Message from the mayor

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Auckland Council has reached its teenage years. Now is the time for us to grow up: assert Auckland’s role in driving our own future, tackle our big financial challenges and focus on strengthening the long-term financial and physical resilience of the region.

The tragic impacts of the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle last year showed us that we lack the physical and financial resilience that a city like Auckland needs.

The decisions of the past have determined our current budgetary woes but the decisions that we make now will shape the decades ahead. We need to decide what problems we are trying to fix, and if what we are doing doesn’t fix those problems then we stop doing it. We must get better value from our strategic assets and make provision for our biggest risks.

I am determined to put the council in a position to affordably deliver the basic infrastructure and services expected by Aucklanders, which help them live their lives better and especially get around easier.

We will work with the government to create a new working arrangement that recognises the size and importance of Auckland, representing one third of the country’s population and gross domestic product (GDP).

We must address the need for new funding arrangements noting that growth delivers substantial increases in income tax and GST revenue for central government and only increases costs for local government.

Putting us on a sustainable financial path is necessary if we want to make the investment required for Auckland to be a beautiful, thriving and safe place to live. This means our long-term plan (LTP) needs to focus on areas where we will have the most impact for the next 10 years.

As a council we face several unavoidable bills in the next 10 years that this budget must provide for, as well as providing for unforeseen risks. We also have big unknowns around what is happening with water reforms and the government cancelling the Regional Fuel Tax, which have big financial implications.

The Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle demonstrated that Auckland must confront the long-term resilience risks posed by climate change, which include the increased risk of damage to the council’s physical assets and Auckland homes and businesses, as well as the risk to council’s access to capital and insurance.

Other major environmental challenges have appeared, including the spread of exotic Caulerpa seaweeds that threaten one of our greatest treasures, the Hauraki Gulf.

These are big problems. In previous years, decisions have been made to paper over funding gaps with debt and commit to new mega-projects while underfunding the renewal of core assets like roads, pipes and community buildings. These chickens have come home to roost, and this LTP deals with them.

Given our financial challenges, we cannot offer a whole lot of new spending in this budget. Instead, I am asking the council group to focus on doing more with what we already have. I want the organisation focused on two mantras:

  • What is the problem we are trying to fix? If there isn’t a problem then we should stop doing it. Let’s fix what is broken, finish what we started and optimise what we have.
  • Better, faster, cheaper – let’s look to do things differently, rather than assume things need to cost so much, and remove barriers to pragmatic solutions.

This LTP proposes some big strategic changes. This includes a proposal to lease Auckland’s port operations and invest the potential multi-billion dollar proceeds into a council-owned, diversified regional wealth fund. The council’s remaining shareholding in Auckland International Airport (AIAL) could also be transferred to this proposed Auckland Future Fund.

The potential benefits of this are multi-layered, including reduced risk exposure, getting a better return on investment, and providing for a safety net with the financial ability to respond to large-scale risks. A portion of the fund’s returns would be reinvested, to preserve and grow the fund, with the rest providing cash to keep rates increases lower than would otherwise be needed.

This LTP also proposes other actions including:

  • releasing waterfront land from the Port of Auckland for public use
  • making public transport faster, more reliable and easier to use – with a weekly $50 cap on buses, trains and inner harbour ferries
  • refreshed fiscal and budget responsibility rules, including a range of cost savings
  • keeping rates affordable – with a new target to keep rates rises within 1.5 per cent of inflation from 2027-2028
  • fairer funding options for local boards.

We have taken a very different approach to developing this LTP compared to the past and this time we are presenting a range of choices for Aucklanders to have a say on in this consultation document. The core proposal will deliver my vision of affordable, resilient and future-focussed infrastructure, services and funding tools.

However, we want Aucklanders to have their say if they want council to do less and spend less or do more and spend more. These choices will have a direct impact on rates increases and service levels. Nothing is free.

Long-term Plan 2024-2034 consultation

Consultation for the long-term plan closed on 28 March 2024.

The Governing Body will consider the feedback while making final decisions for the long-term plan.

We expect the Long-term Plan 2024-2034 will be adopted in late June 2024.

Read the full Long-term Plan 2024-2034 Consultation Document

Long-term Plan 2024-2034 Consultation Document [PDF 17MB].

