The Budget does nothing to tackle the key issue of growing transport congestion in Auckland, says Mayor Phil Goff, who left home at 5.30 this morning to beat the weekday crawl on the Southern Motorway.
His disappointment was matched by business and lobby groups, who wanted to see more help for Aucklanders caught in traffic or struggling to buy a house.
Asked if he thought National was holding something up its sleeve for the election, Goff, the former Labour MP and leader, said: "I certainly hope so".
National is either ignoring Auckland or they're cynically holding back funding to offer later on as an election bribe.
"What is really disappointing is given we are projecting Government surpluses of $7.2 billion by 2021 there is a whole lot more that could have been done," said Goff, noting the Government had previously announced measures in the Budget for the City Rail Link and freeing up Crown land for housing.
Goff wanted to see radical moves in the Budget to meet the needs of 45,000 new residents a year, 800 new cars a week and Aucklanders "fed up to the back teeth with congestion".
"I left home at 5.30 this morning and the motorway was already pretty full. It was still free-flowing but by 6 o'clock it slows down to a crawl," he said.
Goff nominated rapid rail to the city's clogged airport, Ameti in the southeast, a northwestern busway, extension of the northern busway and more park-and-ride facilities as deserving of Government funding or new funding tools to bring them forward.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the Government would make a first-up payment of $436 million towards the City Rail Link - Auckland's "top transport priority" already creating hundreds of construction jobs.
It committed last year to paying for half of the 3.4km underground rail line, which has an estimated cost of between $2.8b and $3.4b.
Property Institute chief executive Ashley Church was disappointed and surprised the Government had not used the Budget to alleviate the Auckland housing shortage, saying it risked giving the impression of not understanding the extent of the problem or simply not caring.
He acknowledged last week's announcement that the Government will build 34,000 new houses in Auckland over 10 years, saying it was a great step but only part of the solution.
Green Party Auckland issues spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said Aucklanders are the biggest losers in today's budget.
"National is either ignoring Auckland or they're cynically holding back funding to offer later on as an election bribe," she said.