16 Oct 2015

Council criticised over potential CEO conflict

2:17 pm on 16 October 2015

The Auditor-General has criticised the Queenstown Lakes District Council for the way it handled a potential conflict of interest by its chief executive, Adam Feeley.


A potential conflict involving a property development (not pictured) was handled correctly but another aspect was not, the report said. Photo: 123RF

In a report released today, the Auditor-General found the council handled a potential conflict of interest resulting from Mr Feeley's involvement in a private property development scheme correctly. It said no inappropriate influence was exercised by Mr Feeley.

But the report said the council should have made it clear in its employment contract with Mr Feeley that he should not get involved in private projects that could cause conflicts.

Mr Feeley, who is the former head of the Serious Fraud Office, declared the potential conflict when he became involved in a scheme to build affordable housing near Arrowtown.

The Council sought advice from the Auditor-General's office and followed its advice on separating Mr Feeley from decisions relating to the housing development.

Read the full report from the Auditor-General.

But today's report highlighted that Mr Feeley's ability to act as chief executive was affected because he had to avoid involvement in discussions around affordable housing and the Arrowtown project.

The report said that Mr Feeley's employment contract should have identified this problem in advance, and made it clear that involvement in certain types of private projects was either discouraged or not allowed.

In a statement released this morning, Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van Uden said the recommendations made by the Auditor-General had already been addressed.

Mr Feeley is currently attending a conference in Korea and was unavailable for comment.