WCC outsourcing vote – the results

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, April 5th, 2013 - 46 comments
Categories: Privatisation - Tags: ,

The Wellington City Council’s special meeting to address the planned outsourcing of council services brought a mixed bag of results yesterday. Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington’s Green Mayor, cast her vote for the first stage of outsourcing to continue with the result that the street cleaning and gardening work has been outsourced.

That’s 27 jobs gone. You can hear the Mayor trying to explain herself to Mary Wilson here. Her excuses are so right-wing she sounds like a less competent Kerry Prendergast.

On the good side of the ledger, all other proposals to contract out are halted after a unanimous vote to review. There will now be a review of whether the remaining CitiOperations ground would be better to remain in WCC but so far there’s no sign of what the review will entail.

The main thing now is to make sure the consultation process is the real deal with representative reviewers and proper consultation. One thing is for sure – it’ll be a defining issue in this year’s council elections.

And on the subject of the elections, Wellington voters may be interested to know that Labour Councillor, Justin Lester, voted with Wade-Brown to outsource the street cleaner jobs. The Greens’ Iona Pannet (Lambton Ward) and Labour’s Paul Eagle (Wellington South)  upheld their party values and voted against it.

46 comments on “WCC outsourcing vote – the results”

  1. The whole episode is bizarre. Wade-Brown claimed that there was a risk of $1.5 million a year if they did not do this. This works out to $55,555 per job and these jobs would not have been highly paid.

    If NZTA is behind this then this should be published. But all that appears to have happened is that public (and probably unionized) jobs will be hived off to the private sector and paid at minimum wage.

    Shame on the Mayor and shame on Justin Lester. What was he thinking?

    • One Tāne Huna 1.1

      Bizarre is one word for it. How much of this is a result of Rortney Hide’s faith-based meddling?

      Wade-Brown was less than impressive on Checkpoint.

      Gutted. Hackles rising.

    • freedom 1.2

      “paid at minimum wage” surely, but charged at ???

    • The Chairman 1.3

      “Paid at minimum wage'”

      More like youth rates.

  2. Peter 2

    A green coat of paint on the same old TINA neo-liberal madness?

  3. quartz 3

    If that checkpoint interview is any measure of WB’s capacity for critical thought it’s no wonder the council’s more rightwing under her leadership than KP’s.

    I like the sound of Eagle tho. He should stand for Mayor.

    • Daveo 3.1

      I like the sound of Eagle tho. He should stand for Mayor.


    • infused 3.2

      I don’t know why people are only now waking up to the fact she is totally useless. She should have never got in.

      • Tigger 3.2.1

        Eagle as mayor is a nice thought. Eagle as MP for Rongotai is an even nicer one.

  4. tc 4

    Another victory for the market, choice and a nice dark mark on greenie Wade-Brown, what’s not to like say the Hollowmen.

    Cue smug satisfaction from the usual candidates using their soapboxes over the next few days.

    • muzza 4.1

      Its a preview of what is to come from *The Greens*, should they ever get the numbers at central level, which quite likely they will eventually, again!

      People need to start paying closer attention!

  5. Lefty 5

    Beware those Greens who wear the ‘neither left nor right’ label.

    It leaves them free to harvest votes from both left and right and pretend they have progressive politics while pursuing a right wing agenda.

    • Murray Olsen 5.1

      Funny how “neither left nor right” invariably means right. I’m very beware of anyone who trots out that rubbish description.

      • rosy 5.1.1

        +1 so totally willing to be captured by money interests. Do you think she knows what those business people who make her feel so giddy say about her behind her back?

      • SpaceMonkey 5.1.2

        Isn’t that “third way” politics as espoused by Tony Blair and, to a lesser degree, Helen Clark?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.3

        Murray, according to Shearer being Left or Right isn’t really the important point in political issues today.

        • McFlock

          CV, grieving is a process.
          One day you might proceed to get the fuck over it.

          • Colonial Viper

            Actually, I don’t think it’ll take long. About 18 more months I figure.

            • McFlock

              How long did it take you to get over your dog dying – 30 years ?

    • Rob 5.2

      Beware of the greens fullstop.

      They should just stick to the environmental policy because clearly other things are too hard for them.

  6. Daveo 6

    Does anyone know what Celia’s actually achieved?

    She rides her bike but there are still fck all decent cycle lanes and Wellington’s still not a city I feel safe cycling in, and the number of deaths and injuries of cyclists shows why.

    She talks big on light rail but nothing’s happened. Public transport hasn’t noticeably improved at all.

    She talks living wage but contracts out council workers’ jobs and got herself involved in the anti-union Hobbit hysteria.

    What’s the bloody point of her, other than keeping a genuinely right-wing alternative out of office?

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    To restate the obvious, Green is not necessarily left. Blue/Greenism saw the exit of Sue Bradford and others in recent years from that party. Celia was only a chancer anyway in the last election and does not exhibit major political understanding. Capture is the name of the game in these local government scenarios particularly given the recent reversion back to “core activities” for local authotities under National/ACT.

