In my view, the University has not been able to show a justifiable business purpose for purchasing the house.
It is hard to accept that purchasing a house to provide
accommodation for the incoming Vice-Chancellor, and to host an anticipated 14 events in two years, justifies the $5 million expenditure.
Nor does that level of hosting, in my view, justify an almost 50% reduction in the property’s rent.
So in summary the AG is saying the university should not have purchased the house, should not have paid $45 million for it and should not be providing it to the VC at half price.
The Vice-Chancellor’s salary, as publicly disclosed, is in the highest echelon of public sector salaries. Whether or not the salary is high by international standards, or the University considers that to be case, the amount is high enough that the University does not need to offer discounted accommodation for the Vice-Chancellor.
The VC is the 5th highest paid public official in NZ. They indeed don’t need taxpayers giving them a 50% rent discount.