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Big Budget PR Spending to be Brought to Heel

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Wednesday 9 April 2008

Big Budget PR Spending to be Brought to Heel

City Vision-Labour Councillors strongly support the conclusions of the independent review of Auckland City Council's Communications and Marketing group and believe that it is possible and desirable to reduce costs while increasing the effectiveness of the group's activities.

Councillor Richard Northey said he had insisted that action on the report and its recommendations be considered and actioned at the May meeting of Council's Finance and Strategy Committee and he was pleased that the Citizens and Ratepayers majority had agreed to this request.

Councillor Northey said he and other City Vision-Labour Councillors would be actively pursuing the review's recommendations, in particular:

- substantially reducing the nearly 500 new brochures and forms produced annually

- further enhancing the Council's website to enable it to be an effective communications medium, including City Vision-Labour Councillors' repeated requests for a significantly improved search engine

- reducing the unquantified and approximate $5-$7m currently spent by Council on activities outside the Communications and Marketing group

- making interaction with the media more rapid and flexible

- responding to the views of residents about what information they want from Council and how it is received

- reducing contracting out of communications and marketing work

Councillor Leila Boyle says "The Communications and Marketing Group has a budget of $5.4m and a staff of 38, yet Council still contracts out a large amount of project work which currently includes 10 separate contractors. The group has significant skills which are not currently used to Council's advantage. Surely we can keep all of this type of work in house and have Council staff do it?"

ENDS

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