Call for Goff to halve $46m spin doctor bill

Confidential report leaked.

Lobby group The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling for Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to cut his council's communications bill in half.

The call follows the leak of a previously confidential report showing that Auckland Council is spending $45.6 million of ratepayers’ money per year to employ 234 communication staff.

Conservative commentator David Farrar says, "You know if maybe the council could cope with less than 234 spin doctors, then they wouldn’t have to stick up petrol tax by 10c  a litre to fund their activities. It's out of control."

Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes says: “Phil Goff and the current council were elected more than a year ago on platforms to cut wasteful spending.  Why isn’t it happening?”
 
“We’re calling on Mr Goff to make a commitment, here and now, to cut the $46 million bill in half.  That would show that he is serious about fighting for the region’s ratepayers, and not the council’s 234 spin doctors.”

According to the leaked draft report, between 2013 and 2017, salary costs soared by 75% at Auckland Council, 87% at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and 56% at Auckland Transport and 104.5% at Panuku Development Auckland (formed in September 2015 from the merger of Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Council Property).

Mr Goff was elected in 2016.

The report is one of a series of four "value for money" reviews commissioned by Auckland Council as part of Mr Goff's drive to fulfil his pledge to find efficiencies and savings.

Now it has to be seen if he'll act on it.

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