Dyson queries increase in Cera staffing
Staff numbers at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) have more than doubled in the past 18 months and more recruitment is planned next year.
But the MP who could be in charge next year if National loses the next election has warned Cera it needs to look to other city groups for help instead of employing more people.
Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Ruth Dyson was not surprised staff numbers had gone "from zero to big", but it was not always obvious what all those staff were doing.
Figures released to The Press under the Official Information Act reveal Cera employed 245 staff as of December 3 - 99 more than at the same time last year. Its annual salary bill is almost $25 million.
In the space of five months, it hired an extra 45 staff, boosting the salary bill by nearly $10m.
All staff are classed as "fixed term" because Cera is expected to wind down in the first half of 2016, but Dyson disputed that.
A spokesman for Cera chief executive Roger Sutton confirmed he told a select committee no decisions had yet been made about Cera's makeup after the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act expired in April 2016.
That would be a Government decision, the spokesman said.
If Labour wins the 2014 election, Dyson, who is likely to be made earthquake recovery minister, said she would review whether Cera was needed after 2016.
Cera refused to provide a full breakdown of the salary bands for staff because it was personal information "given there are a number of roles that only have one person".
It did confirm it was advertising for eight positions and planned to look for more staff in the first three months of next year.
Those roles were yet to be confirmed because "the details are still being worked through as we continue to confirm the roles and responsibilities and subsequent resourcing required for each group within the organisation".
Dyson said despite having nearly 250 staff, there was still a lot of duplication instead of co-ordination and of Cera "trying to take over a lot of work themselves".
Greater Christchurch had three councils and a regional council, organisations including the Canterbury Development Corporation and Employers Chamber of Commerce, and a strong manufacturing sector, yet Cera seemed to want to lead most of the recovery itself.
"They don't seem to be working with agencies they're set up to do which was its original intention."
Fixed-term staff numbers:
2010-11 year: 2 (a three-month salary cost of $265,000)
2011-12 year: 109 staff ($8.04 million)
2012-13 year: 200 staff ($15.48m) Current staff numbers: 245 (compared to 146 at same time last year)
Total annual salary bill: $24.93m
Source: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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