Auckland Council has admitted reducing its charges for Waiheke Marinas Limited by $76,601, cutting almost 25% off the original bill.
In December, Direction Matiatia spokesperson Merran Lawler claimed that the council had done a secret deal with the company, waiving about $192,000 of the invoice to Waiheke Marinas Limited for the costs of its marina application.
The council refused to provide information about whether it had made special arrangements with the marina company over its charges, but has now responded to a Gulf News request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA).
The marina company was initially charged $310,749 for processing its resource consent application, but this was dropped to $234,148 after the company asked for a review of the charges.
“The agreed reduction was for a range of reasons including double-ups in reporting, officer research not solely required for the application, the extent of the legal overview required in the pre-court phase, and specialist review costs in particular areas,” says Privacy and LGOIMA business partner for the council, Isis van Geenan.
Council senior media communication and engagement specialist Joanna Glasswell said in December that the council’s bill to the marina company had been partly paid.
Ms Lawler says the original $310,749 council charge for Waiheke Marinas Limited sounds “reasonable” and it is disappointing that the council chose to reduce its fees for the company.
She had been told that the marina company would pay more to the council if the Environment Court approved its marina plans, but the council denies this.
“The decision from the court has no bearing on the cost application the council has made in seeking to compensate for officers’, consultant and legal costs associated with the hearing,” says Ms van Geenan.
The Environment Court turned down the bid for a marina at Matiatia before Christmas and this week awarded Auckland Council $530,423 for court costs related to Waiheke Marinas Limited’s marina proposal. The company has been put into liquidation. • Rose Davis