An Auckland developer offered $1 to take control of a public boat shed at Wynyard Quarter.
Tawera Group chairman Mike Mahoney sought to fund the development of the historic Vos boat shed in return for a 125-year lease on the council-owned land and $1 for the assets, according to documents obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act (OIA).
In a letter to Panuku chief executive Roger MacDonald, Mahoney expressed an interest in the boat shed restoration project because of a life-long interest in classic boats.
Panuku is Auckland Council's development agency overseeing the restoration and management of the boat shed.
Mahoney said the Vos project was a potential home for his classic boat projects, the NZ Traditional Boat School and other associated marine industries.
"Tawera are available and have the capacity to agree a plan, develop a critical path and reconstruct the building in 2017 - but we need to move immediately," Mahoney said in his letter to MacDonald in January 2017.
Panuku approved a $4.7 million restoration of the boat shed in July 2017, but has still to decide how it will be run and managed.
Work began in November last year. The amount of asbestos in the building is more extensive than initially envisaged and Panuku is scoping the extra work. Restoration work is due to be completed by mid next year. This will be followed by a second stage to reinstate the slipway.
Board chairwoman Adrienne Young-Cooper said executives and staff of the council's development arm are approached from time-to-time by parties with ideas and proposals for a wide range of properties and projects.
"This is why it is important for Panuku to have checks, processes and policies in place to ensure decisions are made in an appropriate manner, either under delegated authority or by the board," she said.
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No decisions have been made as to how the Vos boat yard is going to be run and managed, Young-Cooper said.
"There are several parties who have expressed an interest over the years and Mahoney is one of them," she said.
The letter was part of an official information response from Panuku to the Herald to do with a helicopter trip by MacDonald to the Bay of Islands as a guest of Mahoney.
Young-Cooper corrected the record about the trip after telling the Herald in July it was her understanding that when MacDonald accepted the invitation of a day's sailing in the Bay of Islands he did not know he would be travelling by helicopter.
When Panuku went back and looked at the email trail in response to the Herald request there was an email to MacDonald to say the trip would be by helicopter, Young-Cooper said.
The email, from Mahoney a week before the trip said: "Plan is to leave Mechanics Bay helipad on Friday morning at 0730."
MacDonald told Young-Cooper that his recollection was he did not know he was travelling by helicopter until he turned up at Mechanics Bay, she said.
"I accept when he said to me he doesn't recollect reading the email he was going by helicopter. I do take him at his word," Young-Cooper said.
The helicopter trip was picked up by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigating fraud claims by mayoral candidate John Tamihere over the sale of the council's Civic Administration Building to Civic Lane Ltd, which is owned by Tawera Group's chief financial officer John Love.
The SFO cleared Panuku of any wrongdoing over the $3m sale but raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest involving MacDonald, saying "its acceptance was ill-advised".
The trip by MacDonald did not warrant a formal investigation or impact on any decisions made by Panuku, the SFO said, but "it did risk creating a perception of impropriety" and recommended the CCO review its hospitality and gifts policy.
Young-Cooper said the review is well under way.
MacDonald and Mahoney declined to comment.