Part 1: Introduction

Inquiry into payments to chief executives of dissolving local authorities in Auckland.

The Auditor-General carried out an inquiry into the employment termination arrangements for chief executives of the eight dissolving local authorities in Auckland1 after receiving a request from the Minister of Local Government. The Auditor-General intended to consider these arrangements as part of the final audit of the local authorities but decided to do so sooner because of Parliamentary and public interest in the matter.

Our inquiry considered:

  • the termination arrangements entered into by the local authorities for their chief executives at the end of their employment;
  • the payments to the chief executives under those termination arrangements;
  • the role of the Auckland Transition Agency (the ATA) in this process; and
  • how the local authorities and the ATA applied the notice of termination requirements.

How we carried out our inquiry

We reviewed employment agreements and other relevant documents, including payroll information, to determine the nature and extent of termination payments to the eight local authority chief executives at the end of their employment.

We also reviewed the process the local authorities followed in determining the entitlements of their chief executives, including whether the local authorities got the ATA’s approval for any variations to terms and conditions of employment made in the transition period between the enactment of the reorganisation legislation and the dissolution of the local authorities (24 May 2009 to 31 October 2010).2

We reviewed the transitional provisions relating to employment in the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 (the Transitional Provisions Act), and legal advice obtained by councils and the ATA on the operation of those provisions.

Structure of this report

In Part 2, we describe the employment termination arrangements for the eight chief executives, and list the payments made.

In Part 3, we set out how the notices of termination have been dealt with.

1: The eight local authorities were Auckland City Council, Waitakere City Council, Manukau City Council, North Shore City Council, Rodney District Council, Papakura District Council, Franklin District Council, and Auckland Regional Council.

2: Section 31 of the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009 required ATA approval for certain decisions by local authorities in the period between its enactment and their dissolution.

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