Former PM Helen Clark says it's "extraordinary" the Eden Park Trust Board went on to appoint a new chief executive despite his charred background.

Nick Sautner landed the board's top job last year despite leaving Australia with a troubled history.

A Federal Court ruling found Saunter, who was in a senior role while at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, used free tickets "like currency", to get work done around his home, on his car, for cheap gym memberships and supermarket vouchers.

Board chairman Doug McKay said that the board had been delighted with Sautner's work ethic and integrity.


"There hasn't been a single incident which has given me cause to doubt him and, unless he proves me wrong, Nick Sautner has our full support."

But Clark has today spoken out to a Stuff story labelling Saunter's appointment as "unethical".

"It is extraordinary that the Eden Park Trust finds nothing to question about the appointment when an Australian Federal Court has found that his misconduct 'included elements of dishonesty'," she told Stuff.

"This sets a very low standard of behaviour for an entity operating under an Act of Parliament. I would describe such behaviour as unethical."

The Federal Court stated in its decision "it should not be overlooked that Mr Sautner's purpose was to treat his unlimited access to tickets as cash, that is as a supplementary form of income.

"Whatever 'for their personal use' meant in the policy, on no reading would that purpose be authorised.

"The 'perk' that staff were being given was not obtaining tickets to use as cash but obtaining tickets so that the staff member, their family, friends and acquaintances could get to attend events at the stadium."

In a statement, Eden Park Trust said the court case was "not new information", and it looked into the issue before hiring Sautner.