Lack of Accountability in Council, says Sayers

A wage blowout at Auckland Council has Rodney councillor Greg Sayers warning ratepayers they should be concerned.

For another consecutive year since Auckland Council came into being in 2010, the council’s staff numbers are up, as is the wage bill – from $615 million in 2011 to $853m this year.

This time around the bill has blown out by $42m.

Sayers said the council was “out of control” when it came to delivering its wage budget, and there was no accountability from the council.

“This $42m overspend has completely wiped out the $37.5 million council gained through the recent 2.5 per cent rates increase. That’s a disgrace.

“It means council no longer has the extra money it planned to have to deliver more for Aucklanders.”

Sayers said the “sustained and reckless” waste of ratepayer’s money had failed to be reined in by Mayor Phil Goff, and the trend meant ratepayers couldn’t take comfort the budget wouldn’t be blown again next year.

The previous three years saw the wage budget exceeded by $32m, $63m and $50m, he said.

In June, Sayers tried to have a cap placed on wages during the Annual Budget process, but was out-voted after council chief executive Stephen Town advised councillors he was unable to achieve such a budget without cutting front line services.

Sayers argued removing duplicated services, trimming bloated departments, and stopping wastage and overspending, the council would actually be able to increase front line services.

Sayers called for the mayor and councillors to hold council management to account instead of voting against it.

“Until the tail stops wagging the dog and the mayor holds management to account, then ratepayers will continue to distrust council’s ability to make good decisions,” he said.

Mayor Phil Goff is now also worried the wage blowout will further contribute to the low level of trust and confidence in Auckland Council.

Sayers asked to Mayor for a report on which business unit overspent their wages budget and the names of which Chief Executives were responsible.

“The Mayor has not provided myself or the rest of the Councillors with the report,” says Sayers.

“The Mayor along the other elected members are ultimately responsible for how public money is being spent and it’s highly disappointing that they are showing suck a lack of accountability.”

“I’m on record demanding for this be addressed but the Mayoral Office isn’t interested in stopping the wastage and overspending.”


Auckland Council salaries, excluding CCOs:Overspending

  • 6054 staff earn less than $100,000 per annum
  • 1092 earn more than $100,000 per annum
  • 74 earn more than $200,000 per annum

 – Stuff