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Update: Firm appointed for council review

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FILE
FILE

A top international accountancy firm has been given the job of undertaking an independent review of the Rotorua District Council's finances.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick confirmed yesterday that PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers) will undertake an independent review into past Rotorua District Council financial disclosures after issues were revealed by the council's new chief financial officer. The report will cost between $40,000 and $45,000.

Mrs Chadwick said it was important the work was completed by an external firm so the findings could help council to move forward towards its shared vision for Rotorua 2030.

"PwC have a global reputation for completing thorough and impartial reviews and as a council we require just that so the past can be the past and we can then channel our efforts and resources into the present and future needs of this district."

Mrs Chadwick previously announced the review in response to public concerns about whether councillors had access to all financial information needed for making sound financial decisions and whether residents had access to enough information during annual planning processes.

She said the scope of the review was to investigate the adequacy of past financial disclosures made to councillors, and those made to the public during long-term plan and annual plan processes, and would cover the last two years.

It will also seek comment on the new framework proposed by current council management to control the organisation's finances and reporting procedures.

Council chief executive Geoff Williams said the final report was expected to be presented to the mayor and councillors before the end of the financial year on June 30. Outcomes of the report would be made public.

The Rotorua Daily Post has received a lot of feedback regarding the council's recent financial disclosures.

One letter writer said: "Maybe there will be some finger pointing and recrimination, but no one will be liable to repay money spent. Instead the ratepayers will foot a bill that, apart from being a windfall for an accounting firm, will do nothing for our community," the writer, Margaret MacAlister, said.

Rotorua's V Whibley wrote a review of council finances was needed, but was not sure if the process would be completely independent.

"Just like we have found we couldn't trust people in the past, how do we know we can trust the current ones to report and hide aspects as it suits them?"

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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