Decision Digests – How the Council Manages Our Ratepayer Dollars #AKLPols

From the August Finance and Performance Committee

From Auckland Council:

Council performance, IS update and efficiencies on Finance and Performance agenda

A number of reports were presented and discussed at today’s Finance and Performance committee. The following is a digest of decisions made.

The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items will be available on demand within 24 hours of the meeting.

Items 1-8 were administrative items.

Item 9: Sportsfield Charges
The item considered the removal of sportsfield charges in the central Auckland area in the Albert-Eden, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Orākei, Puketāpapa, Waitematā, Waiheke local board areas.

All of the above boards have passed resolutions to support the removal of charges, resolving that the shortfall in revenue be made up by the Governing Body (adopting a revised budget within the Parks Sports and Recreation Department) rather than through the use of Locally Driven Initiative (LDI) funding.

The recommendations presented the committee with two options, being:

  • remove the charges in the areas with the shortfall conditional on the Locally Driven Initiative funding
  • the non-removal of the charges in the 2015/16 financial year and to consider the issue as part of the 2016/17 annual plan.

The chairs of the affected local boards were in attendance to speak in support of removal of the charges as they do not apply to some boards outside of the central area and it is a policy issue not brought to the local boards given their responsibility for local parks.

The debate showed wide support for the local boards with an amendment put forward to request the Governing Body to waive the fees and charges for sportsfields in the central local board areas until a region wide policy is adopted in 2016/17 financial year.

The committee agreed unanimously to support the amendment.

Item 10: Disposal recommendation report

This report proposes seven non-service council owned sites that Auckland Council Property Limited (ACPL) considers suitable for sale.

The recommendation was to approve the sale of the below properties:

  • 27 Normanby Road, Mt Eden (and that partial proceeds of the sale be allocated towards the purchase of a suitable site or drop off sites for central community recycling facilities if required)
  • 19B Crisp Avenue, Pukekohe
  • 18D Walpole Avenue, Hill Park, Manurewa
  • 22D Walpole Avenue, Hill Park, Manurewa
  • 49D Scenic Drive, Hill Park, Manurewa
  • 78 Queen Street, Waiuku
  • 4 Amandale Avenue, St Lukes

It was also recommended that final terms and conditions would be approved under the appropriate delegations.

There was discussion about the property of 27 Normanby Road with the Waitemata and Albert-Eden local board chairs speaking to their preference for a community recycling centre on the site. They raised concerns about the need to have a recycling centre in the central area to service a large population.

However, through a site selection process the property was found not suitable for a recycling centre because it was not economically viable and incompatible with the surrounding area due to potential traffic congestion effects and being close to residential, schools and restaurants, rather than being in an industrial area.

The property has been identified to rehouse a church that will be displaced by the construction of the City Rail Link.

The local boards said that, while they prefer Normanby Road, they accept the economic situation and council continues to work with them to find a suitable site for a recycling centre in the area and develop an alternative strategy for community recycling facilities.

The committee voted to approve the disposal of the seven sites and to use some of the proceeds of the proposed sale of 27 Normanby Road towards the purchase of a suitable site or drop off sites for central community recycling facilities.

Item 11: Proposed work programme in response to the Independent Māori Statutory Board’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi audit report 2015

In response to the recommended actions in the Independent Māori Statutory Board’s (IMSB) 2015 Te Tiriti o Waitangi Audit Report (2015 Treaty Audit) this report:

  • Presents two high level programme plans;
  • identifies priority response actions for the first quarter of 2015/2016 financial year (FY);
  • establishes a three tier control framework for monitoring progress on response actions.

The recommendations were to approve the work programme plan, and for the committee to note the timeframe regarding the future reporting of the programme, who has oversight, the production of bi-annual reports and that it was agreed to identify $2million in the LTP to implement the response programme to the IMSB’s Treaty Audit report.

In addition to the recommendations in the report the committee also requested a report setting out a detailed annual work programme in response to the Treaty Audit Response Work Programme 2015/18 and how they align with the detailed findings of the Te Tiriti o Watangi Audit 2015 report, to be brought to the Finance and Performance Committee in October 2015.


