29 Nov 2018

Auckland Council staff to be paid living wage by next year

3:20 pm on 29 November 2018

All Auckland Council staff are due to be paid a living wage by next September - but that won't extend to the people who clean the halls of power.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has revealed his draft budget for the 2019/2020 financial year.

It revealed few surprises, with most of the spending already flagged in the 10-year budget, and it must be passed by councillors to come into effect.

Under the plan, all council staff would be paid a living wage from next year.

It would cost about $7 million to bring them up to scratch, although the figure is likely to change as the living wage increases.

Mr Goff said the workers who carried out core tasks for the council, like bus drivers or council office cleaners, would not be covered.

It was legally and financially complicated to resolve those issues because it involved outside companies but he would like to see more contractors paid a living wage eventually, he said.

"We might begin with maybe the cleaning staff in the building who aren't employed by us directly but they are contracted to do the work that makes our work possible," he said.

The budget outlines an annual saving of about $23m to operational spending in the next year.

Some of that would come from increased automation although there were unlikely to be wholesale job losses, Mr Goff said.

One of the few new additions to the budget was the proposal to give $5m to the City Mission.

Mr Goff said was recognition for the way the City Mission helped the homeless.

Rates, as expected, would increase by 2.5 percent, with Mr Goff campaigning on that figure.

However, next year was likely to be the last for such a small rise, with the following year expected to be 3.5 percent.

Nothing in today's draft budget is set in stone - it must be ratified by the full Auckland Council first.

Mr Goff revealed it to councillors this afternoon.

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