Appendix 1: Terms of reference for our inquiry

Inquiry into the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme.

16 March 2012

The Auditor-General, Lyn Provost, has decided to carry out an inquiry into the Kaipara District Council's management of the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme. This document sets out the terms of reference for the inquiry.


The construction of the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme has been a significant project for the Kaipara District Council since 1998.

Local ratepayers and the Council have raised concerns about various aspects of the scheme, including the Council's financial management and planning for the scheme. There has been a significant increase in the total cost of the scheme. Other concerns relate to the lawfulness of the Council's decision-making processes and the development contributions and rates used to fund the scheme.

The Council has been carrying out a number of reviews of the scheme, including legal and financial reviews. The Council asked us to carry out an investigation into its decision-making, financial, and contract management processes for the scheme. We agreed to do so.

The inquiry

The inquiry will examine Kaipara District Council's development, implementation, and oversight of the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme (and any related projects), from inception, including:

  • the Council's planning and decision-making, including how well it complied with its policies and strategies, and the legal and other requirements for decision-making;
  • the governance, management, and contracting arrangements for the project;
  • the Council's financial management, monitoring, and reporting;
  • the funding for the scheme, including the use and setting of rates, borrowing, and development contributions;
  • the overall suitability and cost-effectiveness of the scheme that has been constructed.

The inquiry will also consider:

  • the role played by the Council's auditor;
  • the role played by other relevant agencies; and
  • any other matters that the Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

The inquiry is being carried out under section 18(1) of the Public Audit Act 2001. We will publish a report when the inquiry is completed. It will also be presented to Parliament.

How to contribute

We encourage members of the public to let us know their views on the Mangawhai Wastewater Scheme and any concerns they may have about how it has been developed and implemented by the Council and its contractors.

We will arrange some community meetings in Mangawhai for people to talk to us directly.

Written comments can be sent to us, in confidence:

  • by email to; or
  • by post to "Kaipara inquiry", Office of the Auditor-General, Private Bag 3928, Wellington 6140.

Contact for queries

For media queries, please contact:

  • Tamar McKewen on (04) 917 1879, Communications Advisor (Media); or
  • Lynley Jenkins on (04) 917 1520, Manager, Reports and Communications.

For general queries about the inquiry, please contact:

  • Nicola White, Assistant Auditor-General, Legal on (04) 917 1500.
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