Auckland, March 22, 2018
I welcome Auckland Council’s adoption of a more stringent travel and gifts policy that will help reduce travel costs and ensure Council undertakes essential business travel only.
The new policy also covers gifts and hospitality and ensures that Council staff only receive gifts and hospitality where there is a justifiable business purpose.
The Council has a responsibility to Auckland’s ratepayers to spend their money wisely.
Rising travel costs
I was concerned with the rise in travel costs and have directed Council’s CEO to cut Council’s international travel bill by 30% in this financial year.
That will require Council to prioritise spending on what is most essential and provide an incentive to minimise costs for any travel.
I have made it clear to Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) in the Letters of Expectation that, in addition to being fiscally prudent generally, I expect them to comply with the council group standard.
I want to have safeguards in place to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
New Group Policy
The New Group Policy creates clear expectations for council and its CCOs to be restrained on gifts, hospitality and travel.
Staff across the entire council group will only travel where it is justifiable and necessary after exhausting all other options like video conferencing.
Staff will fly economy for flights of less than eight hours and premium economy for anything over eight hours.
Any business class travel will have to be reviewed and approved by the Chief Executive.
All staff must be financially prudent and choose the best value for money when making spending choices.
I expect every council organisation to apply close scrutiny to all its expenditure including gifts, hospitality and travel.
Picture of Phil Goff from file