Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s Wellbeing Budget 2022 announced today addresses many of the issues Aucklanders have said they want to see action on.
“I welcome in particular the investment the government has announced to address cost of living challenges, transport, health, education and climate change,” he says.
“Of special value to Auckland Council are measures in the Budget and the Emissions Reduction Plan that will bring forward government funding for climate action in Auckland.
“Provided that Auckland councillors pass the Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR), council will be eligible for early financial support from government for a range of critical climate action initiatives such as improved bus services and better walking and cycling infrastructure.
“Government has indicated that it will prioritise funding those projects that are ready to start soon and which councils are willing to co-fund, such as those funded by the CATR.
“The government’s decision to extend half-price public transport for two months and make it permanent for Community Services Card holders via Community Connect is also welcome,” Goff says.
“We support changes to the initial proposal for Community Connect which now introduce it as a permanent measure fully funded by Government. Community Connect will halve public transport fares for potentially 200,000 of our most vulnerable and low-income residents.
“Since the introduction of this subsidy there has been a significant increase in patronage throughout the city, and the extension of this policy will enable more Aucklanders to get around by bus, train and ferry rather than by car, helping to reduce carbon emissions and easing traffic congestion for those who do still need to drive.
“With more than 40 per cent of Auckland’s emissions coming from transport, encouraging mode shift to public transport is one of the most effective ways we can reduce emissions and work towards our climate change goals.
“The allocation of $199 million for planning for Auckland Light Rail with additional unannounced funding will enable this critical project to progress, with construction anticipated to begin next year.
“Cost of living support measures such as the temporary payments to people earning up to $70,000 who are not eligible to receive the Winter Energy Payments will help those who are being impacted by increased fuel prices and rising inflation and interest rates.
“Funding to explore the engineering feasibility of Manukau Harbour as a possible location for Auckland’s future port will enable us to make an earlier decision on moving the Port from the central city while keeping it within the Auckland region.
“I welcome these measures and will continue to advocate that the government when making funding decisions recognises Auckland’s significance to the broader economy as New Zealand’s largest and only international city,” Phil Goff says.