The Consultation Period Begins
Today is the day that the Long Term Plan (Master Budget) document started its consultation period. Today also marked Auckland Transport dropping a blind-side on the City and saying it was wanting to bring light rail back.
And so through the various mediums available you have until March 16, 2015 to get your say in for the 2015-2025 draft Long Term Plan.
Talking Auckland will run extensive Long Term Plan commentary through the consultation period starting Tuesday, after Auckland Anniversary Weekend (clue: I wont be online for three days).
In the meantime a summary of some key information starting with the pressers:
From Auckland Council
Aucklanders urged to have their say
Mayor Len Brown is urging Aucklanders to have their say on some of the biggest decisions on the future of Auckland.
For the next seven weeks, Aucklanders can give their feedback on the big issues in the council’s 10-year budget – fixing transport, investing in Auckland, your rates, how we address housing and what is proposed for local communities.
Len Brown says: “We’re on the verge of getting the Auckland we want. Today we are kicking off the biggest conversation with Aucklanders on how they want to shape the future of their city.”
“We’re putting parochialism and indecision behind us and you’ll see the evidence of this in 2015.
“This year we start digging below the city centre to build the City Rail Link – we’re going to be ready for when the Government starts to fund its share.
“You’ll see more boardwalks, cycleways, electric trains to the west and south, community facilities across the region, the iconic St James brought back to life. We’re going to start tackling the shortage of emergency housing for our Aucklanders most in need.”
“But 2015 could also be the year we finally undo decades of underinvestment and indecision on how we fix our transport.”
From today, Aucklanders can tell the council whether they want a constrained budget with a basic transport network, or whether they want to invest more to get the advanced network set out in the 30-year Auckland Plan.
“I share Aucklanders’ determination to see major improvements, particularly in transport and housing, but at the same time I know there is no appetite for large increases in rates or debt levels.
The draft plan is still to invest more in Auckland than in any previous decade, $45 billion to maintain, build and buy new assets such as the City Rail Link, roads, parks, property, libraries and stormwater systems and keep this city moving and growing.
“We have a draft 10-year budget, that keeps average rate rises and debt lower than forecast in our previous budget, but this budget is business as usual.
“We have a choice to make. Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more and raise the $300 million needed each year to fund new roads, rail, ferries, busways and cycleways needed to cope with a population set to hit 2.5 million in the next 30 years?”
If the public chooses to invest more, they need to say which funding option they prefer: an increase in fuel tax and rates, or a motorway user charge.
“We face a cost either way, but the cost of doing nothing is worse – the next generations face grinding to a halt.”
Aucklanders can go to the shapeauckland.co.nz website, attend Have Your Say events taking place across Auckland, check their mailboxes for feedback forms, or get on Facebook and Twitter.
Public consultation aims to reach more Aucklanders
Auckland Council wants as many Aucklanders as possible to have a say on the region’s 10-year budget, with feedback being sought online, at public events or through a feedback form going to all households.
People will have over seven weeks (23 Jan – 16 March) to have their say before final decisions are made by council in June.
Kevin Ramsay, Auckland Council’s acting Chief Finance Officer, says decisions on the budget – including how much we invest over the next decade and how we pay for it – will affect all Aucklanders, so having a say is important.
“Aucklanders want this city to keep moving forward and to build on progress over recent years. We also know people want us to keep their rates and other charges as low as possible. So council is working to deliver a budget that gets this balance right.
“The important thing is that Aucklanders tell us what they think – on this and other important issues,” says Mr Ramsay.
The ways people can give feedback, include:
- online at shapeauckland.co.nz, or through social media
- on a form which will be posted to all households along with a summary document
- at one of 30 ‘have your say’ events are being held across the region
The budget covers key issues including how much we invest in Auckland, which in turn means how much rates we need to collect, how we split rates among ratepayers, council’s roles in housing and development and what we should do about fixing transport and the funding options to pay for it.
A consultation document that outlines these issues along with detailed information on other proposals and changes included in the budget can be found at http://www.shapeauckland.co.nz/
The Household Summary Document due to hit your letter boxes has a front cover like this:
The Consultation Document cover if you have the paper version, otherwise it is found at http://www.shapeauckland.co.nz/
Other key information:
- Mayor is not leading the Light Rail on the Isthmus project announced by Auckland Transport today
- It is to note that if Auckland wants light rail on the Isthmus it must compete for resource with existing transport projects ALREADY in the pipeline
- There are four options for the Alternative Transport Funding Regime, they are:
- Basic Transport Network (what we are getting at the moment)
- Auckland Plan Transport Network with its two sub options (Rates and fuel taxes, or motorway tolls)
- Other (to which you fill in what you want project wise and/or funding mechanism wise)’
- Average residential rates rises are at 5.4%
- All budget and debt increases or decreases are projections only. The Annual Plans set what actually gets funded and where debt levels will sit
The options for the Alternative Transport Funding question (not shown is “Other” which is otherwise located on the paper feedback forms)
And so the Long Term Plan consultation period begins. Talking Auckland begins coverage on Tuesday.
In the meantime those readers north of Taupo, enjoy what should be a very hot but fine Auckland Anniversary Weekend. We will see you all again next week 😀