Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Vic Crone: Auckland Council 'wasted' $1.2 billion on IT

Vic Crone says the council had failed in its governance responsibilities to Aucklanders and ratepayers. Photo / Nick Reed
Vic Crone says the council had failed in its governance responsibilities to Aucklanders and ratepayers. Photo / Nick Reed

Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone is calling for heads to roll over "wasted" spending of $1.2 billion on information technology at Auckland Council with nothing to show for it.

Ms Crone, former head of the accounting software firm Xero, said the council had failed in its governance responsibilities to Aucklanders and ratepayers.

The Herald today reported that the Super City has spent $1.24 billion on IT since it was formed in 2010.

Figures provided under the Official Information Act show Auckland Council has spent $902 million, Auckland Transport $209 million and Watercare $124 million.

Senior executives attribute the costs to the complexities of moving from computer systems inherited from Auckland's eight former councils to a single environment.

Critics claim the decision by the Auckland Transition Agency, which set up the Super City, to largely build a new system from scratch for Auckland Council was never properly evaluated.

"This is a shambles," Ms Crone said. "With over $1.2 billion wasted and nothing to show for it, the lack of leadership, oversight, transparency, discipline, and expertise is staggering."

She added: "Having worked in the IT and communications sector in senior management positions during my 20 years in business, I have never seen such gross negligence at all levels of project management, and heads must roll."

Another mayoral candidate, Labour MP Phil Goff, said the spend was huge and there clearly needed to be better political oversight and explanation for the blowout in costs.

"My constant experience of IT projects in Government is if you try to create a greenfields system, you get into trouble, whereas if you buy off a shelf ... you are in a much safer place," Mr Goff said.

Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance spokeswoman Jo Holmes said ratepayers would be stunned at this new level of waste and incompetence hitting them in the pockets. Per ratepayer, the amount spent on IT was almost $2500, she said.

"It sets a new low in Auckland Council's efforts to waste our money."

Ms Holmes agreed with councillor Mike Lee, who called the situation a scandal.

"Where is the accountability, the thorough examination of officials and public inquiry?" she said. "Councillors should be doing their jobs and holding officials to account for this ridiculous spending."

- NZ Herald

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