Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Major cuts in Auckland Council's 10-year budget

The Auckland Council will need to slash up to $2.8 billion of new spending to hold rates at 2.5 per cent, or $2 billion to hold rates at 3.5 per cent.
The Auckland Council will need to slash up to $2.8 billion of new spending to hold rates at 2.5 per cent, or $2 billion to hold rates at 3.5 per cent.

The Auckland Council has released the first details of a new 10-year budget, which includes proposals for major service cuts to parks and community services and key transport projects.

The budget will require the council to slash up to $2.8 billion of new spending to hold rates at 2.5 per cent or $2 billion to hold rates at 3.5 per cent.

Mayor Len Brown, who made a key election promise to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term, has not ruled out breaking that promise.

What do you think the budget plans? What areas should the cuts be made in and what should be left alone? Contact the Herald here.

Heading into a meeting with councillors and other decisions makers, Mr Brown said it was the preference of Aucklanders and councillors to maintain rates increases at a prudent level as possible.

"We will be looking to rates increases in and around 2.5 per cent...but we will also be taking the advice of our officers and I will be listening to the views of my political colleagues and the community.

Read more:
Brown may break key election promise

"One thing we don't want to do is compromise the ability of the city to build forward in a sustainable way," he said.

Mr Brown acknowledged the council has to make some tough choices to find the right balance between programmes and affordability.


Photo / Doug Sherring

"Aucklanders want progress, especially on affordable housing and transport, but we know there is no appetite for large increases in debt and rates," he said.

Briefing papers show the council will have to find savings of up to $486 million a year to hold rates at 2.5 per cent.

Parks, community services, and rubbish

Parks and community services will bear a big brunt of the cost-cutting with talks of reduced mowing of parks, weed control and garden maintenance; reduced hours at some libraries and fewer arts and culture festivals and events.

Inorganic rubbish collections could end and charges introduced for recycling services.

Transport

On the transport front, many projects are potentially on the block, including electrification of rail to Pukekohe, the Penlink road from Whangaparoa to East Coast Bayys, a 20 per cent cut to cycling projects and the North Western busway.

Mr Brown said Auckland could not afford everything.

The most prominent project in the budget is the $2.86 billion city rail link, which is still not fully funded and subject to work being carried out on alternative fundings sources, including tolls and congestion charges.

Mr Brown said the first 10-year budget was built on the projects and financials of the former councils and the new 10-year budget was the first work programme based on the plans and vision of the new Auckland Council.

Next story: High-profile jafas define the 'new Auckland'

- NZ Herald

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