Auckland Council has formally signed off a new 10-year budget that includes a regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre and that holds rates at 2.5 per cent for the next two years.

Dubbed the "build-it" budget by Mayor Phil Goff, it includes targeted rates for improving water quality and tackling kauri dieback disease and protecting native flora and fauna.

The budget was passed by 15 votes to 2 with councillors Greg Sayers and Sharon Stewart not supporting it. Some councillors expressed their opposition to the regional fuel tax.
Councillors Mike Lee, John Walker and Wayne Walker were not present for the vote.

Goff said the passing of the budget was no silver bullet but the beginning of a decade of transformation for Auckland.

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For the first time, Goff said, Auckland will have the ability to make real inroads into the problem of traffic congestion and the failure to provide alternatives to cars.

He thanked councillors for having the courage to make decisions to raise money to invest in the city.

Rates will rise by 2.5 per cent for the first two years and 3.5 per cent a year thereafter.

However, new property revaluations mean many ratepayers will pay more than 2.5 per cent and many will pay less. Higher rates will occur in the outer suburbs as a result of big prices rises in those suburbs since the last revaluation exercise in 2014.

Following public support during consultation and polling by the council, the budget includes targeted rates to raise $452 million over 10 years to clean up beaches and waterways and $311m to fight kauri dieback, protect native flora and fauna and fund pest and disease control.

Extreme weather events have led to a proposal to establish a $40 million climate change response fund and $90 million to protect coastal assets.

Goff has responded to lobbying from the likes of Auckland Sport and Recreation to pass a $120 million contestable fund for sports and recreation facilities, and lobbying from the arts fraternity to give the Auckland Art Gallery a further $2m a year after sustained funding cuts.

The budget also includes AirBnB paying a targeted rate for accommodation, which was introduced for hotels, motels and other accommodation providers in July last year.

Councillor John Watson said he supported the budget, albeit with issues over the regional fuel tax being introduced during an uncertain environment of high and rising petrol prices and the impact over the wider economy.

The regional petrol tax was also an issue for Manukau councillor Efeso Collins who said it would hurt his people in the poorest ward in the city who will pay the most as a proportion of their income.

North Shore councillor Chris Darby said he was really excited about a budget that was going to change the landscape of Auckland at a level not seen since the post-war 1950s.

To be successful, he said, councillors and management would need a change of culture to do things differently and not get bogged down in detail.