July 14, 2020

Is the Council really ‘cutting back’ or is the Mayor telling porkies?

This week the Council will make its final decisions on its emergency budget, but the Councillors claims that it is ‘cutting back’ don’t hold mustard. Last week, our Economist, Karan Menon, fact checked the Mayor and his Finance Deputy, Desley Simon in the Herald.  Here’s what he found:

The Mayor and Councillors are telling porkies…

Any analysis of Auckland Council's "Emergency Budget" shows the mayor and councillors' claims they are implementing austerity measures are simply not true.

Mayor Phil Goff says: "We are cutting costs wherever possible and finding savings and efficiencies where we can". Finance and Performance Committee Chair Desley Simpson has claimed: "We are cutting costs wherever possible and finding savings and efficiencies where we can".  

But despite the Mayor and Cr Simpson’s promises to cut spending, total expenditure is budgeted to increase by another five per cent in their so called ‘emergency budget’.

In relation to pay, the Mayor stated "If we put a voluntary pay freeze for the coming year – that is to be negotiated – that's about $8-9 million, the voluntary cuts around $3-4 million".

These numbers must be put in perspective. Of the total council staff, 86 are paid more than $250,000 a year, and 2831 – or 22% – are paid more than $100,000. The Council proposes a six-month voluntary pay reduction for these staff, but it is capped at just 5%. This would result in an estimated saving of just 0.3% of total council payroll costs.

Despite this saving and a "freeze" on recruitments, the “emergency budget” still proposes to increase the overall payroll budget.

Increasing expenditure from last year's level is not austerity. It is increasing the burden of the council on ratepayers at the very time households can least afford it.

As you can see, there is a gaping chasm between what the council is saying and what is actually proposed. In reality, there is no decrease in expenditure but instead an overall increase. The impacts of the proposed pay cuts are marginal, at best. As explained in Karan’s piece, projects the Council says are to "grow the economy" are generating a net cost, with the returns fading.

Now is the time to contact your local Councillors

If they choose to, councillors can freeze payroll and scrap Phil Goff’s rates increase. We’re asking you to take a minute to tell them to do just that.

Will you take a minute to email or call your local councillor and tell them you see through the Mayor and Councillor Simpson’s spin? They need the support of the other councillors to pass this budget.  The other councillors can force the necessary changes so rates can still be frozen – or not hiked during the current economic crisis.

Email the councillors or give your local one a call – after all they are supposed to represent you!

Forward this email, and add your own comments. The more voices the better.  The contact information is copied below.

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Councillors contact information:

Albany Ward

Councillor John Watson

Mobile: 021 287 5999
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Wayne Walker

Mobile: 021 882 861
Email: [email protected]

​Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward

Councillor Cathy Casey

Mobile: 027 474 4231
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Christine Fletcher

Mobile: 027 276 0013
Email: [email protected]

​Franklin Ward

Councillor Bill Cashmore - Deputy Mayor

Mobile: 021 283 3355
Email: [email protected]

​Howick Ward

Councillor Sharon Stewart

Mobile: 021 282 1144
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Paul Young

Mobile: 021 194 7271
Email: [email protected]

​Manukau Ward

Councillor Alf Filipaina

Mobile: 021 280 0999
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins

Mobile: 021 242 6585
Email: [email protected]

​Manurewa-Papakura Ward

Councillor Angela Dalton

Mobile: 021 283 3311
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Daniel Newman

Mobile: 021 518 796
Email: [email protected]

​Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Ward

Councillor Josephine Bartley 

Mobile: 021 287 5599
Email: [email protected]

​North Shore Ward

Councillor Chris Darby

Mobile: 021 284 2888
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Richard Hills

Mobile: 021 286 4411
Email: [email protected]

​Ōrākei Ward

Councillor Desley Simpson

Mobile: 021 971 786
Email: [email protected]

​Rodney Ward

Councillor Greg Sayers

Mobile: 021 285 9900
Email: [email protected]

​Waitākere Ward

Councillor Shane Henderson

Mobile: 021 044 0088
Email: [email protected]

Councillor Linda Cooper

Mobile: 021 629 533
Email: [email protected]

​Waitematā and Gulf Ward

Councillor Pippa Coom

Mobile: 021 926 618
Email: [email protected]

​Whau Ward

Councillor Tracy Mulholland

Mobile: 021 195 7296
Email: [email protected]