Waikato councillors' charges for food and accommodation in line with council policy.
An investigation by Audit New Zealand into expenses claimed by the Waikato Regional Council's senior politicians has found the spending to be in line with council policy.
Audit New Zealand has found the chairman's and deputy chairman's costs to be consistent with the council's own policy on councillor expenses after looking at them more closely during its annual audit.
The examination followed media reports that deputy chairman Simon Friar had claimed more than $40,000 for the year to June.
Audit New Zealand noted "no issues" with Mr Friar, who lives in Whangamata, claiming $50 a night to stay at his son's house when in Hamilton for council business for 111 nights in 2011/12.
The auditor was also "comfortable" with last month's changes to the policy that gave councillors staying privately an extra option of $70 for food and accommodation because it was consistent within the public sector in addition to the existing overnight allowance of $50 plus "actual and reasonable costs" for food.
In his verbal report to the council, auditor Ben Halford recommended that a more senior person should be involved in reviewing an expense claim or that the process also be reviewed by another senior manager to bring it in line with the Office of the Auditor-General's best practice guidelines.
Waikato Regional Council chairman Peter Buckley, who said he had purposely refrained from commenting on the expenses claimed until Audit New Zealand gave its opinion, was pleased Mr Friar had been "completely vindicated" because he felt he had been unfairly targeted in the media.
He said that Mr Friar had saved ratepayers more than $7000 a year by choosing to stay with family instead of at more costly hotels and motels.
While the council's policy did not offer incentives for councillors to reduce expenses, Mr Buckley did not think it was flawed because Mr Friar and other councillors always looked for the cheapest deal for ratepayers.
Mr Friar said Audit New Zealand's finding was "an inevitable outcome" because he knew he had acted within the policy.
He said that in his five years on the council, he constantly looked at making savings in all areas and the majority of people who had spoken to him about his expense claims sympathised with his position.
"I'm just trying to think of anybody who had personally approached me and taken umbrage with the manner in which I've claimed, and I'm pretty sure I can say without contradiction that no one has approached me in that manner."