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Hide Questions Hiring Drive Before Royal Commission Report

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide. Pic: NZPA
Rodney Hide. Pic: NZPA

Wellington, Jan 22 NZPA - Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has called for Auckland City Council to hold fire on filling vacancies until a report that could see councils merged is released.

A commission comprising retired High Court judge Peter Salmon QC, former public servant Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand is considering the Auckland's local government structure.

One possible outcome is a single body -- Greater Auckland has four city councils, three district councils, one regional council and community boards. The commission reports back to government before the March 31 deadline.

The council is advertising to fill several vacancies, including positions that could be lost in a merger because they are duplicated in other councils.

They include group managers for economic development and marketing and communications.

Mr Hide told The New Zealand Herald that "Auckland City Council is carrying on as if it was business as usual" despite the likely shake up from the Royal Commission report and the world-wide recession.

He said the council should try to get by with existing staff.

"Everyone else is having to."

Labour Party Auckland issues spokesman Phil Twyford said Mr Hide was effectively calling for jobs to be slashed.

"It's a little hasty to be cutting jobs when the Royal Commission is still deliberating on the future of Auckland's governance. Not to mention unwise in a deepening recession."

Mr Twyford said Auckland's governance reform should be about what structure gave the best long-term outcomes rather than saving money.

"The time will come when jobs will need to be re-organised. But any transition should be planned in a thoughtful and orderly way that builds a stronger and more capable local body workforce. Opportunistic job cutting is not the way to go."

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