Sayers Calls for an Independent Services & Performance Auditor position: Auckland Council.

9 May 2022. Published by the Mahurangi Matters newspaper.

Auckland mayoral candidates are being asked to commit to appointing an independent auditor to oversee Auckland Council operations.

Rodney ward councillor Greg Sayers says the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance that created the supercity recommended an Independent Service and Performance Auditor be appointed.

“Their primary job would be to protect the interests of ratepayers independently of any political spin doctoring, political pressure or self-interest from council staff,” Sayers says.

The auditor’s job would include finding and eliminating council wastage and overspending, and protecting residents and ratepayers interests by advocating for them on the performance and affordability of council services.

“The idea was to have a public watchdog to hold both elected members and staff to account with the ability to fully investigate and independently comment on Council’s performance at any level across the organisation.

“Neither Len Brown nor Phil Goff sought to appoint an auditor.

“I have asked each mayoral candidate to promise to appoint the position. It will be interesting to see if any follow through on this during their electioneering”

Sayers says the Royal Commission also recommended that an independent auditor have the power to ensure monopoly services such as water, wastes water or public transport were being managed, and provided, efficiently and effectively.

“They could question ideas such as Council’s current wish to rise more income by charging all households a new tax to have their rubbish collected – regardless of whether or not they put out any rubbish – by Council becoming a monopoly supplier, thus fully destroying the current user-pays option provided to ratepayers by private enterprise.

“The reality is that the promise of a more cost-effective Auckland, by becoming a supercity, has never materialised so maybe the Royal Commission had it right,” Sayers says.