October 10, 2018

Annual Report summary: More budget blowouts at Auckland Council

Auckland Council has revealed more budget blowouts in its 2017/18 Annual Report.

The Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance is working through the documents (some 651 pages across four volumes). So far, key takeaways from the Financial Statements are:

  • Council debt has increased to $12.66 billion — an increase of 9.3 percent, and is significantly greater than the budgeted increase in debt of 5.5 percent. This debt equates to $23,118 per ratepayer (residential plus commercial).
  • As a result, Auckland Council spent $472 million financing its debt — $7 million more than budgeted.
  • Auckland Council’s day-to-day (operating) expenses of $3.88 billion exceeded its annual budget by $77 million.
  • The total number of staff has increased from 10,063 to 10,259. Staff on salaries of more than $100,000 have increased by 223 to 2,473.

These inconvenient trends are conspicuously absent from the Council’s own summaries – that’s why we put together our publications holding the council to account.

Despite the grim realities of Council finances, CEO Stephen Town told media that the Council is 'operating in a prudent, effective manner'.

Auckland Council clearly can’t stick to its own budgets, which already allow for ballooning spending, debt, and rates. Sadly, actual reductions in debt, let alone rates, appear to be impossible under political leadership which refuses to deliver on cost control and efficiency.