Auckland Council has today confirmed the topics for public consultation to begin in late February as part of the Annual Budget process.
Items for consultation include a proposed Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR) to support an ambitious billion-dollar climate action package; keeping the general rates increase at 3.5 per cent as planned in the 10-year Budget; and moving to a simpler payment method for rubbish collections.
Mayor Goff thanked councillors for unanimously supporting his budget proposal to consultation, saying there has never been a more important time for Aucklanders to make their voices heard.
“While COVID-19 continues to have a severe impact around the world, the longer-term threat to all of us is that posed by climate change,” he says.
“Two years ago, Auckland’s councillors declared a climate emergency and committed to putting climate change at the front and centre of decision making. We need to deliver on those promises by taking concrete actions to tackle the climate crisis and leave a positive legacy for our kids and grandkids.
“The Climate Action Targeted Rate that I have proposed will generate $574 million directly and seek to unlock a further $471 million from government subsidies and other sources to invest in critical projects and services to help us deliver on our climate commitments.
“It will see more than $600 million invested in 79 new or improved bus services, as well the procurement of 66 additional electric buses. These changes will deliver improved services accessible by more than a million Aucklanders in the north, south, east and west of Auckland and see 170,000 more Aucklanders – 10 per cent of the population - brought within 500 metres of a frequent bus route.
“$122 million will go to decarbonisation of the city’s ferry fleet, which currently contributes 21 per cent of Auckland’s public transport emissions.
“Cycling and walking will benefit from a $228 million capital injection to provide new infrastructure and improvements or extensions to existing routes, making our streets safer for our kids to walk or cycle to school.”
The package also includes millions of dollars for investment in the city’s urban tree canopy.
“While some parts of Auckland enjoy good canopy coverage and the benefits that mature trees bring, other parts of our city do not have this advantage. That needs to change,” Mayor Goff says.
“Through the CATR, around 15,000 native mature trees will be planted across the region on streets and in parks, playgrounds, and road reserves, while thousands of additional trees and plants will go to extending bush remnants by planting around existing urban bush cover.
“We are running out of time to act on the threats that climate change poses to our city, our country and the planet,” Mayor Goff says.
“The Climate Action Targeted Rate lays the foundation for the urgent changes we need to make to achieve our climate action goals and avert the catastrophic impacts of global heating.
“I encourage Aucklanders to have their say during the consultation and to tell us what they think about our proposed programme of climate action, as well as the other items in the budget.”
Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee, Councillor Desley Simpson, says it’s crucial that Aucklanders have their say.
“Ongoing COVID uncertainty, rising inflation and increasing interest costs is putting real pressure on our financial position, and will require further work to ensure we can continue to meet costs while delivering the essential services and infrastructure investments our communities rely on.
“As part of this budget the council is proposing to reprioritise some of our operational expenditure in future years, and we want to hear Aucklanders’ views on how we should go about this.
“We will also continue to work hard to find efficiencies and ensure we are delivering more with less and providing value for money for ratepayers.”
Consultation on Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2022/23 runs from 28 February to 28 March 2022. Visit akhaveyoursay.nz for more information.
Other items for public consultation
A range of other key items included in Auckland Council’s proposed Annual Budget will go out for public consultation, including:
- Keeping the general rates increase to 3.5 per cent for the 2022/23 financial year, as planned in the 10-year Budget
- Maintaining the council’s current capital investment profile for the next three years
- Draft spending prioritisation criteria which will be used to implement operational cost reductions from 2024 to help meet costs caused by inflation and interest rate rises
- Replacing the hybrid refuse collection payment method currently in place with a region wide rates-funded service.