The Auditor-General is investigating whether golden handshakes have been given to the chief executives of Auckland's eight local councils.
Lyn Provost says she'll look at payments made to those whose roles end at the end of this month as part of the region's local government reforms.
Assistant Auditor-General Bruce Robertson says public sector reforms such as council restructuring inevitably involve some employment-related costs.
He says the Auditor-General's office always intended to examine severance payments made to the chief executives, in due course, but is bringing forward the review.
"Because of the level of public interest plus the expression from the Minister of Local Government we've agreed that we will commence that work sooner than we normally would."
Mr Robertson says no time-frame has been set for the completion of the inquiry.