Three more former CERA staff members are under investigation after allegations of conflicts of interest.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) chief executive Andrew Kibblewhite confirmed the investigations at an appearance before a Parliamentary committee today.

A report after an inquiry by former solicitor-general Michael Heron QC was released on Tuesday and found Gerard Gallagher and Simon Nikoloff had a clear conflict of interest when arranging property deals through their own private company.

Their actions have been referred to the Serious Fraud Office.


A third CERA staffer, Murray Cleverley, was a shareholder in the same company, but the report found no evidence that he was involved in its operations.

Today, Kibblewhite told the committee that allegations have been made about three other former CERA staff members, and the DPMC would investigate them.

Labour MPs repeatedly questioned Kibblewhite why the DPMC would not widen those investigations to see if there were other staff members with conflicts of interest.

Labour's Megan Woods, MP for Wigram, said such allegations were something rarely made in New Zealand and a wider "health check" was needed.

"You are saying you will keep it to a shopping list of three. Why?"

Kibblewhite said the Heron report found there were not systemic issues and "at this stage we are following the evidence that we have".

After the committee hearing, Kibblewhite said his department always looked at how it could ensure the integrity of operations and staff.

"We are looking at specific allegations that have been raised. If they sort of lay down tracks that we need to follow further that is absolutely what we will do."


Kibblewhite would not provide further detail about the allegations or employment of the former staff members, but did confirm they were not transferred from CERA to Otakaro, the agency now responsible for key projects in Christchurch.

"There have basically been some suggestions that have been put up by the individuals who have proven to have acted inappropriately."

The Finance and Expenditure Committee has agreed to call representatives of Otakaro to appear before it.

In his report, Heron found Nikoloff and Gallagher were using a private company, Project and Investment Ltd (PIML) to try make a business deal for personal gain.

The deal related to the same property and parties they were dealing with in their roles as CERA employees, and they did not disclose their personal interest to either the parties or their employer.

Gallagher and Nikoloff were both working with Otakaro when CERA was disestablished. An investigation by the chief executive of Otakaro found the two men had behaved in a similar way while employed there.

Gallagher and Nikoloff on Tuesday released a joint statement claiming CERA's legal and leadership team were fully aware of their outside business interests.

"Coming from a business background, we have pursued various business interests since before joining CERA, and these interests were fully disclosed to CERA.

"In fact, CERA hired us because they needed our extensive private business networks, knowledge and commercial expertise; expertise and connections that CERA did not have. They chose not to advise us there was a potential conflict. We acknowledge we should have declared what we were doing in writing."

They said they disclosed information of their private transactions to CERA's in-house lawyers and to their own lawyers, who also acted for CERA.