Following a request by the ARA under the local government information act the Alliance has revealed that $7.6 million has been spent by Council staff on international and domestic travel. Of course some travel will be necessary to fulfil their roles but nearly $8 million is excessive, especially when ratepayers are facing rates hikes 100 times the rate of inflation.
The ARA has issued a media release:
RATEPAYERS STUMP UP $7.6M TO FUND AUCKLAND COUNCIL'S TRAVEL BILL
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling on Auckland Council and its Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) to tighten their belts, after obtaining figures which reveal that over $7.6m has been spent since July 2014 on international and domestic travel.
The figures, which were obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, also reveal that Auckland Transport alone has spent over $1.5m in the same timeframe.
Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:
“Auckland ratepayers are tired of stumping up to fund Council employees’ overseas adventures. Rather than delivering essential services in a cost-effective matter, Auckland Council is sending its employees and elected members on junkets overseas and around the country. The bureaucracy has clearly lost touch with what ratepayers primarily want from their council.”
“In March, we exposed Mayor Len Brown’s $27,000 trip to the Paris Climate Change Conference, for which he produced a six-page report on a central
government issue. There is clearly a culture of waste within Auckland Council.”
“Council travel is clearly an area where the Council could easily tighten its belt. It’s the unnecessary spending that we hope our 2% Ratepayer Protection Pledge will solve.”
The Council's response under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act is available for download at http://www.ratepayers.nz/auckland_council_travel
Ratepayers, especially those living on fixed incomes who struggle to pay their high rates, deserve better from elected representatives. Our money should be spent wisely on the needs of the community not themselves.