Auckland’s Long-term Plan strikes a balance on 10-year investment

Last Updated : 17 May 2024
Have your say on Auckland Council's Long-term Plan

Today Auckland Council approved its proposed Long-term Plan 2024-2034 – including prioritised investment in transport and water, fairer funding for communities and an Auckland Future Fund.

This 10 year budget includes rates increases of 6.8 per cent for 2024-25, 5.8 per cent in 2025-26 and 7.9 per cent in 2026-27. The central proposal for public consultation originally proposed increases of 7.5 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

Auckland Council chief executive Phil Wilson said this Long-term Plan carefully balances the need for investment to cope with growth and continue to protect our environment, build resilience and sustain valued services.

Mr Wilson said at the same time it shows restraint, recognising  cost-of-living concerns, and it puts pressure on the organisation to continue pursuing cost savings and improvements.

“This Long-term Plan is about Auckland and Aucklanders, and priority areas where we can provide the greatest benefit to our communities,” said Mr Wilson. “We know transport and water, in particular, were areas people wanted us to do more. The council has responded to that through this budget.

“The plan also takes a fresh approach to tackle our financial challenges with more rigour and greater accountability than ever before. The organisation is behind this and ready to deliver on it for Auckland.”

Proposals for targeted rates have been confirmed as part of the plan – these include reinstating the Natural Environment and Water Quality Targeted Rates.

The plan also provides local boards with new funding that goes a long way to addressing past inequities. The role of local boards in reflecting local community needs will be supported by this decision.  

The Long-term Plan, including the approved budget, will be formally adopted by the council’s Governing Body on June 27, in time for the new financial year on July 1.

What the Long-term Plan 2024-2034 includes

Transport investment will build on the basics, while fixing roads and improving public transport.

Auckland Transport will receive $70 million more operating funding from the council in the new financial year, primarily to support public transport services including to maintain bus services and for rail track maintenance. This is $10 million more than the consultation’s central proposal.

A $50 weekly public transport cap for bus, train and inner-harbour ferries is also included.

A $14 billion capital budget for Auckland Transport will help fix roads and enable reliable, easier to use public transport and four level crossing removals in Takanini. This is an additional $600 million more than the consultation’s central proposal.

Water infrastructure and flood resilience are an investment focus under the Long-term Plan.

Through the government’s water reform programme, Local Water Done Well, the financial independence of council-controlled organisation Watercare will enable inter-generational investment in water infrastructure, and delivery of sustainable and affordable water services to Auckland.

Water investment also includes strengthening Auckland’s resilience to flooding with the new Making Space for Water Programme of more than $700 million (including government co-funding).

Investment in vibrant centres and environment
The Long-term Plan allows for further investment in delivering vibrant city centres, with new areas for urban regeneration and infrastructure to support housing and growth. It also supports the natural environment through community involvement in environmental programmes.

The plan reduces rates funding for investment in economic and cultural development from 2025-26 and the council will work with central government on new funding tools for visitor attraction and economic development to build the future economy Auckland needs to support its growth.

Auckland’s parks and community services are also strengthened, where alongside supporting open spaces, parks, sports, recreation and other community facilities, we will work to deliver services differently – in the way Aucklanders want. This will include supporting local boards to evolve the way they provide services.

Fairer funding
The fairer funding approach will more quickly address funding imbalances between 21 local boards that have been in place since Auckland Council’s inception, without the need to reallocate funding between boards.  

The new approach provides an additional $84 million of additional operating funding and $56 million of additional capital funding over the next three years. This has required a 1 per cent additional rates increase in 2025-26 and 0.5 per cent additional increase in 2026-27.

The fairer funding approach means communities will quickly move to be funded based on a revised formula that accounts for population, land area and socio-economic considerations, rather than being based on the decisions of the legacy councils.

Auckland Future Fund
An Auckland Future Fund will support the financial and physical resilience of council.

Diversifying council’s major investments across different sectors and different geographic areas will better protect the value of intergenerational assets, so they can continue to benefit future generations.

It will also provide additional funding for council services of around $40 million per year from 2025-26. This stronger annual return to council will help fund services and infrastructure without the need for higher rates increases.

The Long-term Plan will enable a transfer of all the council’s remaining shares in Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) into the fund, and enable a fund manager to decide to sell any or all shares.

Port of Auckland
The Port of Auckland will contribute more than $1.1 billion over the Long-term Plan period and release the Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves for use by the community over the next two to five years, provided the necessary resource consents are granted.

The plan will open up new public waterfront space for the city, improve ferry services, and provide a boost to our economy. This plan includes some public access to parts of Bledisloe Wharf.

North Harbour Stadium
A locally-led process will get underway for the North Harbour Stadium and Domain Precinct.

The Upper Harbour and Hibiscus and Bays Local Boards will lead a political working group on proposals to better utilise the stadium and precinct. Operational management options will also be explored.

Savings targets
Auckland Council’s Long-term Plan also includes additional savings across the council group. This includes $27.8 million savings in year one and rising to $67 million in year three.

There is a commitment to greater efficiency across the organisation, including shared services.


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