Source: Auckland Council
Waitākere residents will benefit from new and more frequent bus services and more tree canopy if Auckland Council’s proposed Climate Action Package is supported by councillors as part of this year’s Annual Budget. This boost will be critical for the region, which is currently served by only a single frequent bus route and has areas of low tree coverage.
Mayor Goff says the goal of the Climate Action Package is to reduce carbon emissions, with a focus on providing more access to public transport—particularly in areas that currently lack it.
“The Climate Action Package includes a boost of more than half a billion dollars for new and frequent bus services across Tāmaki Makaurau,” he says.
“This will see more than a million Aucklanders living within 500m of an improved bus route and fund 79 new electric or hydrogen low-emissions buses. There will also be funding to provide new cycling and walking infrastructure, increase urban ngahere coverage, and bring forward the decarbonisation of our ferry fleet.”
For Waitākere, the proposed bus improvements include two new frequent routes serving Titirangi, Glen Eden and Henderson Valley and service improvements to local routes in Glen Eden, Sunnyvale and Swanson—Rānui.
Additionally, the Northwestern Bus Improvements project will introduce four more frequent routes, bringing the total serving the area seven.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Linda Cooper says, “Transport makes up more than 40 per cent of Auckland’s overall emissions, so providing Aucklanders with more efficient, reliable and convenient public transport alternatives to driving is one of the key ways we can reduce emissions and achieve our climate change goals.
“It will help to bring down carbon emissions while also reducing traffic congestion for people like tradies and shift workers who do still need to drive.”
As well as the bus upgrades, the Climate Action Package will fund tree planting in the Henderson-Massey Local Board area, which has a low level of canopy coverage (15 per cent) compared to other urban local board areas.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Shane Henderson says the planting will address climate change while reducing inequalities in tree coverage across Auckland.
“Tree canopy helps to reduce temperatures and absorb carbon emissions, as well as making neighbourhoods greener and more beautiful. Unfortunately, some parts of Auckland have missed out on the benefits of a high level of tree coverage for many years.
“The Climate Action Package aims to address this disparity and will enable us to plant nearly 15,000 mature native trees around 1.m to 1.5m tall in the areas that need them most, such as Henderson-Massey.”
The Climate Action Package will be funded by a Climate Action Targeted Rate of around $1.12 per week for ratepayers with a median-value property (now worth over $1 million), as well as co-funding from government and fares from increased public transport patronage.
“It’s a small weekly sum but it will enable a significant investment that is critical if we are to avert a climate disaster,” Mayor Goff says.
Consultation on Auckland Council’s Annual Budget, including the Climate Action Targeted Rate, is open from 28 February to 28 March. Visit akhaveyoursay.nz/budget to find out more and have your say.