Post sponsored by NewzEngine.com

Source: Auckland Council

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki is set to benefit from Auckland Council’s record capital investment over the next 10 years, which is focused on keeping the city running and continuing to build for the future.

The council’s Governing Body adopted the 10-year Budget (2021-2031) last week which provides for a $31.8 billion capital expenditure programme. The spending is at its highest level ever, despite the difficult financial circumstances the organisation is facing in the short term.

Ward Councillor Josephine Bartley says despite those pressures, this ‘recovery’ budget still enables the organisation to deliver on those activities and services Aucklanders expect while investing in those area’s imperative to communities and the future of the city.

“It is important to see transport among the top priorities in this budget”

Councillor Bartley explains “transport issues such as infrastructure capacity, congestion, safety and emissions will continue to grow as the population does and won’t stand still just because revenue and spending does. Our communities have been highly affected by these issues so to see the transport plan so highly incorporated into the 10-year Budget will be reassuring for many.”

Local investment

Among the local asset improvements budgeted for in the plan in the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board and ward area are:

  • Jubilee Bridge – renew and upgrade bridge – estimated completion June 2025. The bridge is intended to replace the existing structure spanning over the 60m wide inlet to the Panmure Basin
  • Wai-o-Taiki Nature Reserve – develop nature trail – a multi-year project.  Expected completion June 2023
  • Maungakiekie-Tāmaki implement youth activation (skatepark).

Despite tight budgets Maria Meredith, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board Chair wants to reassure the community that many local initiatives are still progressing.  “Priority projects such as the Jubilee Bridge replacement and the Onehunga Reserve skate park, are large scale projects requiring large budgets, we are pleased to be able to push ahead with these despite the restrictions because they are imperative for our communities.” 

As part of the 10-year Budget, each of the local boards also consulted on its Local Board Agreements for 2021/2022 year which outline its priorities, activities, and budgets for the 2021/2022 year.

Find out more about what’s in the 10-year Budget at ourauckland.nz  

Key points from the 10-year Budget

Overall Investment Package

To maintain a high level of investment in the face of the impacts of COVID-19 on council revenues, the Auckland Council organisation had to utilise four key funding levers:

  • Average general rates will increase by 5 per cent in year one of the 10-year Budget. Without this increase, $900 million of capital expenditure would have had to be deferred from the first three years of the budget. The average general rates increase will return to 3.5 per cent for subsequent years.
  • Council debt will increase in the short term but gradually reduce to below the 270 per cent debt to revenue ratio which we consider to be a more prudent level.
  • We will recycle around $400 million of surplus assets to reinvest in more critical infrastructure.
  • As well as increasing our revenue and debt, a target of $90 million per annum of cost savings have been included in this budget.

Climate

The plan provides $152 million for a specific package of actions to reduce carbon emissions including:

  • planting 200 hectares of native forest in our regional parks
  • all new buses will be electric, or hydrogen powered from 2021
  • planting 11,000 more street trees
  • progressing towards making Queen Street valley a zero-carbon zone
  • increasing our zero-waste resource recovery network.

Community

There is an additional $900 million to be invested in community facilities, with a significant proportion of this being for renewal of council’s existing assets. The council will also look to deliver services differently through partnerships and digital channels and multi-use facilities.

Housing and Growth

Through the plan the council has identified a few key locations to focus limited resources. These are all joint priority areas agreed with government and include:

  • Auckland Housing Programme (Mt Roskill, Oranga, Mangere, and Northcote) & Tamaki
  • North West (including Red Hills, Whenuapai and Westgate)
  • Drury (a new community providing housing and employment opportunities)
  • CRL Stations (Mt Eden and Karangahape)

Transport

The challenges:

  • Growth – transport infrastructure is a key enabler of growth and there is major pressure for investment in both greenfield and brownfield development areas
  • Congestion – The benefits of decongesting Auckland’s transport network have been estimated to be between $900 million and $1.3 billion per year (approximately 1 to 1.5 per cent of Auckland’s GDP)
  • Safety – Auckland has a serious problem with road deaths and injuries. In 2020 alone, 37 people died and 489 people were seriously injured on our roads.
  • Climate change – Transport-related emissions accounts for about 44 percent of Auckland’s total emissions.

Our plan:

  • Focus areas for growth – we are focusing our support for growth into a few key areas and new transport infrastructure will align with this.
  • Improving network capacity and performance – we are working to look after and improve the existing network including projects such as traffic light optimisation, improvements to significant traffic corridors and freight network improvements
  • Improving public transport – significant investment is planned for the 10 years across the bus, rail and ferry networks
  • Investing in safety – reducing transport related harm is a key focus for the 10 years with a number of projects targeted at safety improvements.
  • Increasing active transport – our transport investment will include ongoing expansion of the walking and cycling network.
  • Reducing emissions – all new buses purchased from 2021 will be electric or hydrogen powered with 50 per cent of the bus fleet being electric or hydrogen powered by 2030.

Water Quality and Natural Environment

The targeted rates established in 2018 to investment in improving water quality and protecting the environment will now expire in 2031 instead of 2028.

The extension will allow programmes and projects already making a difference to continue. The water quality targeted rate has been increased to enable major construction projects to commence six years earlier. The additional funding provided by these targeted rates will:

Water quality targeted rate (additional $256 million):

  • Deliver improved water quality in:
    • Manukau Harbour
    • Tamaki Estuary
    • Beaches between Parnell and Glendowie.
  • Fund additional litter trap projects across the entire region to:
    • Remove contaminants
    • Improve water quality.

Natural environment targeted rate (additional $107 million):

  • Maintaining momentum with existing programmes to protect native species
  • Further funding to address kauri dieback
  • Additional programmes addressing predator and weed control

MIL OSI