28 Sep 2010

Laid-off council workers may be rehired as consultants

8:16 pm on 28 September 2010

It's being predicted hundreds of council workers laid off in Auckland may be rehired as super city consultants on inflated wages.

More than 1200 jobs will be shed in five weeks' time, when the new local body structure is introduced.

An Auckland urban planning consultant, Phil McDermott, says talented council workers have already started leaving to work in Australia.

He predicts others will turn to consultancy, only to be rehired by the Auckland Council to do their old jobs for more pay.

The director of the Institute of Public Policy at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), David Wilson, agrees that many will turn to consultancy work.

He says some of the heaviest layoffs are occurring at middle management level, and their knowledge of local issues will be missed.

The director of the Work and Labour Market Institute at AUT, Ray Markey, says many of the people coming off contract will have lined up work already.

He says those who don't yet have work will be attractive to the private sector. But not everyone will get a job straight away, he says, and some may have to settle for reduced conditions.

The new Auckland Council comes into existence on 1 November.