Governance Manual

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4.8.3 Gifts

 

  1. The mayor may receive gifts in his or her mayoral, political or personal capacity but needs to be mindful of the perception that accepting a gift can bring. As with all elected members, the mayor must declare every gift received of more than NZ$300 (this is the current limit), excluding gifts from family members [1]. 

  2. The mayor will receive assistance from the mayor’s office in completing this task, while other elected members are assisted by Democracy Services. The mayor’s office and Democracy Services should ensure that the protocols for doing so are consistent.

  3. The mayor should not accept any gifts (including hospitality or entertainment) from parties to any regulatory or procurement process with the council (such as a tendering) [2].

  4. The mayor may receive civic gifts from visiting officials, e.g. foreign governments or cities.  This is an accepted practice and refusal is likely to cause offence. Such gifts are more in the nature of gifts to the office than to the incumbent mayor. If they are significant gifts, they should be relinquished by the mayor to the council before or at the time of leaving office [3].

  5. The mayor is from time to time offered cultural gifts, such as koha, melofa, lafo or quanxi. Cultural gifts are traditionally offered to honour and show respect for relationships, and reflect concepts such as service to others, reciprocity, hospitality, and responsibility.

  6. Although cultural gifts may be offered to a mayor with the best of intentions, accepting such gifts may create a perception of a conflict of interest or accusations of double-dipping. The mayor should return gifts of cash or funds immediately, with a respectful statement explaining that he or she honours the intent behind the gift, but that it is his/her job to serve, and that he/she is already well remunerated for the work. Acceptance of other cultural gifts, such as fine mats or food is unlikely to create the same perception problems.

  7. Key principles for all elected members to consider before accepting a gift include the following (for further information see Section 3.2.10: Gifts, fees, endorsements and outside activities):

    • their declaration on taking office to act in the best interests of Auckland as a whole or their local board area [4]

    • 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” [5]  

 

 

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