Auckland Council last week agreed it’s Emergency Budget 2020/2021.
As a result of the financial impact of COVID-19, and added financial pressure of ensuring Aucklander’s continue to have access to water due to severe drought, the budget deficit was forecast at three quarters of a billion dollars.
Finance and Performance Chair, Desley Simpson said:
“Without doubt this has been the hardest budget we have ever faced. These have been very, very difficult decisions to make. We know that going ahead with our originally planned 3.5 per cent general rates rise was not what a lot of people wanted, and to be honest, in our hearts, it is not what we wanted. But along with my fellow councillors, we have spent the last few months going through the numbers line by line, and in order to get Auckland, it’s people and it’s economy back on their feet, we realised we were left with little choice.
“We were not prepared to put this in the ‘too hard basket’ and we were not prepared to face a situation where Aucklanders may not have access to clean water.”
Commenting on what this means to their local area, Maungakiekie Tamaki ward councillor Josephine Barley said:
“This has been a very difficult few months for everyone and COVID-19 has changed the world we live in. At a time when the council has had to look for across the board savings, I am pleased the real value of the Eastern busway and what it means for people in this area, has been acknowledged. The confirmation that the Panmure to Pakuranga stage will go ahead as planned is good news for local jobs, the community and businesses.”
Councillor Bartley continued:
“Through working together, I believe we’ve struck a balance between financial prudence, maintaining the core services Maungakiekie Tamaki deserve, helping those in financial need and investing in our region’s future. There were some very difficult decisions but I believe that we are now in a position to recover from both a pandemic and a drought.”