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Mayoral costs on rise, submissions on budget close Monday

Mayoral costs on rise, public submissions on budget close tomorrow
 
Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s office is costing Auckland ratepayers nearly $10,000 a day to run with total annual expenditure for its second year up 8.3% and travel costs up a staggering 435%.
 
Auckland Councillor for Orakei Cameron Brewer requested the official information for the second year running. He says the Mayor is clearly not walking his talk of council constraint and cut-backs.
 
“He’s going around assuring people that he’s supposedly prudent, but his own office costs point to some worrying escalation in the past couple of years.
 
“The Mayor’s Office gives itself a pat on the back for supposedly coming under budget for the second year running, but it’s able to do this because the money it is allocated is way too excessive to start with.”
 
The Mayor’s Office is asking for $4,994,000* in the council’s latest draft budget, with public submissions closing tomorrow.
 
“He doesn’t need $4.9m but that’s what he’s asking for and no doubt it will help him come under budget again. He may keep coming under budget, but the stark reality is the costs to run the Mayor’s Office are on the rise, and substantially in parts. At the same time, he is cutting core council services like no longer mowing council-owned roadside grass verges in the old Auckland City area from 1 July.”
 
Actual total Mayoral Office expenditure was $3,507,000 for the 12 months to 1 November 2012 up 8.3% from $3,238,202 in the previous year, excluding his own remuneration.
 
In the same 12 months Mayoral Office travel expenditure increased from over $29,000 to $157,000 - an increase of 435% which excludes any costs associated with the Mayor’s car. The cost of salaries for his staff of over 20 people has gone up by 15.4% to over $2m, while the reported cost of cellphones and office telecommunications has gone up by 200% from over $7,900 to $23,800.
 
“This is not any ordinary office, this is a ratepayer-funded campaign machine and people wonder why no one’s prepared to stand against him and his army of advisors and consultants.”
 
Mr Brewer says if people are not happy with the Mayor’s increasing costs or the proposed $4.9m budget to run the Mayoral Office in election year, they need to have their say on the 2013/14 Draft Annual Plan by 4pm, tomorrow – Monday, 25 February.

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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