How Auckland can be brought out of financial doldrums

Auckland Council finances lead Mayor Brown are a shambles. In a matter of two years Brown has utterly destroyed the city’s financial position and there are serious concerns that it could be at the limit of its borrowing capacity.

Len has spent like no tomorrow.

There are many suggestions for how costs could be cut – from the rail tunnel to core services – but the real elephant in the room is the outrageous staff count.

The problems with Auckland Council start with the number of people involved and the number of costly organisations. Here is the pick list of cuts and changes needed:

1. Staff – Auckland Council is one of the largest staffed organisations in the county with over 6,000 people. The super city amalgamation was meant to see the legacy council staff numbers decrease as efficiency took ahold. But instead it has ballooned massively.

Staff is where the biggest costs go. And for all the staff numbers – Council services are still woeful. So they must be sacked.

Reduction of staff to 3,000 people will reduce the budget massively.

2. ATEED and Waterfront Auckland must  go – These organisations are troughing at the ratepayer purse for virtually no return and yet huge expenditure.

3. Auckland Transport needs to be collapsed and brought back in-house to reduce doubling up costs. Besides – they are universally loathed and inept in a way that can’t be described.

4. Kill off the rail tunnel. Nobody can afford it.  

5. Stop spending hundreds of millions on new streetscapes. Sure we all love them, but they are unfathomably expensive. The road behind North Wharf and Silo Park cost $180m.

6. Slash and burn the local boards and the Maori statutory board. None of these are useful, and yet they cost enormous amounts to administer and operate. For what purpose?

7. Sell the new Ivory tower. I hear this deal is being secretly done with inflated rents that ratepayers will have to wear the cost of to inflate the price of the building.

8. And most importantly – Mayor Brown must stand down. He must fall on his sword. Rooting around and lying about it is one thing, but mismanaging the city finances into crisis is unacceptable.

9. Sack everyone in the Mayors office.

10. Replace Council with commissioners to take over and transition the Council through these changes.

11. Get rid of the planned Canoe and kayak centre – it’s a boondoggle to appease Brown’s secret donors.

If none of these are done then nothing will change.

Killing services like libraries and stopping inorganic collections for rubbish is fiddling at best but does not account for meaningful change.

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