Media release – 17 June 2016: Auckland Council’s release today of its Citizen Insights Monitor showing just 15% of Aucklanders surveyed are satisfied with the council’s performance while only 17% trust the council is disappointing but not unexpected,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.
“Firstly, hats off to the Chief Executive and his leadership team for doing this work and the subsequent authoring of the inaugural Auckland Council Performance Plan 2017 – 2019. The really negative numbers among these baseline survey results are not a reflection on staff. Nonetheless they have now tasked themselves with ensuring reputation repair!
“Sadly, it’s the lack of trust, political effectiveness and accountability and attitude towards ratepayers’ money that is dragging down Auckland Council’s reputation. While the categories of regional leadership & growth, social responsibility and communications, and fairness and ethics get a pass mark, accountability and effectiveness fail.”
Among the worse sub-categories within the failed category are ‘trustworthy’, ‘makes wise spending decisions’, ‘acts with integrity and honesty’, ‘good value for ratepayers’ money’, and ‘spends without waste or cost over-runs’.
Mr Brewer says it’s important to note there’s plenty of public support for many of the services, events and programmes Auckland Council runs. What’s more, there has also been some solid results recently pertaining to customer experience, employee engagement, and elected member satisfaction of advice received.
“However the wider public perception of the Auckland Council when it comes to trust and overall reputation is officially shot. And that’s a largely political reflection made by the people.
“Back in December 2013 when Auckland Council faced the biggest credibility crisis of its six-year existence, some of us pushed hard for political leadership renewal. We lost and were promised that the wider reputation of the organisation would return in time.
“Back then I argued that was never going to happen and the organisation would only be dragged down further.
“Sadly, after nearly three years we now have the empirical proof that ‘hanging on and hoping things would change’ has been hugely damaging to the council’s wider reputation. Then when you add in the Unitary Plan, budget blow-outs, and ongoing rates rises and soaring debt the public anger has only compounded.”
Mr Brewer says the good news is there will be the chance for some political renewal in the upcoming local body elections.
“However, replacing one Labour Mayor with another won’t improve the public’s deepest concern which is around how ratepayers’ money is treated and spent. If the public want that changed, they will need to actually vote for change not mere succession,” he says.