Tukituki National candidate Lawrence Yule, who is also president of lobby group Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and former Hastings mayor, has refuted allegations of hiding a slush fund, travel and entertainment expenses as president of LGNZ.
Mr Yule said there was no slush or entertainment fund and the amount charged to LGNZ for overseas travel was about $6000 annually. The majority of travel was funded by an international organisation, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.
LGNZ is funded by councils to push council needs to central government.
The allegations came from another lobby group, the Taxpayer's Union.
"Despite being 100 per cent ratepayer funded, LGNZ enjoys a highly unusual carve-out from freedom of information laws - meaning that the millions pumped into the organisation are effectively a black hole," Taxpayers' Union executive director Jordan Williams said.
"In January, Mr Yule promised the public he would review LGNZ's transparency policy and that they would come back with a decision on whether to release his spending information. But they never have, and instead fudged whenever questions have been asked.
"Just what is LGNZ hiding? Why has Mr Yule worked so hard to keep this information secret? With less than 90 days to go until the general election and with Mr Yule now wanting to stand for Parliament in Tukituki, it's time from some transparency."
Mr Yule said the board of LGNZ decided to not make the information public because it did not wish to create a precedent of releasing costs when not obliged to. Accountability for his role was to the mayors in New Zealand.
"Every year there is an annual report which puts up a full set of accounts - those costs are put before the members."
Mr Yule's last day as LGNZ president is July 23 and, if he is unsuccessful in the parliamentary elections, said he would not run again for mayor.