This Annual Report shows total staff costs for 2014/15 were budgeted at $729m but they’ve come in at $792m – that’s $63m over budget and $62m more expensive than the previous year.
Council is now forecasting its in-house wage and salary costs to rise to nearly $1 billion in the coming years. It’s just staggering and completely unacceptable.
This was because of Auckland’s increasing population, council officers said. The city grew by 45,000 people last year, up from an increase of 35,000 in 2014.
Inflating the numbers is an old trick used by Council employees. I remember we were treated to similar skulduggery during my term as an elected representative on Auckland Council. The finance planners succeeded in convincing economically illiterate Councillors like Mike Lee that Auckland could achieve real annual growth of 5% (similar to China’s) and that they should be budgeting accordingly, which they did.
This was at a time when growth was 1.5%pa. Most future ills in Auckland have flowed from these insane predictions which also included similarly inflated population growth figures. As far as I’m aware, it was only the first Waiheke Local Board that fronted the Governing Body and told them that the figures were balderdash.
Even if the figures were correct this still doesn’t justify the massive blow out in staff numbers and salaries. As Whaleoil points out.
But whilst Auckland Council and it’s proxies increase staff – all the privately owned infrastructure providers have not. Chorus, Spark, Vodafone, Vector and so on – have maintained or in some instances actually cut staff during this year. So if they can deal with increased population and the provision of infrastructure to service them – how come AT, Watercare and Auckland Council cannot?
Make no mistake this will be an election issue.