A $400 bill for information is proving a sticking point for Masterton district councillors seeking answers to questions over the performance of the trust that runs the all-weather athletics track.
Nearly four months ago the council voted by a narrow margin to seek answers on six-points relating to the track's usage, income derived from it and some other matters which have remained unanswered.
Last week it was revealed the trust was wanting $400 from the council as payment for preparing the information, a request which raised the ire of councillor Brent Goodwin.
Mr Goodwin said the trust had "collected over $1 million in public money" to have the track built and was now saying it would not supply answers to those who had contributed.
Two councillors have close ties with the track trust, Mark Harris and Jonathan Hooker.
When the vote seeking the answers was originally taken Mr Harris was not present and Mr Hooker declared a vested interest and took no part in the discussions or voting.
The council sought details of the trust's insurance cover, an explanation as to why track usage fees were reportedly less than a third of the budgeted amount, why an amount of $10,000 voted to the Track Replacement Fund did not show up in annual accounts, why "income streams" from some sports and fundraising were not evident in the accounts and who by name made up the trust.
At last week's meeting council chief executive Pim Borren confirmed there was a "stumbling block" getting answers for the council.
"One issue is the cost of collecting the information".
Mr Borren said he was not prepared to spend ratepayers' money paying the trust to supply information but that his staff had done what was expected of them by requesting the answers.
Later Mr Goodwin said he was outraged at the audacity of the trust seeking money.
He referred to a letter in the Times-Age by Mr Harris and Mr Hooker which quoted them as saying people should "feel free" to ask any questions of the Track Trust and said that very wording clearly implied the answers would be given without a cost being imposed.
"The way I see it is they want to charge the public, through the district council, for holding them to account for their seemingly poor performance on this $1 million publicly-funded blue elephant," he said.
Mr Goodwin has since contacted Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson and has suggested she should order Mr Harris and Mr Hooker to give answers to the questions at the next Policy and Finance meeting.
If they refuse then the mayor should invoke Standing Orders to find them in contempt of council and order them from the council chamber, he said.
"I believe these two councillors, who sit and demand accountability from others in the normal course of council business, are failing to apply the same standard to themselves.
"This hypocrisy, if tolerated, can only lower council's reputation with the community," he said.