    When the greens are good it is due to local activists working with each other such as the Petrobas mining affair. Te Mana continues to show the way forward–unite all who can be united on certain matters beyond party lines.

    The only saver for CWB is it could have been much worse but that is hardly leadership, just like ’Lenslide’ in Auckland deserting the waterfront workers.

    • + 1 So true TM. “Capture is the name of the game” and “Green is not necessarily left” It is horrible to think of the future without a strong left voice in parliament – I’m also putting my faith and energy into the Mana Movement, from my perspective it is the only hope true lefties have.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        “Green is not necessarily left”

        Well, you can “like” the Sea Shepherd support page on Facebook over your 4G enabled $1099 iPhone 5. Does that count?

    • Jenny 7.2

      When the greens are good it is due to local activists working with each other such as the Petrobas mining affair

      Tiger Mountain

      The main participants in the struggle against Petrobras and the government over deep sea oil drilling in the Raukumara basin, were Te Whanau a Apanui and Greenpeace.

      When I was there, for the celebrations of their combined victory. I never saw or heard any mention of the Green Party. In fact the Green Party were notable by their absence. Which was a shame. In all the official engagements the Green Party were never mentioned by any of the speakers and I saw none of their leaders or MPs there.

      If they did play some role it must have been so minor none could recall it.

      But I am not from there and maybe I missed something.

      Maybe the local individual Green Party members played some role. But the Green Party itself as far as I could see, as an organisation was absent.

      In talking with the leaders of Greenpeace I asked what support for their struggle that they had received from the Greens, all I got in reply was groans and no comment.

  8. Wairua 8

    I first met Celia hiding behind Green party pamphlets at the Kilbirnie fair, some years ago.

    She has since bloomed as mayor.

    She never seemed an ideologue, more a person promoting mainstream Green party values.

    I don’t think she has changed, but has been ambushed in her new role by self-appointed
    economic rationalists spooked by the recent example of Cyprus.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      She never seemed an ideologue, more a person promoting mainstream Green party values.

      Given that she led a pro-half billionaire, anti-worker union demonstration, and has just voted to outsource 2 dozen jobs essentially giving away ratepayer funds to generate private profits and replace employment with worse terms and conditions…

      what exactly are these “mainstream Green party values”?

  9. Zeroque 9

    CWB didnt sound at all confident in the decision on checkpoint. However from what I could tell she seemed to be saying that the decision was based on cost saving but I’m not so sure it is all about wages although it’s almost certain this is where the new providers will make part of their profit from. She seemed to be saying it was also about plant/equipment and I think a lack of scale that WCC couldnt match. That being the case I wonder whether other soulutions such as closer colaboration with other councils (shared services) could have achieved some gains. It’s the precedent here though that is worrying in that it looks like things are going down the same old RW track.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      She seemed to be saying it was also about plant/equipment and I think a lack of scale that WCC couldnt match. That being the case I wonder whether other soulutions such as closer colaboration with other councils (shared services) could have achieved some gains.

      Yep, there’s nothing bigger in the country than government and so scale shouldn’t have been a problem. Someone somewhere is picking and choosing numbers to get the desired result and it’s not one that’s beneficial to the people of Wellington or NZ.

  10. Rob 10

    Oh how the mighty pious Greens have fallen.

    Also, eddie, check your facts mate. The two Labour councillors are Paul Eagle and Leonie Gill and they both voted against the greens mayor’s job destruction plan. Justin Lester might be a party member, i dunno, but he certainly didn’t stand as one. There are also a bunch of other Labour members on council who didn’t stand as Labour and they all voted against the outsourcing too.

    I know it’s hard when your beloved Greens turn out to be job destroying morons, but don’t try and taint other hard working Labour people by association and lazy research.

    [lprent: Eddie tends to lean rather more towards Labour rather than the Greens – just read the posts. Perhaps you should do some research yourself before making a dickhead of yourself. And read the policy before you trip over a personal attack on an author. ]

    • John 10.1


    • George D 10.2

      Justin Lester might be a party member, i dunno, but he certainly didn’t stand as one.

      You can’t have it both ways.

      • The Fan Club 10.2.1

        Er what? We don’t run some kind of Communist purity cult. It’s hard to expel members and it’s not worth the bother 90% of the time. Lester doesn’t mention his party membership (if any) on his website and unlike CWB didn’t run as a “out” member.

        • Blahsteve

          I think you have it backwards. It’s Labour party’s world over who have the history of rabidly expelling Communists…

        • Daveo

          What’s your view on Lester’s behaviour? Just out of interest.

    • Rob 10.3


      The bizarre post about the “factions” in Labour which served only to heighten tensions and flog the dead leadership horse aside, what does it matter that if contributor x has a tendency to “lean” towards one party over another? Eddie has their facts wrong and demonstrates lazy research, the result of which is that they unfairly discredit hard-working people and a Labour as a whole.

      If, in your world, calling out crappy research and unfair slander of people and parties is personal attacks, then you are clearly unfit to run this site.

      And at least I didn’t call anyone a “dickhead”… perhaps you should follow your own rules?

