Auckland Council ‘not fit for purpose’ says Chamber

Michael Barnett has delivered the Auckland Chamber of Commerce’s submission on Auckland Council’s draft budget…and he is damning.

Auckland Council is not yet ‘fit for purpose’ and in some areas appears out of control, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce in a submission on a new 10-year budget.

“In a real sense Auckland is at a crossroads,” chamber of commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said.

“One road has us continuing to jolt along a conflict-riddled and ‘jumping from crisis-to-crisis’road.

“We have yet to find the other road we need to get onto and travel if we are to deliver the ‘better Auckland’ we all want,” he said.

The chamber today released a 17-page submission on the draft budget, a few hours before public consultation closes at 4pm today.

The council has received more than 15,000 submissions on the budget, which includes an overall rates rise of 3.5 per cent this year and a choice between a basic transport plan or raising an extra $300 million a year from motorway tolls or a mix of a regional fuel tax and higher rates to fund a much larger programme.

The chamber of commerce recommends rates should be limited to the rate of inflation.

It wants the $385 uniform general charge raised to $500. The charge is what every ratepayers pays towards council services regardless of property value.

The chamber is opposed to the regional fuel tax/higher rates option for transport and wants the motorway toll option to be debated further with the view of looking at other revenue sources.

There is no way the government is going to agree to either of those funding options…to do so would lose Auckland.

Len Brown thinks he can bully the government into one of those options through dodgy polls and surveys. He is wrong.

It supports a line-by-line review of council spending, saying significant savings could be possible in the areas of planning, staff costs, an audit of selected areas, such as parks and council-controlled organisations – in particular Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development(Ateed).

The submission called on the council to require chief executive Stephen Town to “take a broom” to what appears to be excessive staff numbers and salaries.

“Contrary to promises at the time that Auckland Council was established in 2010, Auckland Council staff levels have not significantly reduced from the levels that existed under the seven legacy councils at amalgamation.”

The submission said there 9430 fulltime equivalent staff in 2010 and 9394 in mid-2014.

The Super City promised us savings…no one has seen a single cent in savings, in fact we have seen up to 30% increases in rates with worse drops in delivered services.

There is so much waste in council spending, starting int he mayors office.

The Chamber’s submission almost smells remarkably like a manifesto for Michael Barnett to take his tilt at the mayoralty…in the absence of anyone else putting their hand up he may as well.


– NZ Herald