Mayor an­nounces pro­cesses re­view


The Far North District Coun­cil has an­nounced it will con­duct an in­de­pen­dent re­view of its pro­cure­ment pro­cesses fol­low­ing an Auck­land High Court de­ci­sion which found it breached them.

Ken Rin­toul’s con­struc­tion com­pany Rin­toul Group took the coun­cil to court af­ter a dis­pute arose in 2016 around build­ing sec­tions of the na­tional cy­cle trail.

Rin­toul Group, based in Kaikohe, was ex­cluded from four ten­der con­tracts to com­plete sec­tions of the trail from the Hokianga Har­bour to Opua de­spite hav­ing com­pleted other sec­tions of the trail.

Jus­tice Mathew Downs, of the Auck­land High Court, de­cided the coun­cil could not uni­lat­er­ally ex­clude Rin­toul from the four con­tracts.

Rin­toul has sought dam­ages for lost op­por­tu­nity for profit. While Rin­toul has said pre­vi­ously he would be seek­ing around $500,000 this could be higher, he says.

The judge said Rin­toul’s price for four trail sec­tions was more than $630,000 cheaper than ri­vals’, which was a lot of money for a small lo­cal author­ity, even when fund­ing from cen­tral govern­ment was con­sid­ered.

Rin­toul says the dis­pute will cost ratepay­ers $1 mil­lion in­clud­ing the set­tle­ment pay­ment, the $630,000 for the more ex­pen­sive cy­cle trail con­tract, and le­gal fees.

Both par­ties were given 15 work­ing days from May 29 to agree on a sum. On June 7, Rin­toul said he was yet to hear from the coun­cil.

Mayor John Carter says a pro­posal to set up a re­view panel will be tabled at the next full coun­cil meet­ing on June 22.

The pro­posal will rec­om­mend that a panel be es­tab­lished to re­view the coun­cil’s pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures to en­sure they are fair and ro­bust.

‘‘This re­view will look at all our pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures and where it finds fault, changes will be made,’’ Carter says.

‘‘Our aim is for all con­trac­tors, res­i­dents and ratepay­ers to be con­fi­dent that our pro­ce­dures are fair, ro­bust and trans­par­ent.’’

While the pro­cure­ment pol­icy was re­viewed in June and July 2016, the re­view will fo­cus more on the op­er­a­tional side as a con­se­quence of that, Carter says.

‘‘We will look at how we are op­er­at­ing, the courts found we didn’t do as well as we could have. So we will look at what hap­pened and how we can en­sure it doesn’t hap­pen again.’’

Mayor John Carter.

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