On 12 December Auckland Council approved the topics for consultation for its forthcoming 10-year budget. Topics include a potential regional fuel tax, options to fund environmental protection and potential rates levels for the coming 10 years.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “This 10-year budget will see transport infrastructure spend increase to $11 billion over the next decade and small targeted rates tackle longstanding environmental issues in our region."
“This budget addresses the unprecedented population growth in Auckland. It ensures we do not grind to a halt by generating up to $150 million from a fuel tax to invest in our transport infrastructure that has historically suffered from underinvestment."
Targeted rates to fund environmental issues
“There’s no more passing the buck when it comes to our environment. Proposed small targeted rates amounting to $1.70 a week will clean up our streams, beaches and waterways, protect our kauri, our forests and native bird life.
“The 10-year budget gets our region moving and protects our natural environment while keeping rate rises low. The average household in Auckland will see their rates rise by only 1.4 per cent as a result of this 10-year budget."
Consultation next year with Aucklanders
“Auckland Council is operating in a constrained fiscal environment. We have to make choices as to what we invest in and we will be asking Aucklanders for their feedback next year,” says Mr Goff.
Chair of the Finance and Performance committee Councillor Ross Clow says, “These topics will enable a thorough consultation with Aucklanders on some critical issues regarding our region's future.
“We have some big decisions to make in the coming months, and we need to know what direction Aucklanders want us to take.
“The potential $100 million earmarked to tackle kauri dieback disease in this 10-year budget is a huge increase compared to the $5 million which is in the current one."
“We have worked hard over a number of months to reach this point, and now it is important that we take the time to listen to our communities and get their views on the proposals on the table.”
Consultation items agreed by Auckland Council Governing Body
- the introduction of a regional fuel tax to fund transport infrastructure and activities
- average general rates rises of 2.5 per cent for the first two years and 3.5 per cent for each year after that
- the Uniform Annual General Charge increases in line with the general rates increase
- resumption of the Long-term Differential Strategy relating to business and residential rates
- introduction of a water quality targeted rate to raise $400 million to fund the Water Quality Improvement Programme
- introduction of a natural environment targeted rate to raise either:
- an additional $123 million (total $220 million) to fund additional projects to protect our natural environment and tackle kauri dieback disease, or
- an additional $279 million (total $376 million) for kauri dieback and targeted ecological protection
- changes to the rating of the online accommodation sector, including the introduction of an additional rating differential for properties with a medium level of occupancy
- disestablishment of the council-controlled organisation Auckland Council Investments Limited with the investments in Auckland International Airport Limited and Ports of Auckland Limited to be transferred to Auckland Council parent.
Consultation on the budget will take place between 28 February and 28 March 2018.