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$50m blow-out on Auckland Council salaries now revealed

$50m blow-out on Auckland Council salaries now revealed

Auckland Council’s wage and salary budget is not only huge and controversial but it has now also blown out by a staggering $50 million, according to the council’s own Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2014. At the same time Mayor Len Brown is demanding cut-backs to community projects and council services, says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

Last week it was revealed that 11,134 staff work at the council (including the CCOs) up 518 people on the previous year, and that 1,780 now earn over $100,000 up 280.

Now a $50m blow-out of staff costs has been revealed by Mr Brewer, pointing to the 2013/14 Annual Report showing an actual result of $730m verses a budget of $680m.

“Furthermore, let’s not forget in the 2012 Long Term Plan the 13/14 staff budget was actually forecast at $654m. So against the 10-year budget signed off just two years ago, it’s more like a $76m blow-out to what was anticipated,” he says.

“A $50m blow-out is totally unacceptable when local boards will be forced to make significant cuts to community projects and oversee a raft of council service reductions.

“The Mayor now wants local boards to cut their budgets, but at the same time he seems pretty relaxed the council’s wage and salary budget is completely blown and continues to soar year in year out.

“It’s totally unbelievable given the huge salaries budget management had to work with from the outset. The council’s wage and salary spend has increased by a whopping $115m since 2011 while the total headcount is up nearly 2,000, despite expectations that amalgamation would deliver better results. Ratepayers deserve better.

“Also alarmingly the report is scant on details as to why this was allowed to happen. Key reasons given that it was due to an “increased headcount” is not helpful, nor the vague explanation that was about meeting “the needs for increased projects which weren’t budgeted”.

“The public deserves assurances that the budget for the current financial year of $719m is not also going to blow-out. These numbers have been heading north year in year out. Here’s hoping next year’s results will be a lot better, because they really need to be.”

Back in July Mr Brewer put an amendment to the Governing Body to investigate setting limits on staff numbers that the Government’s recent changes to the Local Government Act now allows councils to do. However this amendment was thrown out by the Mayor before it could be voted on.


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