Vic Crone has announced:
Auckland Mayoral Candidate Victoria Crone says if elected Mayor, she will open the council books, introduce six monthly report cards and establish an Independent Budgetary Office. Ms Crone says she has floated the ideas with Councillors, professionals and members of the public, and they say it’s about time.
An Independent Budget Office
“I will introduce an Independent Budget Office (IBO) for more robust budget advice on strategic, long-term, and large-spend investments. This will include providing much needed cost-benefit analysis that is relevant and digestible for the Governing Body, local boards and the public.
“Council is no small operation with a huge average $6bn of spend annually in the 10-year plan so it has the ability to fundamentally change the way we live. But there is serious concern, particularly in the business community, around the strength of advice behind its large-scale multi-million dollar investments.
“Independent investment analysis with the IBO will ensure we are taking these decisions seriously and getting it right the first time. The non-partisan IBO will also carry out reviews to make sure these approved investment decisions are delivering the outcomes promised.”
With a spend of $6 billion a year, this is a good idea to have independent verification of budgets.
Opening council’s books
To help improve confidence and engagement, Crone says she will initiate a comprehensive transparency programme making council information publicly available in an easily accessible way.
“I’ll initiate a strong data programme that effectively opens council’s books at a line by line level. This information will be available to the public to search and analyse, covering any area of expenditure (excluding commercially sensitive data) as well as full reporting around employee and contractor numbers,” says Ms Crone.
“If we’re doing things right, we’ve got nothing to worry about. If we’re not, that’s motivation to sort it out so we get it right next time.”
This is something all local Councils should do (and the Government). Many states in the US do this, and some Councils in the UK. You allow citizens to scrutinise the payments ledger, which is a great way to discourage waste. If a transaction looks suspicious, then you can do a LGOIMA request asking for details of it. They call these Armchair Auditors Acts.
The Mayor’s Report Cards
Finally, Ms Crone says she will introduce Mayor’s report cards to help Aucklanders understand council’s role and the context of key priority issues for the city.
“Six-monthly Mayor’s Report Cards will update us on progress in our priority investment areas. Transport and housing are definitely issues of urgency that would be at the top of the list needing clearer key metrics on progress,” Ms Crone says.
“These are a cost effective and coordinated set of initiatives that will bring improved performance, transparency, trust and confidence, around the workings of Auckland Council and CCOs.”
For more more information see attached policy document or visit www.vic4mayor.nz/policy.
Also a good idea.
We have three candidates for Council (Crone, Thomas and Palino) all proposing specific policies to improve the Council. As far as I can tell Phil Goff has not a single detailed policy, and his platform appears to be simply to spend even more money than Len did.