A reader emails about Auckland Council’s IT blow out


A reader emails their thoughts on the Auckland Council IT debacle and predicts that it won’t be the last we hear about the wasteful and idiotic IT spend.


“An Auckland Council IT project originally budgeted to cost $71 million should be delivered for the new cost of $172 million”, says a senior council executive.

I just love how committed they sound…

This is absolutely bloody disgusting.  That is an overrun of $65 for every man woman and child in Auckland.

The council only has staff of 8000, meaning the number is $12,500 for every employee.  You could almost build a brand new infrastructure for that in the private sector, in fact it is basically the baseline average private sector IT cost per employee per annum gone out the window in one project overrun; this is $13164USD in a recent Gartner study.

Perversely over here one of the main guy’s responsible for it is being lauded as the next top future CIO:

“To try and achieve a world class IS transformation with a limited budget is of course a new challenge for me,” says Holtzhauzen.”


“It was non-negotiable,” Holtzhauzen recalls. “We acknowledged the deadline and understood the significance of exposing the Council after this date…”

You can speak in absolutes when there is a public purse to pick it up.

“We’ve had a busy year and it’s not often you get the chance to pause and acknowledge your achievements,” he reflects. “But it’s testament to my great operations team who, despite going through changes which impacted them personally, still managed to pull it together and not drop the ball.”

Yes quite an achievement, but I am not sure we agree on the meaning of not dropping the ball.

Back over at the Herald article:

The IT project, which was supposed to be completed by June 2016, now has two key dates for implementation – June 2016 and June 2017.

So it is going to be late too… and;

While the costs of NewCore have increased by $100 million, these costs will come out of the $454 million budget for IT in a new 10-year budget.

Other than the humorous fact that the MSM can’t decide if Auckland ICT is great or awful, my maths says that leaves $354M remaining to fund the council for the next 10 years; that’s an average of $4425 per employee or about 1/3 of what a competent private sector CIO allocates.

So you can be sure we have not heard the last of this.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.