In August, I delivered to Council my intent for the next 10-year budget and outlined my vision for Auckland. My priority for our city in the coming decade is to address the challenges we face with rapid population growth putting pressure on transport, housing and the environment. Our wider goal for Auckland is to be a city that can retain our talented young people and attract the skills and investment for our city and country to grow.
New Zealand needs Auckland to succeed as a global city that can compete with other major cities around the world. Our task is to build on the advantages Auckland offers – ease of doing business, opportunities in work and education, a beautiful environment and a great lifestyle.
Our biggest challenge is to secure funding for infrastructure to meet the demands of our fast growing population and to ensure Auckland remains a successful, inclusive city where people love to live. We have made good progress in the past 10 months. In July, we announced with Government a new $300m investment in infrastructure to bring forward 10,500 new homes in Whenuapai and Redhills and a Special Purpose Vehicle to invest an extra $587m in development-enabling infrastructure to accelerate more than 23,000 new builds, including in Wainui, without adding new debt to Council’s books. Investment in transport is critical with $27 billion needed in the next 10 years. We are working with Government on how to fund that without huge rates increases.
Growing homelessness is another challenge. Through the Housing First programme, Council has partnered with NGOs and central government to house vulnerable Aucklanders sleeping rough. Between March 1 and July 31, 150 adults and families with children have been housed through Housing First. We have also launched Million Trees, my programme to plant one million new predominantly native trees and shrubs across Auckland by the end of this Council term, delivering a natural asset for future generations to enjoy. Council is working hard to deliver positive outcomes for our city so that we can meet the needs of all our people and make Auckland a greener, more connected and more prosperous city.
We need your voice and your input on our plans for Auckland. Early next year, the 10-year Budget will go out for public consultation. I encourage all of you to make your voices heard so that you can help shape Auckland’s development over the coming decade. We also need more support from central government to fund critical infrastructure. I’m pleased that the election campaign has brought our city’s challenges to the fore, with many of the political parties announcing policies for Auckland. I look forward to working constructively with whoever forms the government after September 23 to ensure that Auckland receives the investment we need as we continue to grow.
by Phil Goff