The officers are now clearly running amok with the ratepayer chequebook at the new Auckland Council. Truly there is a wasteful culture at Len Brown’s council.
Communications staff are now placing ads in local suburban newspapers to promote the activities of local boards, this despite the fact that there is already an expensive glossy publication sent out to 500,000 households every month called “Our Auckland”, the replacement to the old weekly “City Scene” that the Auckland City council sent out.
Here’s an example or two of what the new ads are like:
Using Orakei as the example, you will see Desley Simpson, the Orakei Board chair singularly starring in what is a thinly ratepayer funded campaign ad – in this case there is a half page ad in the local Eastern Bays Courier, of which Princess Desley gets to take up the predominate space.
What does it all cost then? A half page ad in the Central Leader costs around $1800 a pop, though there are obviously discounts for regularly buying ads. If they run these ads once a month with a news update for every local board then there will be 21 ads a month – $450,000 a year on retail prices. Even with a big discount, expect this communications lark to cost $300,000-350,000 per year.
And remember, this is to buy extra advertising space for politicians to talk about “their achievements” on top of the crappy and forgotten “Our Auckland” magazine they print. And dollars to a knob of goat poo that there are specialist comms staff appointed to every local board too, presumably to issue press releases about the successes of all the workshops that local boards are hosting for the benefit of local board member waistlines. If local board pollies feel they need to raise their profile, they should get off their chuff and do newsworthy things instead of spending all their time in workshops eating pies and pastries. Local papers normally are happy to print vacuous stories about politicians unveiling playgrounds and park upgrades.
Len Brown has failed to keep the officers under control. Communications at the council look like an unwieldy and expensive mess. Even worse, rates are being used to promote politicians with glossy pictures.