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.