Manurewa residents made more than 1500 submissions on Auckland Council’s proposed annual budget, most addressing what Manurewa Local Board should prioritise given budget pressures.
Board chair Glenn Murphy says more than 41,000 submissions were received overall, 1582 from Manurewa.
“Support for board priorities was overwhelming, more than 80 per cent backing all or some, with the top priorities being retaining service levels for community and arts centres, youth programmes, and restoration of waterways, environmental education, community climate action and sustainability.”
The information will help shape the board’s agreement with the governing body – which it must renew every year. It sets out how the council will reflect the board’s priorities, and includes information on budgets, services and performance measures.
“With ongoing budgetary challenges, all boards are under pressure, so having a clear understanding of what the community sees as its priorities is crucial,” Murphy says.
“More than 1000 of our submissions addressed board priorities. It is a lot of information but there were generally six key areas, grants and community events, working with Māori, progressing renewals, delivering activities to connect generations and cultures, economic initiatives, and the environment.
Most respondents supported all (41 per cent) or most (39 per cent) of the priorities.
Murphy says the budget asked the board to reduce its operating spend by $816,600, which would mean some local activities would end or have their funding cut.
“What our people have told us is that the community is concerned about Pukepuke / Nathan Homestead, that youth programmes provide opportunities and reduce crime, and that budget cuts might add to the area’s problems.
“They were also focused on public transport and congestion, valued arts and libraries highly, and feared cutting deeply might adversely affect the community.”
He says regional topics addressed were largely opposed, with three-quarters of submissions against all or some cuts.
“Those opposed feared cuts would make it harder for the city’s vulnerable, wanted public transport supported and argued for higher rates. Our area also opposed selling the airport shares, 174 saying they should go, but 700 saying only some, if any, should be sold.”
The rates issue was less clear cut, with those favouring the proposal arguing it was realistic and those opposed citing the cost of living.
The proposal to spend an extra $20 million a year to improve future storm responses was supported.
The board will approve its agreement in June and its work programmes in July, and its budget feedback will be provided before the governing body sets the budget next month.
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