Auckland Council’s spendthrift culture

Auckland Spendthrift

That’s what they should call Auckland Council and it’s CCO’s.

Not content with existing digs and doing the best thing for ratepayer’s pockets the last of the CCO’s has secured a top shelf A-grade building for occupancy.

Watercare occupy a Manson’s built A-grade building in Remuera Road. Council has purchased the former ASB tower and is now blowing $30+ million recladding it. Now Aucklan transport is getting in on the flash corporate action.

Auckland Transport is joining business giants Fonterra, Air New Zealand, KPMG, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard at the flash VXV Precinct on the Auckland waterfront.

The ratepayer-funded transport body has signed a heads of agreement to take a lease on the Vodafone Building in Fanshawe St, which is being upgraded to provide “exceptional space for corporate occupiers”, according to a marketing brochure.  

Auckland Transport chief financial officer Richard Morris said the location would give the council body a cost-effective solution for its accommodation requirements with expected savings of close to $1 million in the first year.

Auckland Transport’s 1500 or so staff are currently spread across 19 buildings with multiple leases. About half of the staff are located in the former Waitakere City Council civic centre in Henderson, built at a cost of $39 million.

Mr Morris said the 12-year-old Vodafone Building was not expensive compared to a new building or other offices in and around the CBD.

There are no real savings to be had. The cost of occupancy (rent and OPEX) is considerably more than the current costs.

In fact the CFO Richard Morris tries to plug savings in this way:

He said Auckland Transport would be reducing overall space requirements by about 2500sq m, leading to extra savings in areas like cleaning, electricity, IT and maintenance. Other savings would be made from a productivity gain of more than 50,000 hours through staff not travelling between buildings.

Productivity gain? Auckland Transport productive? Yeah right!

And why can’t they email?

This Council has nurtured an excessive spendthrift culture.

It’s nearly broke as it taps it’s max borrowing capacity. With choices like this it’s easy to see how the combined organisation got there.


-NZ Herald


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  • Quinton Hogg

    if this move happens parking in the viaduct will disappear for casual users as it will all be occupied by auckland Transport staff as you don’t expect them to use public transport to get to work do you?

    • johcar

      As well as the fact that many of the 750 staff from the “former Waitakere City Council civic centre in Henderson” will be adding themselves to the north-western motorway chaos twice a day….

      • Blokeinauckland

        I was hoping they would be eating their cooking and catching the train…

        • johcar

          There’s a Tui billboard line if ever I saw one!!!

        • Win

          Maybe they will use the new multi multi million dollar cycling paths to get to their palatial new office. Yeah Right!

        • John Q Public

          Their Henderson office was in the actual train staitn, but I bet a lot of them didn’t.

  • sheppy

    “expected savings of close to $1 million in the first year.”
    Yeah right, Shouldn’t that be increased expenditure of at least $1million every month once the staff discover they can’t park their cars and AT put on single occupancy taxis for each and every one who complains so they don’t have to use uncomfortable inconvenient public transport like they are forcing the plebs to use

    • Mighty1

      Is that glass firmly affixed to the outside of the building? Hate to think there is another unexpected bill to come the way of a cco.

  • localnews

    1500 staff!

    • BigDogTalking

      This is the real question, what on earth do 1500 people do day in day out?
      When you look at the results they generate I would expect it to be an office of 10 people playing darts most of the day.

      • sheppy

        I’d guess that most of them spend their time fantasising over the Len Brown Memorial Railway, and dreaming up ever more creative ways to waste money whilst making the traffic jams worse in the hope that people will then use the Trainset when it’s built. It matters not that it won’t go to where most of the people do.
        I wonder if they have “Chuggington” reruns on several TV’s around the place too for inspiration. Keeping 1500 people “busy” everyday on the ratepayer dollar must take some doing.

  • Abjv

    Put them in a building on the Shore then make them catch a train. oh, yeah, I forgot.

  • Bob Dazzler

    Troughers of a different kind.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Wow 1500 staff. They are even better than Labour of old when they used to pad out Departments and NZ Railway was used to mop up the dregs when the employment figures needed massaging. Normal massaging took about 5 – 7 working days between the figures being known and subsequently released.
    Then the gem ” Other savings would be made from a productivity gain of more than 50,000 hours through staff not travelling between buildings.” On public transport?

