17 Sep 2011

Dunedin mayor's conduct criticised

5:59 am on 17 September 2011

A public fight over a shortfall at Dunedin City Council has escalated, with criticism of the conduct of Mayor Dave Cull.

Dunedin City Holdings chair Paul Hudson says Mr Cull has damaged the council's reputation.

The mayor has been highlighting the $8 million the council expected but will not be paid next year as evidence that the governance of the council's companies need an overhaul.

But Mr Hudson says the mayor's actions are politically motivated and have harmed the companies.

Dunedin City Holdings includes power company Aurora, lines company Delta and a forestry company.

At the the release of the companies' annual results on Friday, Mr Hudson said the criticism was unjustified.

Pre-tax profit rose from $12 million to $18 million in the last financial year, though a decision to sell Citibus cost the city more than $2 million.

Mr Hudson says the performance of the companies in the past year was outstanding, and ending the practice of paying higher dividends to the council than the profit made was the only responsible action.

On Friday Dave Cull rejected accusations he has damaged the council's subsidiary companies and says there is no basis to Mr Hudson's criticisms.

The mayor says the review of the companies was comprehensive and the Dunedin City Holdings board was well briefed in advance of its conclusions.

Mr Cull says annual results for the companies released on Friday without prior warning are an example of poor communication.