Banks, C&R Slash Council Services Another 3%
City Vision / Labour Media Statement 11 February 2009 for immediate release:
John Banks and C&R Councillors Unilaterally Slash Council Services Another 3%.
City Vision and Labour Auckland City Councillors are shocked and surprised to have just received a memo telling them that staff salaries have been frozen and that spending on Council services is be cut by a further 3%. The memo in the name of the City Council's CEO David Rankin, says that the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the male Citizens and Ratepayers Committee Chairs have asked him to make no provision for staff wage and salary increases through to July 2010 and to make further cuts in operational spending in order to cut next year's average rate increase even further, from the 5% so far planned, down to 2%.
City Vision Labour Leader Councillor Richard Northey said: “These 3% further cuts to Council services and projects, coming on top of the savage cuts already announced, will be devastating for Auckland's suburban communities who are dependent on good libraries, local parks, footpaths and community facilities to maintain their quality of life in hard economic times. Freezing staff salaries will intensify the uncertainty and rapid turnover of skilled staff, already nervously awaiting the Royal Commission report, and this loss of staff will reverse the hard won improvements in staff services such as in the building and resource consents and other areas of council operations where there is a skill shortage in Auckland. Cutting projects even further will sabotage the government's attempts to energise infrastructure spending to reverse the job losses caused by the recession. Having these devastating decisions made by a small group of skinflint hard right councillors without consulting any of the woman councillors, Opposition councillors or Independents, let alone their residents and ratepayers, is a total denial of democratic processes", Richard Northey concluded.
City Vision Council’s Finance and Strategy Committee Member Cr Cathy Casey said: “ Many of the staff of Auckland City Council are already very concerned about how any Royal Commission restructuring recommendations will affect their jobs. The last thing a stresses workforce needs to hear is that there will be no wage increases. This same C&R Council who want to freeze wages is the same C&R Council which said in the Council’s Annual Report: ’in the past year we implemented a new pay policy to ensure we attract and retain the best people and encourage high performance’. If Citizens and Ratepayers are now abandoning that policy, does that mean they no longer care about attracting and retaining the best people and will settle for mediocre performances from current and replacement staff?” Cathy Casey concluded.