Taskforce ‘waste of money’
MAYOR John Banks has pulled out of a national forum on youth employment, calling the project “navel-gazing”.
Auckland City Council’s membership of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, which includes 71 of the country’s 73 mayors, runs out in July.
But Mr Banks says Auckland City Council won’t put up the $5000 fee to stay involved.
“I’m not going to waste ratepayers’ money navelgazing with other mayors when the responsibility falls with central government,” he says.
“I just simply don’t have time for non-core council business in an economic environment where you can’t get staff for love or money.”
The taskforce was established in 2002 with the aim of seeing all under 25year-olds in employment or training.
Membership costs 5 cents per head of population, capped at $5000.
Taskforce chairman Dale Williams told the council on Thursday the cost represented about $3 for every unemployed youth in Auckland.
“I’ve never looked at the Mayors Taskforce as a cost. It’s an investment,” he said.
But Mr Banks says the cost of related projects runs into hundreds of thousands.
“It’s a commitment to quite a lot of cash,” he says.
“You can’t join up for $5000 and not go along with the projects.”
City Vision councillors argued in favour of membership at the meeting, saying there was a clear benefit for the city.
Leila Boyle said the taskforce was more than just talk.
“We are getting really good bang for our buck from the fee, and I think $5000 is not too much to ask for all we get in return,” she said.
“Young people are seriously over-represented in our unemployment figures.
“This is doing something, this is being part of a collective, standing together with the other mayors of the country.”
Citizens & Ratepayers councillor Doug Armstrong argued there was no need for the taskforce.
“Frankly we don’t have a problem with unemployment,” he said. “It’s the role of government to get involved in trade training.”
A motion from councillor Cathy Casey to retain membership was defeated by nine votes to seven.