and benefits of each proposal; and
  • any other matters the Deputy Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

The inquiry is being carried out under sections 16 and 18(1) of the Public Audit Act 2001. We will not comment while the inquiry is under way, but will publish a report when the inquiry is completed.

The Auditor-General has a small share-holding in , so hence the Deputy is doing the inquiry.

It is good that DAG is investigating. On the basis of what is known, I don’t think there is a problem – but sunlight is the best disinfectant. We benefit from having a strong and independent Auditor-General and associated office.

It is important that the decision to in principle award the contract to Sky City was made in a sound and fair way. The inquiry will look into that and either confirm it was, or point out deficiencies – either way it will be good to have its conclusions.

Labour and Greens have called for negotiations to halt during the inquiry. The parties may decide to do this, but I don’t see it as a major issue. Even if a agreement is reached, it can only be enacted by Act of Parliament which would take six to 12 months and go through normal select committee scrutiny.

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