Auckland Council’s $1 billion wage bill!

Bernard Orsman reports:

The Auckland Council wages bill is approaching $1 billion a year, of which about $100 million is not reported as staff costs for accounting reasons.

The council is obliged by law to publish staff costs for running the Super City, but is not required to publish staff costs charged against capital projects, like building roads or new libraries and swimming pools.

Last month, the council published operating staff costs of $866m in the latest annual report, but did not report capitalised staff costs of $91m.

So $957 million.

Rodney councillor Greg Sayers said council should be completely transparent with all its staff costs, saying Aucklanders deserve to know where council is spending money.

“There is no excuse for hiding these numbers from Auckland ratepayers, and it is disappointing the mayor has not demanded transparency from council staff.

“Council should not run the types of accounts that Enron would be proud of,” Sayers said.

It’s fine to capitalise some staff costs. But for reasons of transparency the financial statements should clearly state how much those staff costs were which were capitalised.