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ATEED’s Comms & Marketing spend blows out five-fold

ATEED’s Comms & Marketing spend blows out five-fold!!!

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer has released ATEED’s escalating communications and marketing expenditure following public outrage over the expense and appointments of its London and San Francisco positions. He’s says it’s even more proof that councillors urgently need to know what ATEED is spending ratepayers money on.

In a LGOIMA response to Mr Brewer, it is now revealed that ATEED’s communications and marketing budget increased from $690,207 in the 2010/11 financial year to $5,298,899 in 2013/14 – the last full financial year.

“I appreciate the 10/11 financial year was only eight months for the new council, but when you annualise it, that’s equivalent to $1m Then when you compare that to the nearly $5.3m spent last year, it’s clear that it’s completely out of control. Increasing more than five-fold in just four financial years is unacceptable at any level. What’s more it’s way out of whack with how the other CCOs are tracking with their comms and marketing spend.”

“We know ATEED is set to spend $614.5m of ratepayers’ money over the next 10 years on operational matters, and is demanding multi-million dollar increases year on year. It’s totally unacceptable that we don’t know what it’s going to spend that money on because councillors are not getting any operational expenditure breakdown, despite the likes of me requesting it. This is just another example of why we need greater oversight on their operational budget because it’s out of control and ratepayers are getting let down badly.

“To date, us interested elected representatives are having to lodge Local Government Official Information Act requests to actually get any information, because it’s not being provided to us when we informally request it, nor is it anywhere in the draft Long Term Plan documents for the public to review.

“We saw OPEX breakdowns when we worked through the 2012 LTP but supposedly it caused the officials headaches because too many questions were being asked about individual line items. This time around, it has been decided that we see no OPEX breakdowns for the CCOS. Rest assured democratic input is dead. A few months ago ATEED pitched a Business Growth Fund initiative where ratepayers cash would be handed out to applying businesses. This was an outrageous idea, but who knows whether it’s part of the 10-year budget or not!

“This is comms and marketing spend up is another terrible look when ratepayers are now being asked to pay even more rates, accept much more council debt, and consider paying road tolls or a regional fuel tax.”

On the overseas appointments, Mr Brewer says it unbelievable that the Mayor has taken the side of ATEED and not Auckland ratepayers. So we now have a mayor that sides with big beaureacratic waste, not with genuine public concern. It’s very much a mayoralty of two halves. He insisted he stay on for the sake of the council and region's reputation, but that clearly hasn't worked.

"The Mayor should have gone NATO on this, but instead he's opted to tickle ATEED’s tummy. It's unbelievable Let’s see him now come out and try to defend a five-fold cost increase on comms and marketing when he promised constraint in that area,” says Cameron Brewer.



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