Two Rotorua councillors are calling for a more in-depth, independent review into the cost of Mudtopia.

Raj Kumar and Peter Bentley said the public still had questions about the event which was dogged with issues, including the cost to ratepayers, controversy over importing mud and ticket giveaways.

"There are so many questions being asked out there by the public with regard to finances," Bentley said.

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"I'd like to see an independent, forensic audit."

Bentley took aim at the almost $400,000 which had been spent on festival directors.

He said in his opinion, "it seems exorbitant for a three-day function".

The pair is calling for a more in-depth breakdown and look at the costs of putting on the event which was, earlier in the year, revealed to be $1,681,814. The loss suffered was $600,238.

Since the event in December last year the council has decided to no longer financially support the festival.

Kumar said he didn't believe the final report into the costs was good enough and it needed to have more detail.

"We need to be more transparent," he said.

"I think there should be an independent inquiry into the event."


Bentley agreed the council's Audit and Risk Committee should look at the event but said it could also go to the Auditor General.

"This audit will not cost council anything, it's just to clear the air and get the facts out there so the general public can be reassured they are in financially capable hands," he said.

"It's still a very dominant topic of conversation with ratepayers. They've still got questions. If the public perception is there's something funny going on we've got to put their fears to bed."

Kumar said the council had a "responsibility to ratepayers".

The pair tried to raise Mudtopia as an urgent item at the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee meeting last week but were told they couldn't by chairwoman Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

Raukawa-Tait later told the Rotorua Daily Post Mudtopia was not an urgent item as it didn't involve making a decision.

"I really believe in terms of urgent items we've got to be quite specific and give the chair a heads up and if it doesn't warrant a decision to be made it won't be urgent."

She said Mudtopia had "run its course".

"It wasn't successful in hindsight. Lessons have been learned but Mudtopia is done and dusted and now we've got to concentrate on some other projects we're doing."

The council's chief financial officer Thomas Collé said the financial reports related to Mudtopia had been reported to elected members and were part of the council's financials for the 2017/18 year.

"These are currently being audited by Audit New Zealand as part of annual reporting. There has been no directive from elected members to present further on Mudtopia financials."

The Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group is also calling for the audit.

The purpose of the Audit and Risk Committee
- To monitor the council's external and internal audit process.
- To ensure the council fulfils its legal responsibilities.
- Ensure the independence and effectiveness of the council's internal audit processes.
- Monitor existing and recommend new corporate policies.
- Provide a communication link between management, auditors and the council.
- Members: J Brosnahan (chair), Judith Stanway (deputy), Mayor Steve Chadwick, Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, Cr Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Cr Charles Sturt.
Source: Rotorua Lakes Council

Rotorua Lakes Council spent $1.6 million on the three-day Mudtopia festival. Photo/File
Rotorua Lakes Council spent $1.6 million on the three-day Mudtopia festival. Photo/File