Governance Manual

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3.2.10 Gifts, fees, endorsements and outside activities

 

  1. Elected members may receive gifts in their political or personal capacity, but need to be mindful of the perception that accepting a gift can bring. They must declare every gift received of more than NZ$300 (this is the current limit), excluding gifts from family members. The Code of Conduct states that where they are part of the decision-making process, they should not accept any gifts from parties tendering for contracts or taking part in a regulatory process. 

  2. Key principles for elected members to consider before accepting a gift include: 

    • their declaration on taking office to act in the best interests of Auckland as a whole or their local board area [1] 

    • possible public perception that receiving the gift might affect their ability to approach decisions fairly and without a conflict of interest

    • that Auckland Council needs to “conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner” [2]

  3. Public confidence in elected members’ ability to carry out their duties impartially will be enhanced if information on gifts, fees, endorsements and outside activities received or undertaken by elected members is readily available. This is generally provided through:

    • an elected member declaring an interest in a particular agenda item at a business meeting, withdrawing from the debating table and taking no part in the discussion or voting on an item

    • the annual declaration of interests (see Elected member declarations on Auckland Council's website [3])

  4. The perception of a conflict of interest is as important as the reality when it comes to gifts, fees, endorsements and outside activities. A perceived conflict of interest undermines the public’s confidence in elected members and their ability to make decisions lawfully and fairly.

  5. The laws around bribes and inappropriate gifts or rewards are covered in the Secret Commissions Act 1910 and the Crimes Act 1961, and are listed in the Code of Conduct.

 

 

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