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Auckland Council staff numbers and costs soar

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Media release

Monday, 15 September 2014

Auckland Council staff numbers and costs soar; 1,780 now earning over $100k – up another 20%

Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer, has again released the Auckland Council’s official annual staff numbers and costs saying alarmingly the numbers continue to soar despite Mayor Len Brown’s recent assurances he’s completely on top of the city’s finances and communities face considerable cut-backs.

The figures (including the CCOs) come ahead of the full release of Auckland Council’s Annual Report for the year to 30 June 2014.

“I’ve been releasing these numbers every year, and every year since amalgamation they’ve gone up considerably. Total staff numbers in 2011 were put at 9,300. Now they’re 11,134 (up 518 since 2013 alone). At the same time the council’s total wage and salary bill has risen from $615m to $719m budgeted in the current 2014/15 Annual Plan.

“I don’t know how many more years I have to release these soaring staff numbers and costs for people to realise these are ongoing escalations, and no accident. We were all assured one amalgamated council would do more stuff with less staff. Four years on and clearly Len Brown has failed to achieve the anticipated staff savings.”

Mr Brewer said the council’s staff and salary escalations do not reflect what’s happening in the private or government sector.

“The numbers of council staff earning over $100,000 has gone from 1,500 to 1,780 in just 12 months. That’s an increase of nearly 20%, and comes on top of last year’s 20% increase in the numbers earning big salaries. At the same time the numbers earning over $200,000 has risen from 113 to 141 people, while the numbers earning over $300,000 has risen from 23 to 35. It’s absolutely staggering given the Mayor’s latest austerity lectures he has been giving our communities.

“Only a couple of weeks ago the Mayor promised everyone he was on top of the city’s finances and everything was under control. Now we learn staff numbers are up nearly 2,000 since 2011, the wage bill is up over $100m, and now 1,780 staff earn over $100,000, up nearly 20% in just 12 months. It’s absolutely outrageous.”

Mr Brewer says under the National Government’s “Better Local Government” legislative reforms, councillors can set staff and salary caps, but his amendment to investigate doing just that was thrown out by the Mayor recently.

“Local boards and communities are being told a number of their projects will be axed because the council can no longer afford them. Service and maintenance levels for the likes of our parks and town centres are also set to be reduced. Ratepayers are being softened up for 10 years of rates increases, hikes in council fees and charges, user-pays rubbish, toll roads, and over $11b of debt. Yet at the same time, the bureaucracy gets bigger and bigger, and more and more expensive.

“These alarming increases have been reported year on year for the past four years. Yet every year we hear only excuses and promises that next year will be different. But nothing changes.

“The reality is the bureaucracy is growing faster than ever while dozens and dozens of local projects and are set to be cut in the forthcoming Long Term Plan. This is the complete antithesis of what a Super City was meant to be about,” says Mr Brewer


Note to Editor:

Council’s official headcount count and wage and salary costs

2011 c.9,300 & $615m

2012: 10,157 & $655m

2013: 10,616 & $693m

2014: 11,134 & $702m (budgeted cost)

2015: ? & $719m (budgeted cost)

1. Audit & Risk Committee report, for Tuesday 16 September meeting – highlighting staff costs and numbers for the year ended 30 June 2014.

2. Response to a Local Government Official Information Act request, showing staff costs and numbers for 2011, 2012, & 2013. (Please do not reference LGOIMA applicant)


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