Goff vs Councillors

Stuff reports:

Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s decision to refuse councillors a full copy of a downtown stadium report has landed him in hot water with the Ombudsman. 

Goff was criticised earlier in the week for his handling of a $1 million pre-feasibility report from PwC which looked into the pros and cons of building a new stadium at Auckland’s waterfront.

Several councillors said the report could only be viewed in his office under supervision, leading several concerned councillors to hit out at the mayor.

One of those was Albert-Eden-Roskill ward councillor Cathy Casey, who confirmed the Ombudsman’s office had acknowledged a complaint she made about the mayor’s handling of the report and said it would investigate. 

“At the end of this term I will have had 24 years as a councillor. In that time I have never been treated with such disrespect as this,” Casey said.

Emperor Goff seems to think Councillors don’t have any right to Council information. Bad enough he spends a million dollars on this report without them even knowing about it, but now he won’t even give them a copy.

However Goff’s office said claims the report could only be viewed under supervision were simply “not true”.

A spokesman for Goff said councillors could see the full, un-redacted report anytime they liked – and several had come through without any issues. 

The only thing they dispute is whether a staff member is there in the office with you. They are not disputing that they can only read it in his office.

Councillor Efeso Collins said he was concerned by the lack of trust displayed by the mayor’s handling of the document. 

“It is not a high trust environment where we have to go up to the mayor’s office to view this report under the eye of his staff,” he said.

“I suspect he fears information could be leaked, but that is his issue. We are the elected members of Auckland. If he does not trust us with the findings, who will he trust?”

Denise Lee has a member’s bill which would help remedy this situation. It would enhance the right of Councillors to receive Council information.

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