GDC slams NZ Ratepayers Report

GISBORNE District Council has joined councils across the country in criticising the NZ Ratepayers Report published by the Taxpayers’ Union.

Last week the Gisborne Herald quoted figures from the taxpayers' union stating that Gisborne District Council employs 397 staff (including students and rural firefighters) but the council’s acting chief executive David Wilson today said that was not an established way of measuring or comparing staff levels.

“In our annual report for 2016/17, which is being prepared for audit, we have 281 full time equivalent (FTE) employees.

“Each council takes a different approach to the tasks it chooses to deliver with its own staff and those it delivers via contractors.

“We employ students, for example, over the holiday periods and in doing so these students gain valuable work experience while they are with us, also benefiting the community.

“The taxpayers' union’s analysis did not take into account these considerations when making these types of comparisons.

“FTE is the more appropriate number than total head count, as this accurately adds up the amount of resource that is available and, in this context, being paid for by the ratepayer.

“The use of FTEs to define resourcing is consistently applied across councils, and using any other way for determining staffing levels and comparing it to the range of activities that the council chooses to undertake, is like comparing apples to eggs.”

No context

On behalf of councils across the country, Dave Cull, the president of Local Government New Zealand, says media releases from the taxpayer union criticise councils’ performance without providing even a tiny degree of context.

Mr Cull says the figures did not take into account many considerations when making these types of comparisons.

“The report divides performance factors by the wrong number and the basis for comparison is wrong.

“Dividing factors such as debt, rates and salaries by what the taxpayers’ union calls “residential ratepayers” creates a number of problems. For a start it ignores the fact that businesses and farmers also pay rates.

“It also ignores the fact that the number of rating units is not the same as the number of people for whom councils provide services.

“Resulting comparisons are therefore meaningless,” Mr Cull said.

Mr Wilson said that under the leadership of chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, GDC’s organisational structure had been “flattened” and was now more streamlined.

“We are focused on delivering the outcomes that the elected members and the community expect from us. I believe this formula allows us to use our resources more effectively and enables our staff on every level to feel empowered to get on with the job.”

Mr Wilson reiterated that the council remained committed to responding to the needs of the community and to finding the most cost-effective way to do so.

GISBORNE District Council has joined councils across the country in criticising the NZ Ratepayers Report published by the Taxpayers’ Union.

Last week the Gisborne Herald quoted figures from the taxpayers' union stating that Gisborne District Council employs 397 staff (including students and rural firefighters) but the council’s acting chief executive David Wilson today said that was not an established way of measuring or comparing staff levels.

“In our annual report for 2016/17, which is being prepared for audit, we have 281 full time equivalent (FTE) employees.

“Each council takes a different approach to the tasks it chooses to deliver with its own staff and those it delivers via contractors.

“We employ students, for example, over the holiday periods and in doing so these students gain valuable work experience while they are with us, also benefiting the community.

“The taxpayers' union’s analysis did not take into account these considerations when making these types of comparisons.

“FTE is the more appropriate number than total head count, as this accurately adds up the amount of resource that is available and, in this context, being paid for by the ratepayer.

“The use of FTEs to define resourcing is consistently applied across councils, and using any other way for determining staffing levels and comparing it to the range of activities that the council chooses to undertake, is like comparing apples to eggs.”

No context

On behalf of councils across the country, Dave Cull, the president of Local Government New Zealand, says media releases from the taxpayer union criticise councils’ performance without providing even a tiny degree of context.

Mr Cull says the figures did not take into account many considerations when making these types of comparisons.

“The report divides performance factors by the wrong number and the basis for comparison is wrong.

“Dividing factors such as debt, rates and salaries by what the taxpayers’ union calls “residential ratepayers” creates a number of problems. For a start it ignores the fact that businesses and farmers also pay rates.

“It also ignores the fact that the number of rating units is not the same as the number of people for whom councils provide services.

“Resulting comparisons are therefore meaningless,” Mr Cull said.

Mr Wilson said that under the leadership of chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, GDC’s organisational structure had been “flattened” and was now more streamlined.

“We are focused on delivering the outcomes that the elected members and the community expect from us. I believe this formula allows us to use our resources more effectively and enables our staff on every level to feel empowered to get on with the job.”

Mr Wilson reiterated that the council remained committed to responding to the needs of the community and to finding the most cost-effective way to do so.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

wiki gerrard - 21 days ago
As a ratepayer in Gisborne, I tend to believe GDC needs to cut staff.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Are you voting in the election, and if so when?