Item 12: Māori Transformational Activity and Expenditure Report – Quarter Four

This item reported the fourth quarter results for the 2014/2015 activity and expenditure to progress uplifting Māori well-being and achieving better outcomes with Māori, including the six Māori priority projects in the 2014/2015 Annual Plan.

No decision making was requested and the committee voted to receive the report on the financial and non-financial information on Māori transformational shift activity in quarter four of the 2014/2015 financial year be noted.


Item 13: IS Transformation Programme and NewCore Project Update

This item was to update the committee on the progress of the IS Transformation project and specifically the NewCore project.

The report advised that the project remains within budget and programme, and has completed the agreed key milestones in the quarter to 30 June 2015.

The committee agreed to accept the update. Please see attached press release for more detail.

Item 14: Efficiency savings update

This item was to report back to the committee on savings achieved to date and future projections built into the Long-Term Plan.

The report notes $183 million in savings for the last financial year increasing to $224 million next year and growing to $309 million in 2025, being accumulated savings of $2.74 billion over the 10 years of the Long-term Plan.

No decisions were required being an information report and the committee received the update.


Item 15: Community Loans and Loan Guarantees

This item was to provide the committee with an update on the status of 45 community loans and community group loan guarantees.

A total of 41 community loans were inherited by Auckland Council through amalgamation, some dating back 20 years.

Financial guarantees are provided to Community Groups in instances where the group resides on Council owned land and have opted to borrow funds from third party lenders that require security for the loan.

The committee agreed to recommendations writing off of two loans dating to 1989 considered irrecoverable, and removal of two loans relating to organisations within the Waikato District Council region from the Auckland council loans register.

Also noted was that the loans are administered in accordance with terms and conditions of the loan and guarantee agreements, and that there will be separate reports relating to Badminton Waitakere and Herne Bay Ponsonby Rackets Clubs requests to restructure their loans presented at future meetings.

Item 16: Auckland Council performance report for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015

This item provides the committee with an overview of the unaudited Auckland Council parent performance results for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.

The committee voted to receive the report, noting the net operating surplus of $17m and a capital expenditure of $455m which is 81 percent of the budgeted programme and $20 million in efficiency targets achieved. It also recommended that the committee note a number of highlights and achievements,

The full Auckland Council Group Annual Report, including CCOs, will be reported to council in September 2015 following Audit NZ review.

Item 17: Budget Update

This report relates to the release of the Albany Off-street Parking Fund. The Upper Harbour Local Board has been trying for some time to identify options to alleviate the parking shortage issue in Albany Village.

The former North Shore City Council collected $354,374 and held in reserve by council for the provision of off street parking in Albany. The Auckland Council inherited this reserve from amalgamation.  The developer of Albany Village shopping area has indicated willingness to incorporate 17 additional parking spaces and the local board wants to release this reserve fund to the developer for these additional parking spaces being consistent with the purposes of the reserve.

The committee agreed to the recommendation that the money is released for use by the local board to provide additional car parking space and that council’s budgets be updated to reflect that.

Item 18: Chief Economist presentation

The committee received a presentation from Chris Parker, Auckland Council Chief Economist on housing based on the March 2015 Auckland Economic Quarterly feature article.

The March edition of the Economic Quarterly is available here


NewCore project update

Auckland Council’s IS transformation project NewCore remains on course, according to the latest quarterly report.

The NewCore Project Update to today’s Finance and Performance Committee shows that the project remains within budget and programme, and has completed the agreed key milestones in the quarter to 30 June 2015.

Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton says that he remains pleased with the progress and performance of the team.

“NewCore remains within the agreed budget and is tracking to agreed timelines, the roll-out of the programme remains on course,” he says.

“The team is working very hard and I am pleased that a programme with as much complexity as NewCore continues to meet agreed targets.”

The project budget sits at an actual spend of $42.9 million which is within the approved $46.7m budget for the year.