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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee has strongly supported Mayor Phil Goff’s $31.8 billion Recovery Budget proposal, and the Budget will now be formally adopted by the Governing Body next month.

The Recovery Budget, which sets out the council’s spending for the next decade, will:

  • Support Auckland’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19
  • Lift investment by $5.6 billion to a record $31.8 billion over ten years
  • Increase spending on the environment and responding to climate change
  • Protect key services and renewal of community assets

“This Recovery Budget sets out a prudent, fully-costed plan for the next 10 years that will support Auckland’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis while addressing the long-term challenges we face around traffic congestion and housing unaffordability, protecting our environment, improving water quality and supply, and taking action on climate change,” Phil Goff says.

“Despite the $750 million hit to revenue caused by COVID-19, we have not considered imposing austerity measures which would risk delivery of the critical infrastructure our city and communities badly need.

“Instead, we have looked at every lever available to us to preserve what is most important to our communities and the future of this city.

“Our priority is to continue to invest in critical infrastructure to provide stimulus and support to the economy, accelerate our recovery from COVID-19 and protect jobs and livelihoods.

“We will lift our level of capital investment by 21 per cent compared to the previous 10-year Budget adopted in 2018, including a $4 billion boost for water, wastewater and stormwater projects, and $600 million more into transport, which will be part of the record 31 billion investment in transport through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project.

“We are committed to maintaining and renewing the community facilities that help make Auckland a great place to live, with a $900 million increase for parks and community facilities.

“And we are ensuring that, despite COVID-19, we remain focused on tackling the long-term challenge of climate change, with $152 million of new spending over ten years for climate initiatives to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of global heating.

“This includes measures such as bringing forward the electrification of our bus fleet—including immediately halting the purchase of new diesel buses—investment to divert more waste from landfill and planting more than 11,000 street trees and 200 hectares of native forest.

“While we are lifting our level of investment to meet the challenges ahead of us, we are also keeping rates rises at a fair and reasonable level. We’ve retained our long-term commitment to a 3.5 per cent rates increase, with a one-off rate increase of 5 per cent to be introduced for one year only, as an interim measure, before returning to 3.5 per cent the following year.

“This one-off 5 per cent rate increase represents an extra $0.73 per week above the 3.5 per cent signalled prior to COVID and compares with proposed increases of 16 per cent in Wellington, 17 per cent in Tauranga, and 8.9 per cent in Hamilton.

“We have seen in cities around New Zealand recently the catastrophic cost of failing to invest in critical infrastructure, including burst wastewater pipes and contaminated drinking water. We’re investing now to ensure that future generations of Aucklanders do not have to bear similar costs,” says Phil Goff.

“This budget will support Auckland’s economic recovery while maintaining our progress towards building a world-class city.”

Finance and Performance Committee Chair Councillor Desley Simpson says, “This was a difficult budget and none of the decisions in it were made without extensive deliberation by councillors, local boards and IMSB members, alongside staff and CCOS, and in consultation with our communities.

“We are committed to maintaining a fiscally prudent approach to council finances which has already delivered a record $120 million of savings for Aucklanders, two months earlier than expected.

“This budget will continue this responsible management of our finances, locking in savings of $90 million a year through increased efficiencies throughout the council business.

“This 10-year Budget responds to the fiscal and economic realities we face, while ensuring that we continue to deliver the critical infrastructure and services that Auckland needs.”

MIL OSI