Feeley defends outlay

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Queenstown Lakes District Council’s boss claims an estimated $166,000 spend on an organisational review that’s underway is very modest. 

The Queenstown council has commissioned a wide-ranging organisational review focused on improving the cost-effectiveness and quality of its operations. 

It’s flagged the review, covering the activities of more than 230 staff, could result in redundancies. 

New council boss Adam Feeley says the budgeted $166,000 covers work up to and including the review team’s final report but not the cost of implementing any recommendations. 

The figure may also be revised slightly as the review team comes to grips with details, he adds. 

“While not a small sum, it is very modest in the context of what we are embarking on. 

“QLDC is a $90 million per annum operation and spending a fraction of a per cent on getting the organisation rightly structured and resourced is a no-brainer. 

“In the private sector, companies either do research and development or they go backwards quickly. 

“This is the public sector equivalent of R&D and, if we don’t do it, we won’t deliver the right quality of services to residents at the right price.” 

Feeley says the review cost will be met by savings elsewhere in council spending. 

The review team is chaired by former Auckland Regional Council and Local Government New Zealand chief executive Peter Winder. 

Feeley says the five-member team spans a range of expertise including planning, engineering and finance/accounting. 

“Importantly, they are all from the private sector outside Queenstown but with significant experience in dealing with local and central government.” 

The team will meet with a range of interest groups including local Chambers of Commerce and residents’ associations, Feeley says. 

It’s expected the team will produce a draft report next month and a full report in April.