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Source: PSA

While we welcome the news that Auckland Council is softening plans to cut funding for arts and social services, its restructure will limit the Council’s effectiveness and pile the pressure on its workers.
The decision document sent to Council staff says the restructure will cut staff numbers by 94 FTE (full time equivalent employees) roles.
“We’re concerned for the livelihoods of members who will lose their jobs. And we’re concerned for the livelihood of members who will now have to do even more work with even less support,” said Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
The Council plans to disestablish 68 vacant roles, ‘significantly impact’ the roles of 51 current staff and create 25 new roles.
“Where the Council sees numbers on a balance sheet, we see hard-working people making a difference in their communities. Staff that remain at the Council will be stretched thin to cover the disestablished roles,” said Leo.
“Mayor Brown has listened to the people and communities of Tāmaki Makaurau when it comes to arts and social services. But he should recognise that the Council needs enough staff to serve it communities properly.”
On Wednesday the Council retreated from proposed cuts to the 2023/24 budget impacting the Citizens Advice Bureau, homelessness initiatives, the Southern Initiative, regional grants, and funding for regional events, arts, and culture. The Council’s public consultation revealed that 73% of individual submitters and 75% of organisations opposed some or all of the proposed cuts.
“We note that Mayor Brown has not entirely ruled out some reductions in these vital services and has talked about shifting services to a more sustainable footing. That may involve a request for central government funding for some services so that all suggests some uncertainty over the medium term for these services.
“However, we are really pleased for Auckland communities that for now, the threat to service cuts has moderated.
“Consultation with our members on the transport cuts has been rushed and we’re really worried that the proposal will end up impacting transport services quite apart from the impact on the lives of valued workers.
“Softening proposed cuts was a step forward, but this restructure is two steps backwards. We urge Auckland Council to pull back on other significant cuts. Austerity is not the answer to ensuring Auckland remains a vibrant city delivering for its communities.”