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18 January 2012
Guidance on managing conflicts of interest
NZUAG Inc reminds local authorities who manage both road and utility assets that they have a conflict of interest as defined in the Utilities Access Act 2010, and need to disclose this.
Section 2.6 in the Code details how to proceed. If no current policy on managing conflicts of interests exists, Corridor Managers should now develop the policy. The key features are:
- How they will ensure that applications from council utility operators are treated the same as applications from external utility operators. This includes ensuring council utility operators lodge applications, including paying fees for processing CARs if these are imposed on external utility operators.
- CARs are processed by different staff or agents (say in the Roading or compliance departments) from those who lodge applications to undertake work on council utility assets.
- All relevant staff or agents must know and understand the policy, and comply with it fully.
- Records are kept which demonstrate compliance with the policy. These can be electronic or paper-based.
Corridor Managers should write to all their local Utility Operators advising them of what their procedures are, and copy this to NZUAG Inc. It is an opportunity for councils to introduce their designated Corridor Manager to relevant parties.
Utility Operators who operate more than one utility (such as providing gas and electricity services) should also be advising of this conflict of interest. The best way would be to write to all utility operators in the area/s of operation, and copy this to NZUAG Inc.
NZUAG Inc is maintaining a register of conflicts of interest as required by the Code, and plans to put this on the website for ease of use.