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.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.’’

Photo: PHOTOTEK

Speak­ing up: Auck­land Mayor Len Brown says res­i­dents have re­alised some­thing needs to be done about city con­ges­tion.

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