      • QoT 10.3.1


      • Colonial Viper 10.3.2

        Eddie has their facts wrong and demonstrates lazy research, the result of which is that they unfairly discredit hard-working people and a Labour as a whole.

        I’d give Eddie’s comments an 80% plus accuracy rating. A few things around the margins are debateable, but they are around the margins.

        In fact, I’m surprised that you don’t know that political parties of any size always have different factions and interest groups within them. Is that news to you? Or are you expecting a political party where everyone pledges an oath of allegience to Wellington?

        If, in your world, calling out crappy research and unfair slander of people and parties is personal attacks, then you are clearly unfit to run this site.

        *Grabs popcorn and sits back* lol I see you beat me to it QoT

  11. Tigger 11

    Eagle did a little more than just uphold Labour values, he forced this vote and no doubt will lead the charge to stop further sell offs. Credit where it is due.

  12. Unionist 12

    It reminds me of the time defended council moves to scrap residential recycling:


    Public opposition sank that proposal. Now we need to support the council staff.

  13. johnm 13

    Reading today’s Dom post The outsourcing situation is far worse than 27 jobs


    Since some years ago: Wellington’s business community has said that the council seems to be a “total shambles” following the outsourcing of 160 jobs from CitiOperations without councillors’ knowledge.

    CWB didn’t even know that! The current chief executive Kevin Lavery presented a fait accompli to the current council the 27 jobs’ outsourcing contract was virtually completed and it’d look bad to reverse it! CWB folded. 🙁

    Democracy has been hijacked by a privatisation mad executive. The previous ceo was a privatisation pom nut who was got rid of. with a golden handshake no doubt.

    • The Chairman 13.1

      That’s outrageous.

    • johnm 13.2

      “Council has lost integrity, say CitiOps workers ”


      ” Workers made redundant at CitiOperations have been left “numb” after their jobs were axed on Thursday, and say Wellington City Council’s integrity has been compromised.

      Speaking on condition of anonymity, a council employee of more than 20 years told The Dominion Post that the reality of losing the jobs was yet to set in.

      “It’s still really fresh for us. We haven’t really had time to realise the implications of the whole situation.”

      The council signed off a decision to make 27 CitiOps workers redundant at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, despite some councillors saying they had no knowledge of the plan. ”

      Shame on CWB she could have vetoed the fait accompli foisted on her by the ceo but cravenly caved in. SHAME 🙁 Good men now getting sacked, disgusting!

    • muzza 13.3

      Since when are councillors involved in the process of outsourcing, retrenching or re-org structures?

      And why did CWB not veto this, or Len Brown get involved in the PoAL situation?

      I suspect there are reasons for these happenings, or not as the case may be, which are not being held up to the light for public interrogation!

  14. millsy 14

    At least the outsourcing moves were telegraphed well in advance.

    It took me an OIA request to find out what was outsourced by my local council in the past 12 months.

    I started doubting CWB’s commitment to left wing ‘values’ ever since the start of 2011, when she started going along with plans to cut WCC services, and the woman is openly supportive of cutting opening hours of suburban libraries.

    At least there wont be any WCC outsourcing — for the time being anyway.

  15. RedBaronCV 15

    I see they had a policy against outsourcing which seems to have been treated with utter contempt by management.And some councillors knew about this – briefings for those the management felt were on their side? I’d like to see some heads rolling to change the culture.

    About the library hours- I saw that too and again this will be management treating the council with contempt. Obviously the council wants to keep expenditure down, so in the best traditions of “yes Minister” they put forward small savings with a high degree of visibility guaranteed to annoy ratepayers and leave all the other little goodies untouched. They could cut the great big ads in the Dom Post in half and save more money but hey this is someone’s little Fairfax subsidy.

    Still at least they haven’t wrecked the Basin Reserve yet.

    However, in the spirit of trying to help CWB out can I make some suggestions of things they can get the CEO to report on:
    A policy with respect to a salary cap and minimum wages paid.

    Ask for some in depth reports by type of expenditure – say different one every month – start with advertising – and ask how much is paid, who are the major suppliers, what programme or policy it is supporting,[e.g can say statutory advertising be aggregated] some feed back on effectiveness or otherwise and a list of the 10 most effective bits of advertising and the discretionary 10 bits perceived to be least effective. Number of staff involved in the programmes and any supplier entertainment etc that they have received. Number of contracts involved and the staff supporting these. Estimate of how much it would cost to insource. Then the council can boot the most useless into touch and go for the most effective use of money. Next month, something else.

    Ask for reports by suburb- rates collected and amounts spent in the suburb. Some roads in this town are resurfaced every 8 years, same street type, another suburb maybe 20 years. Same sorts of info as above.

    Maybe give the residents associations a lot more info – open government so that they can go throough and identify waste or ineffective stuff.

    Essentially they need the CEO to stop serving up stuff that suits him and serve up stuff they can make decent decisions on.

    Last thing – coming up to the local body elections I’d appreciate thread posts as to who has been effective and why and the reverse. I’d love the council to have spare funds to but back the local line network airport share etc

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