The Auckland Council's 10-year Budget 2018-2028 ,which goes out for consultation today, sets a vision for Auckland's future as a world-class city.
The 10-year Budget is about Auckland's need to address the historical backlog of underinvestment in infrastructure in the face of a rapidly growing population.
It recognises the need to tackle growing traffic congestion before the city becomes gridlocked. It sets out a plan for significantly reducing wastewater overflows onto our beaches and waterways. It makes the commitment to minimise the spread of Kauri dieback disease and to protect our natural environment.
These are urgent needs and we have an obligation not to pass these problems unresolved to another generation but to tackle them now.
We have worked hard to broaden the base of the Auckland Council's revenue so we can keep rates low and reasonable while investing in what we need to do to protect our quality of life.
We are doing things differently this time with our revenue raising. You said you wanted to know where your money is going and that is exactly what we are aiming to do through earmarking new revenue to specific spending so you know with certainty that the money will go directly to tackling these challenges.
And this is our plan for our region over the next 10 years.
Firstly, I'm sticking to my campaign promise of ensuring general rates rises will be held to 2.5 per cent for the remainder of this term. We need this revenue to help fund the day to day running of our growing city.
Secondly, a regional fuel tax enables us to make a contribution to tackle congestion and our transport woes which is costing us up to $2 billion a year in lost productivity. It replaces the Interim Transport Levy of $114 on every rates bill and by attracting extra subsidies from Government will raise three or four times as much money to help address our transport needs. A fuel tax will be user pays which means those who use and benefit from our transport network the most will contribute more directly to the investment it requires.
The Budget proposes $11 billion-$12 billion worth of capital expenditure on transport over the coming decade and $7 billion on our water infrastructure, and it does so without unfairly burdening Auckland's ratepayers with large rates rises.
The total proposed capital spending of $24 billion-$25 billion will mean we have much better ways of getting around our city. It will unlock greenfields sites for housing development and it will better protect our environment.
Thirdly, the targeted rates we are proposing will enable us to tackle our beach pollution and loss of our natural environment, but together will be less than the Interim Transport Levy which we are eliminating. That means in the coming year the average net rates increase will be only 1.4 per cent.
A targeted rate of an average of $1.28 per household per week will generate $400 million more to invest in our waste and stormwater system over the next decade. With this, we will make significant progress in cleaning up our harbours and beaches by reducing wastewater overflows into our waterways by up to 90 per cent and enable us to do in 10 years what would otherwise have taken 30.
Depending on the feedback we get from Aucklanders, an average targeted rate of either 40 cents or 90 cents per household per week will allow us to slow the spread of Kauri dieback disease and significantly increase the resources and services we apply to pest management and protection of our native species.
Our 10-year Budget is fair, equitable and transparent. It proposes an average net rates rise of 1.4 per cent in the first year of the 10-year Budget and no more than 2.5 per cent for this term of council.
It promises to tackle longstanding issues in our city while reducing the burden on rates and reflecting that the costs of growth puts real fiscal constraints on what the council can spend in other areas.
I'm asking you for your support for the investment proposals laid out in the council's 10-year Budget to deliver a world-class Auckland.
• Phil Goff is mayor of Auckland.