NewCore shaping up to be a rotten deal for ratepayers
A $157 million Super City computer system has a potentially "catastrophic" risk, says Auditor General Lyn Provost.
The NewCore system, the cost of which has blown out from $71 million to $157 million, also carries an "almost certain" risk with a "major impact", she said.
Last night, the council's chief information officer Dean Kimpton said Ms Provost was commenting on information supplied in May and the computer system had improved significantly since then.
If that’s the case, Mr Kimpton needs to stump up with new figures to dispel any speculation. It is simply not good enough to try and brush this cost-blowout under the carpet by saying “Trust us, it’s now under control.” Ratepayers deserve better, and councillors should be demanding more.
In the past few days, Ms Provost told the council's leadership and councillors the NewCore programme is an area of significant cost and risk to the council.
NewCore is considered key to delivering the promised savings of the Super City. It is designed to consolidate the outdated operating systems of the former eight councils, which merged in 2010 to become the Auckland Council.
It is ironic, yet worrying, for ratepayers that the very programme established to deliver the much vaunted efficiencies of amalgamation has itself cost more than double what was expected!
Ms Provost recommended council management review the risks. She also recommended management update the business case justifying continued investment in NewCore.
"Benefits are now forecast to total $58 million by 2022, whereas the original business case had benefits reaching $75 million by 2022," Ms Provost said.
Again the Council have over-promised and are set to under-deliver, with ratepayers picking up the bill.
A report to councillors in May made no mention of a "catastrophic" risk with the data issue, only that the "issues are being prioritised and addressed".
Last week, council managers gave councillors an upbeat progress report on NewCore, saying it was progressing well and forecast to be completed on time and on budget.
It looks like the the bureaucracy is working overtime to keep Councillors from asking the hard questions.
When ratepayers’ elected representatives are kept in the dark about such a serious issue, it’s a sign that there’s a significant cultural problem among Council officials. This needs to change.