Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Upgrade of Auckland Transport invoice system ruled out

Andrew McKenzie, Auckland Council chief financial officer. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Andrew McKenzie, Auckland Council chief financial officer. Photo / Steven McNicholl

There are no plans to upgrade Auckland Transport's $2.2 million computer system after reports that Auckland City is spending tens of millions of dollars on bolstering a similar system.

Chief finance officer Andrew McKenzie has defended the council's expensive computer system, which councillor Mike Lee said could turn into a "monumental financial scandal" for the council.

Mr McKenzie said the $54 million computer system was built by the agency setting up the Super City to provide core services from day one for the Auckland Council and required additional upgrades across a range of functions.

In August, councillors approved an extra $12 million for an upgrade to asset management and property management functions and last week an extra $7 million for procurement and purchasing improvements. That brings the cost to $73 million with tens of millions of dollars of extra spending still to come.

Mr McKenzie said the council's system was not a clunker but a world-acknowledged financial system.

It had been set up for paying accounts but not the more complex area of receiving accounts. Hence last week's approval of $7 million, which was expected to deliver savings of between $13.4 million and $18.5 million over nine years, he said.

A spokesman for Auckland Transport said the council-controlled body had no big upgrades planned for its $2.2 million computer system, which was copied from an existing system used by the former Auckland Regional Council and its transport subsidiary.

Mike Foley, the council's information technology head and the officer in charge of overhauling the computer systems for the Auckland Transition Agency, has always argued the two organisations and their systems are very different. The Auckland Council was a more complex organisation with a staff of 8000. Auckland Transport had 1000 staff.

For billing, the Auckland Council said it processed 18,000 invoices a month totalling $140 million. Auckland Transport processes about 2260 invoices a month totalling $76 million.

Mr Lee said the council needed to come to grips with the spending on its computer system, and with the backing of councillor George Wood has got officers to report on why the former regional council computer system now used by Auckland Transport was not modified for the Auckland Council.

Mr McKenzie said he was preparing a report for the next strategy and finance committee.

- NZ Herald

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