Staff Costs at Auckland Council: The Real Numbers

In real terms Numbers have decreased

But we need staff for those consents


So mayoral candidate put some numbers out on staff costs exceeding allocated budget lines event though Council is running a OPEX surplus of $80m as of June 30, 2015 (full year). However, Crones numbers do not tell the full story as seen below:

Real Staff costs Source: Supplied
Real Staff costs
Source: Supplied


It is to note:

  • Like in any business when there is an increase in your revenue there will often be an increase in staff costs. That’s what happens when a business grows.
  • At the moment population growth is around 3.5% but staff numbers in Council grow by around half that. In real times it is staff cuts given that extra staff are needed in Consenting and Bylaw enforcement if you want the City to ticket over (consenting and bylaw enforcement are regulatory and make up the bulk of staff costs) and that consent for your house issued or the response to complaint done timely
  • Looking percentage of staff costs, because of big revenue increase, the wages bill for council has actually fallen or been flat over the last 3 years in % terms. This comes from again population growth is faster than staff number growth
  • Again Council is posting full year surpluses as well
  • Crone says her numbers show the full Council group, I have been told reliably that the numbers are just for the main Council. Auckland Transport is not included in those numbers (and I would say the same applies to Port of Auckland also being separate as Radio NZ’s Todd Niall reported on in 2014:‘didn’t-break-budget’)


So be very cautious in what candidates tell you….