Irrigation loan decision expected today

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The Waitaki District Council is expected to make a decision regarding a proposed loan to the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) today, but a former councillor is asking for it to be delayed.

Helen Stead said she had written to council requesting a full disclosure of the loan and she has asked for public consultation on the matter before council proceeded any further.

“You can’t extend the loan when you haven’t got information on the original loan available publicly,” she said.

“I believe it’s in the public interest and needs to be addressed.”

In Jul, NOIC asked council for a rollover of its existing loan of $12.7m to June 30, 2022 as well as an additional loan of $9.3m making a total of $22m which council agreed to in principle.

However, the proposed loan has since been cut by $5m to $17m which will be considered by council today.

Mrs Stead has sought information on the loan from council under the Official Information Act. Last week council supplied her with some of this information.

“I’m not going to comment on information I received from the (council) CEO because it is part of a process that has got three weeks to run,” Mrs Stead said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, said council has participated in more public consultation than what they were required to do when making an investment decision.

“Consultation has been happening, we’ve received submissions and there will be people speaking at a forum today.

“We take our responsibilities seriously – we’ve had very good information to assess the risk and interest rate, and there will be more discussion today on improved security.

“So we’ve completed due diligence and will make a decision today accordingly.”