Not-So-Super City? Plans to slash council budgets will hit Aucklanders hard

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A pledge to slash half a billion dollars from Auckland Council’s budget is short term thinking that will hit communities hard, the Public Service Association says.

Mayoral hopeful Victoria Crone and the Auckland Future ticket have released what they’re calling a Fiscal Responsibility Pledge.

They plan to cap rates rises at 2 per cent per year, cut $500 million from council budgets and freeze staff numbers.

Ms Crone says no services will be cut, and the savings will come from "back office".

The PSA’s National Secretary Glenn Barclay says Ms Crone’s changes will see quality of life in Auckland deteriorate.

"There’s no question that Aucklanders will get poorer services if Ms Crone’s cuts are implemented," Mr Barclay says.

"The difference between ‘back office’ and ‘frontline’ is artificial, because frontline staff can’t do their jobs properly without proper support.

"The PSA agrees that local governments need to be as efficient as possible, but the Council’s job is to make Auckland a great place to live - now and in the future.

"Local government touches every area of Aucklanders’ lives - from public transport, rubbish collection and animal control to swimming pools and libraries.

"Councils issue building and resource consents, and enforce by-laws and environmental health legislation.

"So-called ‘back office’ staff help this work get done - so any cut to them means a service will be compromised."

The PSA is calling on Ms Crone and Auckland Future to give more detail about their plans as soon as possible so that Aucklanders know what’s really at issue.

"It would be good to see candidates come out in support of public services and the work that our members do - instead of relying on soundbites and headline-grabbing rhetoric," Mr Barclay says.