Council faces scrutiny over $6.5 Million staffing overspend amid rising rates

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 27, 2023 |

The Christchurch City Council faces intense pressure to tighten its financial belt.

It follows a startling revelation that the Council’s Three Waters department exceeded its budget by $6.5 million in staffing costs.

An analysis by KPMG found the department employed significantly more staff than allocated in its budget, leading to $6.5 million overspend since July 2019.

This financial misstep has sparked widespread concern and criticism.

Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy said “The Christchurch City Council needs to regain the confidence of ratepayers, after an array of financial missteps and a barely existent executive team raises serious questions about their ability to actually govern their city.”

Molloy pointed to Mayor Phil Mauger’s warning of an 18% rate increase, potential asset sales, and drastic cuts in public services like closing libraries.

The situation is further aggravated by leadership woes within the Three Waters department.

The resignations of two key executive members responsible for service delivery only add to the troubles.

This development, coupled with the departures of Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale and Chief Financial Officer Leah Scales, paints a bleak picture of the Council’s executive management Molloy said.

“Councillors need to start steering this ship and start making cutbacks on unnecessary spending and make every effort to promote financial responsibility to avoid the gargantuan rates rises that they threaten their residents with.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?