Have your say on key issues
How Auckland will spend its money over the next decade is being decided by you. But getting the super-city moving could come at a hefty cost. Jess Etheridge and Maria Slade explain.
Unlocking Auckland’s transport woes is the top priority for the next decade.
Affordable housing, keeping rates low and developing the city’s investment opportunities are also on the agenda as the population grows.
Over the next five weeks Aucklanders will be asked to have a say on the 10-year budget which covers these issues and will determine how the city spends its rates.
‘‘I think Aucklanders have had enough of the transport problem,’’ mayor Len Brown says.
‘‘Transport for Aucklanders is an emotional issue.
‘‘It’s not about the nuts or bolts, or anything like that.
‘‘It’s about how they feel when they’re stuck on motorways for hours and hours of their lives every week.
‘‘It’s about arriving at work being quite stressed out and not being in the right frame of mind, really, to be positive in the workplace.
‘‘It’s about arriving home, having spent an hour and a half on a choked motorway.’’ On the table are two options. A $10.3 billion transport network plan or a ‘‘basic’’ $6.9b plan.
The more expensive option proposes faster completions of top transport plans such as the AMETI busway, 15 new park and rides and investment in the additional Waitemata Harbour crossing. Motorway or fuel taxes would be used to fund it.
The basic option would see limited spending on roading and public transport, leaving the future of many projects up in the air.
For the first time, feedback on the 10-year budget will be taken over Twitter and Facebook.
Council will keep track of all feedback submitted by email, post, social media and via the dedicated website shapeauckland.co.nz.
A brochure summarising the key points of the budget and containing a feedback form is being sent to every household.
There will also be a series of 30 ‘Have Your Say’ events held across the city.
Council says the traditional formal submission process has been done away with, and all forms of feedback will be taken into account.
Brown says Aucklanders believe that the city is going in the right direction when it comes to sorting out congestion.
‘‘They recognise now, after decades of under-investment, they know the real problem, they’re now understanding what it’s going to take to sort it.’’
The mayor has reiterated his election commitment to keeping average rate rises across the city to 2.5 per cent. The 10-year plan allows for an average 3.5 per cent rates rise but Brown stressed that it was only a draft budget.
‘‘This is not Parliament. We go to our community, and we listen to them. I’ll certainly be working towards it [keeping rises to an aver- age of 2.5 per cent] over the next five months.’’
Speaking up: Auckland Mayor Len Brown says residents have realised something needs to be done about city congestion.