Costs of bureaucracy
Mayors tackle local government minister
An audit bill estimated to cost about $177,000 is sending Central Otago district mayor Tony Lepper straight to local government minister David Carter. At a council meeting last week, Mr Lepper and deputy mayor Cr Neil Gillespie were vocal in their condemnation of the cost of government-imposed audits and the use of ratepayer money to pay for them, the most recent examples being the long-term plan and annual report. Earlier this year, Mr Lepper joined forces with Queenstown Lakes district mayor Vanessa van Uden, who said her council’s LTP and audit had cost $126,000, to tackle the minister on ‘‘the cost of bureaucracy.’’ Central Otago district’s corporate services manager Susan Finlay told council members last week the contract with Audit New Zealand through the Auditor General’s office was due to finish next year. Cr Martin McPherson believed that councils paid ‘‘almost treble of what the private sector pays’’ for audits, which Cr Gillespie believed was of ‘‘little demonstrable value to the ratepayer.’’ This would be part of an on-going discussion the two mayors were having with Mr Carter, to improve efficiency while maintaining transparency, Mr Lepper said.
Central Otago mayor: Tony Lepper