Auckland's 10-year Budget 2021-2031 is a recovery budget based on a long term plan consultation. It responds to the loss of income from COVID-19 while ensuring a continuous investment in the infrastructure, services and facilities that the city needs to be world class and internationally competitive. It also continues the work to protect the environment and accelerates the actions for climate change. The Recovery Budget aims to continue investing in the communities, environment, city and people.
The Auckland's 10-year Budget 2021-2031 proposes key issues in the draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy. The Recovery Budget principal objectives are:
to increase total capital investment in the city from $26 billion to $31 billion over the next 10 years and will support operational expenditure of $55 billion to maintain and operate community assets that Aucklanders rely on, such as museums, libraries, the zoo, parks, playgrounds sports facilities, rubbish collections, recycling, roading and public transport.
to enable additional infrastructure investment in transport, housing, water and the environment of around $900 million in the next three years and at the same time will support the renewal of key transport, water and community facility assets.
This capital investment has been conceived to stimulate construction, jobs, and the economic recovery allowing the council to contribute to bringing forward the recovery from the COVID-19 recession. It will also help to create long-term assets for the city and the issues it faces, in particular the increasing threat posed by climate change.
The Recovery Budget will also increase climate actions with an extra $150 million through measures such as the electrification of the bus fleet. It will also surplus properties and reinvest the proceeds into critical infrastructure for the city.
Public consultation and engagement are key parts of the council's decision-making processes : where there are no specific legislative requirements, the council can decide what level of consultation is appropriate. The council's Significance and Engagement Policy sets out how and when communities can expect to be engaged. Decision-makers should also consider:
The preferences of the people who may have an interest in the decision
The nature and significance of the decision
Whether there are good reasons for withholding information from the public
The costs and benefits of any consultation process or procedures
Consultation should be undertaken in accordance with the principles in the Local Government Act legislation:
people affected by, or interested in, a decision will be provided with clear information, they are encouraged to and are given opportunity to present their views to the council in a way that is appropriate to them;
the council will receive and consider their views with an open mind;
people who present their views to the council will have access to a clear record of, and reasons for, the decisions.
For Auckland's 10-year Budget 2021-2031 the community was invited to give feedback and opinions. Citizens had the opportunity to complete a Feedback Form available on the website from February 22 to March 2021.They could also contact by telephone or find information in libraries and municipal facilities.
Different webinars related to the different topics of the Auckland's 10-year Budget 2021-2031 have been organised: councillors, local board chairs, and subject matter experts provided information on the recovery budget. Citizens were invited to participate in the different thematic and territorial sessions.
Webinars held :
By topic :
Disability Advisory Panel meeting: consultation to ensure that the voices of disabled people were heard through the process.
Rates focus this webinar focused on the significant impacts of covid-19. Local authorities presented how they planned the growth of the city even after the covid perspective's loss is of around a billion dollars in revenue over the next four years.
Climate change : in this webinar they have been discussing climate change action as an ''imperative action''. They have been working to provide strong local government leadership in climate change action.
Community investment: a consultation in which the speakers were joined by some panelists who answered to the questions of the citizens.
Water quality targeted rate focus in this webinar two questions have been consulted. One was the proposal to extend the water quality targeted rate through to 2031 and the other one was to increase the water quality targeted rate, and to extend it in order to increase the water quality targeted rate at the same level as general rates.
Further information is actually available on the Consultation Document and on Auckland's Council website. The community has also the possibility to contact the service centre, the library or the phone (09 301 0101).
The recovery plan
The Recovery budget faces some key challenges in relation to climate change and the degradation of the environment.The program also needs to look after all Aucklanders andensure that it provides assets and services fairly. All of this adds up to a greater need to spend more money on what Auckland needs.
The recovery budget established a summary of the key issues in the draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy which drove this rising demand.
1. Proposed investments package
For the 10-year period 2021-2031 they proposed a capital investment programme of around $31 billion (This compares to around $26 billion included in the previous 10-year budget) for Transport , Water supply, wastewater and stormwater, Parks and community, City centre and local development, Environmental management and regulation, Economic and cultural development, Council support.
2. Responding to climate change
They have been encouraging a more compact city form and providing people with walking, cycling and public transport options. They forecasted to make the water supply infrastructure more resilient to climate impacts, using more electric vehicles and phasing out gas boilers in aquatic centres. All new buses will be electric or hydrogen powered from 2021 (rather than 2025 as previously planned) and they planned to work with the government to achieve 50 per cent of the total bus fleet being hydrogen or electric powered by 2030.
The specific projects forecasted :
Making progress towards Queen Street Valley (currently Aotearoa's most polluted black carbon area) becoming a zero-carbon zone
Planting 11,000 more street trees and establishing a nursery to grow 200,000 seedlings a year Planting an additional 200 ha of native forest
Providing more advice and support to Aucklanders to reduce household emissions
Further increasing the efficiency of our facilities, including the installation of solar panels
Improving planning for coastal change and enhancing our ability to respond to worsening natural hazards
Partnering with others regionally to tackle our biggest emission challenges and supporting MÄori-led climate change action
Supporting communities in need to reduce their energy costs and better access healthy, low carbon food.
3. Responding to housing and growth
The Auckland Unitary Plan encourages a more compact city which uses infrastructure more efficiently. This forecast expands zoning for new homes and enables the potential development of more than one million homes in existing residential zones and 137,000 in planned future urban areas. They investigated additional infrastructure requirements to support a large number of growth areas across Auckland. Founding and financing new infrastructure in all of those areas is a major challenge. They forecasted to take a more focused approach to providing infrastructure, working within the $31 billion proposed 10-year investment programme.
4. Investment in the community
They focused on the need to become more adaptable in how they provide community services to keep up with the changing needs. They proposed a focused investment approach, working within the $31 billion proposed 10-year investment programme and the proposed rates and debt settings under key issue 1. Services will be tailored to the greatest needs of the communities. They planned to use alternative ways of delivering services, through partnerships and digital channels and multi-use facilities. These are less dependent on having a large number of community assets. They planned to work with the local boards who understand the specific needs of their local communities.
5. Protecting and enhancing the environment
The Water Quality Targeted Rate has already funded work to improve water quality. They have been able to contribute $10 million towards a six-year clean-up of theKaipara Harbour (a large enclosed harbour estuary complex on the north western side of the North Island of New Zealand) . They have put in infrastructure to stop wastewater overflowing into the harbours and into the beaches and introduced proactive monitoring of septic tanks. This has allowed them to re-open five beaches that were previously closed because of public health. The recovery budget is proposing to extend the Water Quality Targeted Rate from 2028 to 2031, providing an additional $150 million. This will allow to start works to improve water quality elsewhere in the city, particularly in coastal areas from Hobson's Bay to St Heliers, as well as the Manukau Harbour.
Other priorities of the Plan :
''If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it's the importance of continuously protecting our communities''. The recovery budget reinstates contestable funds which were impacted in the Emergency Budget 2020/2021. They recognised the need to protect the most vulnerable communities. They proposed to embed $500,000 to support homeless people through early intervention, targeted outreach, dedicated city centre initiatives, research and innovation initiatives. The impact of COVID-19 and the recession has seen many people lose jobs and income. The Southern Initiative and the Western Initiativewill help disadvantaged sections of the community with skills training and employment pathways, and Auckland Unlimited will support job creation and job skill programmes. They also propose to work with MÄori and Pasifika communities through the Amotai social procurement initiative. Amotai connects buyers with businesses with a potential pipeline of contracts estimated at $900 million. It also identifies industry gaps and provides training and support.