Consultation is open on Auckland Council’s 10-year Budget and local councillors and local boards are urging Albany Ward residents to have input on decisions that will shape their community’s future.
Described as The Recovery Budget, the proposals shape spending for the next decade across the region; prioritising Auckland’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 while also maintaining and renewing community assets, protecting the environment and responding to climate change.
Albany Ward Councillor John Watson says challenges posed by COVID-19, and the massive impact it has had on the council’s financial landscape, makes this one of the most difficult budgets ever developed for Auckland.
“The council has a role to play in the region’s economic recovery and that includes continuing to invest strongly in infrastructure, which creates jobs as well as valuable long-term assets for future generations."
He says the budget must continue to deliver the essential services that Aucklanders rely on while ensuring that the burden on ratepayers is kept as low and fair as possible.
“Cost savings and prudent management of council finances are essential. So is a budget that invests in Auckland’s recovery and supports the construction of projects like the Scott Point sports park and much-needed transport infrastructure,” says Councillor Watson.
To respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the budget proposes a one-off rates increase of 5 per cent to be introduced for the next financial year only, before returning to 3.5 per cent rates increase the following year.
Councillor Wayne Walker says Auckland has suffered the worst drought in its history and needs urgent investment to improve the resilience of its water supply.
“The drought has stretched the city’s water supply even with the fantastic effort of Aucklanders in exceeding savings targets. We need to continue to invest in water conservation and resilience in order to guard against these future droughts.
“The council is proposing to further increase spending on water infrastructure by around $145m in the next three years to $2.3 billion. With this funding, we will be able to continue upgrading critical assets such as the Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Plant.”
He says that while the immediate focus of the first three years of the budget is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, there are increasing threats posed by climate change and this draft budget outlines how we aim to respond to that.
“We are immediately stopping the purchase of diesel buses, enhancing tree planting and reducing black carbon in our city centre,” says Councillor Walker.
Prioritising local investment
With the budget constraints facing the council, local boards will have some challenging decisions to make.
Upper Harbour Local Board Chair Margaret Miles says, “We have no choice but to make hard calls to protect critical services, maintain community assets and plan for the future.”
Hibiscus and Bays Local Board Chair Gary Brown wants the budget to strike the right balance between the city’s recovery from COVID-19 while recognising the many Aucklanders who are going through some incredibly tough times.
Have your say
Elected members want residents’ feedback to help shape Auckland’s future, maintain the services that communities rely on, and guide the level of rates they pay.
Consultation on the 10-year Budget is open until noon on 22 March.
Ways to have your say
Go to akhaveyoursay.co.nz to:
- Download and read the 10-year Budget consultation material
- Make an online submission
- Get details about events to speak with elected members.
Visit akhaveyoursay for a list of northern events about the Recovery Budget.
Visit akhaveyoursay for a range of online webinars about the Recovery Budget.
View the draft 10-year Budget at local libraries and service centres where you can also pick up a submission form.