• May 19, 2021
Council workers are feeling the pressure after recent job cuts. Photo: Anri Snyman
Jobs at Auckland council will not fall below 6000 despite the pandemic, says a senior council executive.
Auckland Council deputy chief executive Patricia Reade says while workforce levels have reduced, they are not set to fall below the original covid-related target of 6000 full-time staff, which currently sits between an estimated 6250 to 6350.
“This estimate is due to a significantly higher level of public demand for council services such as building and resource consent, community facilities and venues than was expected when the Emergency Budget was adopted, and the need to deliver critical shovel-ready infrastructure projects.”
A lack of funding following the Covid-19 period last year meant 643 council workers lost their jobs.
Resource consents department urban planner Rahman Bashir, 22, says they’ve recently lost a lot of people in the planning department.
“We’ve lost a lot of staff especially those in senior roles, making projects run slower than normal. Realistically, the council can’t match the same pay rates as private sectors, so we can’t retain [people] and are losing some of our best staff.”
He says although he feels for the workers who lost their jobs, he understands that a low budget in an umbrella organisation sometimes means sacrifice.
“It comes down to integrated resource management in Aotearoa . . . whatever national resource policies say the Government have to apply.
“Throughout all of covid, local governments did not receive a single dollar [in wage subsidies] compared to in the private sector.”
The council Emergency Budget decisions adopted for 2020/2021 following covid-19-related financial issues were made in response to the public’s feedback.
Feedback included maintaining a capital investment programme of more than $2.5 billion, which covers the majority of costs to reach planned goals, projects and council maintenance.
Ms Reade says due to the covid slow-down in 2020, the New Zealand Upgrade Programme has accelerated some infrastructure programmes and workers are needed to deliver critical time-dependent projects.
“We will continue to closely monitor both our workforce numbers and the workload pressures in some areas of our business to ensure we have the right numbers of people across our organisation as we look out to the next financial year.
“This includes considering our people’s wellbeing as a priority and moving towards a more mature strategic workforce planning approach for the future.”