The wages bill at Auckland Council has topped $800 million and the number of fulltime staff has climbed to nearly 10,000.
The latest council figures show fulltime equivalent staff numbers have risen from 9678 to 9870 between the 2015 and 2016 financial years. This is a rise of 192 staff.
Salaries and wages have risen from $771 million to $803 million, although this includes $20 million of staff costs previously budgeted as operating costs.
The net increase of $12 million is an improvement on last year's $63 million blowout in staff costs.
Since the Super City was formed in 2010, fulltime equivalent staff numbers have risen from 8207 and wage costs have climbed from $615 million.
The council said staff numbers had risen this year largely to cater for population growth and big projects like the city rail link, which has taken on 27 extra staff.
Changes to the SuperGold card and a huge lift in the people using HOP cards had led to 26 new jobs. Watercare and Auckland Transport in-house services created another 29 jobs.
Corporate finance and property general manager Kevin Ramsay said since 2010 the Super City has grown by 130,000 people, equal to the size of Tauranga.
The latest figures have not impressed mayoral candidates Phil Goff and Vic Crone, who have pledged to do more with less. Crone has promised to cap staff numbers and cut "out of control" staff costs by 5 to 10 per cent.
"It's disappointing to see once again Auckland Council is over on its personnel budget," Crone said.
The council, she said, had gone to lengths to justify increased staff for projects when it should be about delivering better outcomes for Aucklanders.
Crone said council should provide greater transparency of staff numbers and costs and publish contractor numbers and costs.
"That's the level of transparency we deserve, not the level of spin we're getting defending these outrageous increases," she said.
Goff said he accepted areas of growth, like consenting, warranted extra staff, "but I don't think that presents a clean bill of health".
"I don't think anything in the report makes it any less important to go department-by-department on an efficiency drive," said Goff, who wants to launch a 3 to 6 per cent savings drive across council.
Ramsay said the annual report, which included staff numbers and costs, showed council had had a successful year. Running costs produced an accounting surplus of $250 million. Capital spending of $1.4 billion, mostly on transport and water infrastructure, was less than budgeted. The council had also maintained its AA credit rating, Ramsay said.
Staff numbers and costs
Total staff numbers - 11,591, up 211 from 11,380 in 2015
Fulltime equivalent staff numbers - 9870, up 192 from 9678 in 2015
Staff earning more than $100,000 - 2048, up 136 from 1912 in 2015
Staff costs - $803m, up $32m from budget of $771m*
*Includes $20m of staff costs previously budgeted as operating costs