Auckland Council cuts wages and business units


Watercare Managing Director Raveen Jaduram’s salary of $ 775,000 was mentioned during the review. Photo / Greg Bowker

The days of big salaries in Auckland Council business units seem to be numbered with plans to bring them into line with the public sector.

An independent review of the five board-controlled organizations (CCOs) recommended that advisers have a say in the compensation of CEOs of CCOs and common salary ranges for other staff.

Salaries of CCO general managers are currently set by unelected CCO boards, which often obtain independent advice on comparable salaries in the public and private sectors.

Executive salaries annoy the public, says Miriam Dean, the QC who led the review which made 64 recommendations in a 100-page report released yesterday.

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Many people expressed surprise that the salary of $ 775,000 paid to Watercare’s general manager, Raveen Jaduram, was higher than the salary of $ 698,000 paid to the board’s general manager, Stephen Town, according to the review.

Since the three review committee members began writing their report, the board has appointed a new CEO, Jim Stabback, with a salary of $ 600,000.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said no one in the council group should be paid more than the council’s chief executive. Jaduram and former Panuku general manager Roger MacDonald sit outside the mayor’s expectations.

Ateed runs the V8 Supercars in Pukekohe.  Photo / Nick Reed
Ateed runs the V8 Supercars in Pukekohe. Photo / Nick Reed

The review cited an anonymous senior board director who said that overall, CCOs pay more than for similar board roles.

“Some of them can use the same structure, but they don’t make the same decisions as we do,” he said.

The review committee made up of Dean, consultant Doug Martin and former Manukau City Council CEO Leigh Auton recommended that the board have a say in the compensation of CCO CEOs through a formal process that sets out politicians’ expectations of them.

“CCOs are, after all, public sector entities, not private corporations, and the compensation of their CEOs should reflect this fact,” the review said.

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The main recommendation of the review was a merger of the Auckland regional facilities and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed).

The two CCOs both work in the event space and, as early as 2011, a report claimed there were too many duplicates.

Ateed is responsible for major events like the V8 Supercars and the World Masters Games in 2017. He also organizes major cultural festivals like the Lantern Festival, Diwali and Pasifika and sporting events like the Auckland Marathon.

Regional Facilities operates the city’s major event venues, such as the Aotea Center, Civic Theater, Mt Smart, and Western Springs. He also manages the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland Zoo, and donates money to the Auckland Museum, Motat, Stardome, and the Maritime Museum.

RFA and Ateed collaborate to attract events to Auckland, and they both operate separate convention businesses.

Miriam Dean QC, chaired the Independent Review Committee.  Photo / Ted Baghurst
Miriam Dean QC, chaired the Independent Review Committee. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Goff said he thought the merger made a lot of sense, saying there was potential savings of $ 67 million over 10 years, and he argued having a CCO to focus on making Auckland a good one. place to live, work, visit and invest.

He was hopeful advisers would make a decision on the merger this month, saying if approved the new CCO could be up and running by Christmas.

There is no name for the new CCO, but it could have a simple name like Auckland Live or Auckland Events.

The review found that CCOs generally function well, but there is a need for the board to provide them with clear strategic direction and for CCOs to balance commercial and public interests.

However, the review found that often the CCOs and the board were sometimes on different pages when it came to interpreting plans and strategies.

One example was Auckland Transport’s adoption of lower speed limits, which “occurred in a strategic vacuum” and met with backlash from councilors and residents.

The review has been critical of how Auckland Transport has introduced lower speed limits.  Photo / Dean Purcell
The review has been critical of how Auckland Transport has introduced lower speed limits. Photo / Dean Purcell

The review also criticized the council for making plans for CCOs to follow without funding to do so, citing local council plans and the Auckland climate action plan.

One of the measures of the action plan is “employment in low carbon and climate innovation as a share of employment and GDP in Auckland’s economy”.

“What this means, let alone how it might be put into practice and measured, is far from clear to us,” the review said.

The review states that “many councilors, local councils, residents and taxpayer groups have complained about CCOs acting with ‘too much freedom’, but this criticism can be attributed to the lack of well-defined roles and responsibilities.”


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