  • The Fat Man

    So when the $1,000,000 propaganda spin turns out to be pie in the sky and the real cost is an additional $20,000,000 will we see any resignations.

    Thought not.

    It would be better for wiping my bum with if it had no ink on it.

  • sheppy

    I wonder how many of the 1500 were involved, and how many hours were wasted in meetings before they made that decision?
    It’ll never cease, they have reached critical mass and now are only serving themselves.
    As the comedian said the other night, there was a time when the ticket price was more than the cost of parking for the show…..

  • duve

    I don’t think it will stop until we, the citizens, physically stop it. It may well come to that.

  • one for the road

    Not only are they spending like there is no tomorrow (maybe that is why they are locking in all these contracts now!), but they are moving the productively loss (travelling between buildings) onto their staff (who have to travel from all over, particularly Henderson, now into the CBD) – typical corporate, making a business case that uses soft benefits (productivity hours gained) at the expense of staff convenience (working close to home) – but they need more people on the roads so they can spend more to solve the roading congestion, right!

  • D-Rad

    In fairness, this isn’t a bad thing. I know someone who works for AT, spends half their life on trains going between meetings all over the city because they aren’t allowed to use company vehicles where there is public transport available. So they spend 2-3 hours a day on a train just to meet with someone in Henderson or Manukau, so maybe locating all staff in one place isn’t so bad. However, they could just use AT vehicles to get around the city… this applies to senior staff too, which this person is.

    • Aquarius 61

      Have they not heard of Skype group calls/videos? What business doesn’t have unlimited broadband data these days? And a small room where a PC/laptop can be used?

      Skype works really well for weekly project meetings I’m involved with where participants are in Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Horowhenua!


      • Santa Fe fan

        Better still, cut down on the number of meetings. Most are unproductive. Been to a couple at AT and they were sleep inducers. Good morning teas though from memory.

    • dennis

      There is probably far more meetings than required in fact I am sure there are far to many meetings. Try doing some work.

    • Mighty1

      They could use a phone or Skype in stead of face to face meeting. Travelling around my any means sounds like a way of killing time to me.

      • Miss Phit

        Yep. In this modern age all you need is a camera and amonitor (okay maybe a little more than that).

        When I want to talk to my family and see my nephews/neices drawings skype does the trick.

        So why not the same for these ass clowns?

        Would save money and time, increase productivity and maybe a few people less would be needed so more savings (less salaries and less office space)

    • MrHippo

      There are plenty of AT branded vehicles parking in the Downtown car parking building. Taking the train is a choice many make, and the fact it takes so long is viewed as a bonus. They are moving to avoid the disruption to downtown they are creating.

      • D-Rad

        They aren’t allowed to use them if public transport is available. Its insanity!

  • JeffDaRef

    If a flash building downtown delivers $1million/year in cost savings, why not look at a not-so-flash building out of the city and aim to save $2million+ per year??
    These council folk really are a bit special – too many years spending other peoples money.
    I’m sure noone there sees the irony of Auckland Transport bringing 1500 more people into the congested CBD on a daily basis…

  • Santa Fe fan

    We’ve had this rubbish spouted for years as the old councils progressively tried to out do each other with fancy HQ’s to ‘reduce costs’. Think North Shore, Waitakere, and Manukau Cities and the ARC to name a few.

  • InnerCityDweller

    According to sources within AT (revealed here on WO in March –, staff should be using public transport.

    Well, let’s see…

  • StreuthCobber

    Interesting report in the UK civil service reform they’re currentlychopping govt office space big time, and saving $600 million per year plus sales of $1.5 billion. Buzzwords: Localism, Outer suburb hubs, Mobile technology, Hot desking, Sharing space and removing artifical boundaries between local authorities. Answer: No new vodafone building. Key AT staff needed in town move to existing council white elephant, and move other departmental council staff move to Henderson so they can work locally or even from home. Reduce road congestion. No new building!

  • Toby

    Here is an idea, why don’t they just downsize so they don’t need a big building.