Wages continue to rise even as mayor slashes $2.7 billion from city’s budget.

Spending on Auckland Council's wages continues to rise and 1780 employees now earn six-figure salaries.

Remuneration figures released to the Herald show total wages paid were up $9 million to $702 million for the year ending June 2014. There are also 1780 staff earning more than $100,000 - 280 more than the 1500 in the previous period.

The top salary level has increased from $799,999 to $859,999 and there is $719 million allocated for staff expenditure in the current 2014/15 Annual Plan.

Details of the wage rises come a month after Auckland Mayor Len Brown announced extreme measures to cut $2.7 billion off the city's $13.1 billion debt over the next 10 years.

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Documents show the council employed 500 more staff at June 30 than in the previous 12 months. There were 11,134 employees - or the equivalent of 8441 fulltime staff - compared to 10,616, or 8074 fulltimers, in the same 2012/2013 period.

Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer, who released the figures, said: "We were all assured one amalgamated council would do more stuff with less staff. Four years on and clearly Len Brown has failed to achieve the anticipated staff savings."

Forecasts made prior to amalgamation by the government agency set up for the merge stated 7907 fulltime equivalent staff would be needed by the council by July 2012 with a spend of $513 million. A council spokesman said staff numbers were below targets and increases were due to external contractors being replaced with in-house positions.

"Total staff numbers remain below targets set at the start of amalgamation, and well below the staff numbers of the former councils," he said.

"In many cases the increased costs reflect decisions to bring specialist contracted roles in-house saving money for ratepayers, including 205 staff at Ports of Auckland."

Requests for data that showed this were declined yesterday.

The mayor's office declined to add to a statement by chief executive Stephen Town who said he had received "almost unanimous endorsement" for a presentation on remuneration policy to the council's governing body.

Details of that policy were not supplied to the Herald.

"If the mayor can prove to ratepayers he's spending less on consultants and contractors, I'll eat my hat," Mr Brewer said.

Mr Brewer said he strongly disagreed with the number of staff earning over $100,000 despite joining the income bracket this year.

Read more: Aucklanders say cut staff - not services

"Some of us were not happy with the quantum of councillors last pay rise, and frankly the Remuneration Authority now needs to pull its head in. Councillors are very well paid as it is." Councillors earning over $100,000 are not included in the 1780 staff earning more than six figures.

Asked if he had declined his own pay rise or would do, Mr Brewer said: "The difference is the salaries of our 170 elected representatives are independently set in Wellington whereas Auckland Council has complete control over determining its own staff salaries.

"If the Remuneration Authority sets any further significant increases, rest assured I will be seeking advice on if and how we can reject future pay rises."

A July Herald-DigiPoll survey showed 42.5 per cent of Aucklanders believed the best way for the council to meet its budget plans was to reduce staff and salaries.

On the up and up
2013
$100k-plus 1500
$200k-plus 113
$300k-plus 23
2014
$100k-plus 1780
$200k-plus 141
$300k-plus 35
*Salaries of total staff numbers