Staff sent on costly trip not hired by Super City

By Alanah Eriksen, Alanah May Eriksen

The Manukau City Council says none of the four executives sent on a pricey leadership course at a luxury resort has jobs in the new Super City.

The six-day trip to Queenstown with meals and accommodation at Millbrook Resort is advertised at $19,265.50 a head, but the council negotiated a discount with the Institute for Strategic Leadership.

Human resources manager Craig Morris told a morning news programme yesterday that $50,000 was a "very ballpark" figure. He would not name the individuals who went, citing privacy reasons.

A spokeswoman told the Herald, "None of the staff members have been confirmed [as having] a position in the new council ... anything could happen in the next few months, they just haven't been confirmed."

Of 37 senior appointments made to the Auckland Council and council-controlled transport organisation, only two have been filled by Manukau staff.

Mr Morris said the council stood by its decision to support leadership development. It was an "onshore equivalent" to executive management programmes offered by some of the world's top universities.

"Manukau City Council has always had long-standing commitment to developing its people and, as part of their role, senior managers have robust professional development plans in place," Mr Morris said.

"The ISL executive programme has been part of our professional development programme for senior managers for some time. This has been in place long before the transition to the new Auckland Council began."

Mr Morris told TVNZ's Breakfast programme the seminar in May would have been too "expensive to cancel". Most trips were planned a year ahead.

Asked if the trip was "a gift to four outgoing executives to ready themselves for the private sector", he said, "No, that's certainly not the basis on which we sent people ... to provide executive development for the development of the Auckland Council".

The programme is advertised as a way to help senior executives discover their leadership style and lead change.

It includes sessions on strategic thinking and strategic communications as well as one-on-one coaching sessions.

- NZ Herald

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