Auckland Council has reached its teenage years. Now is the time for us to grow up: assert Auckland’s role in driving our own future, tackle our big financial challenges and focus on strengthening the long-term financial and physical resilience of the region.

The tragic impacts of the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle last year showed us that we lack the physical and financial resilience that a city like Auckland needs.

The decisions of the past have determined our current budgetary woes but the decisions that we make now will shape the decades ahead. We need to decide what problems we are trying to fix, and if what we are doing doesn’t fix those problems then we stop doing it. We must get better value from our strategic assets and make provision for our biggest risks.

I am determined to put the council in a position to affordably deliver the basic infrastructure and services expected by Aucklanders, which help them live their lives better and especially get around easier.

We will work with the government to create a new working arrangement that recognises the size and importance of Auckland, representing one third of the country’s population and gross domestic product (GDP).

We must address the need for new funding arrangements noting that growth delivers substantial increases in income tax and GST revenue for central government and only increases costs for local government.

Putting us on a sustainable financial path is necessary if we want to make the investment required for Auckland to be a beautiful, thriving and safe place to live. This means our long-term plan (LTP) needs to focus on areas where we will have the most impact for the next 10 years.

As a council we face several unavoidable bills in the next 10 years that this budget must provide for, as well as providing for unforeseen risks. We also have big unknowns around what is happening with water reforms and the government cancelling the Regional Fuel Tax, which have big financial implications.

The Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle demonstrated that Auckland must confront the long-term resilience risks posed by climate change, which include the increased risk of damage to the council’s physical assets and Auckland homes and businesses, as well as the risk to council’s access to capital and insurance.

Other major environmental challenges have appeared, including the spread of exotic Caulerpa seaweeds that threaten one of our greatest treasures, the Hauraki Gulf.

These are big problems. In previous years, decisions have been made to paper over funding gaps with debt and commit to new mega-projects while underfunding the renewal of core assets like roads, pipes and community buildings. These chickens have come home to roost, and this LTP deals with them.

Given our financial challenges, we cannot offer a whole lot of new spending in this budget. Instead, I am asking the council group to focus on doing more with what we already have. I want the organisation focused on two mantras:

  • What is the problem we are trying to fix? If there isn’t a problem then we should stop doing it. Let’s fix what is broken, finish what we started and optimise what we have.
  • Better, faster, cheaper – let’s look to do things differently, rather than assume things need to cost so much, and remove barriers to pragmatic solutions.

This LTP proposes some big strategic changes. This includes a proposal to lease Auckland’s port operations and invest the potential multi-billion dollar proceeds into a council-owned, diversified regional wealth fund. The council’s remaining shareholding in Auckland International Airport (AIAL) could also be transferred to this proposed Auckland Future Fund.

The potential benefits of this are multi-layered, including reduced risk exposure, getting a better return on investment, and providing for a safety net with the financial ability to respond to large-scale risks. A portion of the fund’s returns would be reinvested, to preserve and grow the fund, with the rest providing cash to keep rates increases lower than would otherwise be needed.

This LTP also proposes other actions including:

  • releasing waterfront land from the Port of Auckland for public use
  • making public transport faster, more reliable and easier to use – with a weekly $50 cap on buses, trains and inner harbour ferries
  • refreshed fiscal and budget responsibility rules, including a range of cost savings
  • keeping rates affordable – with a new target to keep rates rises within 1.5 per cent of inflation from 2027-2028
  • fairer funding options for local boards.

We have taken a very different approach to developing this LTP compared to the past and this time we are presenting a range of choices for Aucklanders to have a say on in this consultation document. The core proposal will deliver my vision of affordable, resilient and future-focussed infrastructure, services and funding tools.

However, we want Aucklanders to have their say if they want council to do less and spend less or do more and spend more. These choices will have a direct impact on rates increases and service levels. Nothing is free.

Long-term Plan 2024-2034 consultation

Consultation for the long-term plan closed on 28 March 2024.

The Governing Body will consider the feedback while making final decisions for the long-term plan.

We expect the Long-term Plan 2024-2034 will be adopted in late June 2024.

Read the full Long-term Plan 2024-2034 Consultation Document

Long-term Plan 2024-2034 Consultation Document [PDF 17MB].

Page last updated: 02 Apr 2024, 10:14 AM