Thames Coromandel District Council: Asset Registers and Other Matters.

This report contains our findings regarding a complaint made to the Audit Office by the Concerned Citizens of the Coromandel Peninsula (CCC) about certain actions of the Thames Coromandel District Council (the Council).

Although the complaint raised over 50 issues, our report addresses only those issues that we considered to be of most significance. These relate mainly to the process followed by the Council in preparing asset registers, plus nine other issues.

There is no doubt that the Council made errors in the preparation of its asset registers. In this regard, the Council is little different from many other local authorities that have also struggled to produce accurate asset registers.

In parts of the Coromandel, the debate over the accuracy of the registers has been complicated by CCC's insistence that the asset registers have been deliberately overstated so as to increase rating levels. We do not believe this was ever the Council's intention. However, because of the acrimonious nature of the debate, the relationship between the Council and the groups represented by CCC now appears to have completely broken down. This is unfortunate, as the ratepayer groups have sincerely held views and have a valid and useful contribution to make to local issues such as the valuation of assets.

In our view, there needs to be a continuing exchange of views and ideas between the Council and the groups represented by CCC. We are willing to play a part in assisting in any way we can to establish such discussions.

K B Brady
Deputy Controller and Auditor-General

27 July 2001