Every three years all councils across Aotearoa must consult on their Long Term Plan (LTP) also known as the 10 year budget. The LTP determines what services will be provided to our communities and how they will be funded. We are particularly focused on this LTP as recovery continues from the devastating Auckland flooding, households experience cost pressures and council responds to challenges from inflation and population growth. The well-being of communities has never been more important.

Auckland Council’s LTP consultation started on 28 February. Feedback is due by 28 March. The feedback form is structured around three options – Do more, Central and  Do less.  (see the Council website for the full plan)

The Mayor is promoting doing things differently in the Central option. We welcome the proposal to radically improve Auckland’s water infrastructure and flood resilience (the Making Space for Water programme is a particularly good piece of work that will see substantial reductions in future flooding, while delivering some improvements for the natural environment and water quality). It is important to complete the Central Interceptor and to continue to prioritise separation work to reduce sewage into the harbour. We also welcome a proposed cap of $50 a week for Public Transport.

However, we have serious concerns about the trade-offs in the central option. Service reductions, and cuts to community funding and to environmental projects, the sale of green space and loved community facilities, delays to work on retained buildings, and stopping essential road and footpath safety improvements will have a real effect on the lives of Aucklanders..

We want Aucklanders to enjoy a resilient, healthy, safe and welcoming city. We do not want:

  • The sale of $300 million of Council community centres, libraries, parks and pools over ten years
  • Big cuts in transport that helps Aucklanders get around- buses, trains, safety projects and footpaths
  • Cuts in planned climate action, such as delaying the electrification of buses and ferries
  • Reduced funding to control pest plants and animals and combat kauri dieback

The Do More option is essentially the “status quo” plus emergency planning, and the only option without cuts and asset sales. Do More allows us to deliver the services and facilities our growing city needs:

  • Community centres, libraries, parks, events and programmes, arts and sports opportunities
  • Better transport options including more rapid and reliable electric buses and trains, road safety initiatives, improved footpaths and cycleways, and safe crossings in town centres, eg. to make the area of Uptown around the new Maungawhau CRL station more walkable.
  • Community environmental initiatives, tree planting, pest control, biodiversity, stream cleaning and carbon emissions reduction

We also oppose the Mayor’s proposals for privatising the Port, selling the last of the airport shares and establishing a diversified investment fund called the “Future Fund” because:

  • By leasing the Port of Auckland, we will lose control of a key part of our waterfront and the income from its profits for up to 35 years.
  • The remaining airport shares are a strategic asset, and selling them loses us the income from dividends.
  • The Future Fund proposal includes no rules for ethical investment, nor any guardrails to prevent future councils from whittling it away.

How do we pay for it? We support reasonable rates rises and sensible borrowing. The difference in cost in rates rise for the average household between Doing More and the Central option is 65 cents a day. For those living in properties worth less than $1.3million the rise is significantly less.

The Do Less option will result in significant cuts in services and activities and halting many programmes like the completion of the Central Interceptor, new parks in areas of growth, stormwater maintenance and further reduces funding for local boards.

Here is our submission guide. We suggest selecting Do More or Other (depending on the question) and explaining why in the relevant text box (see our guide for what we suggest). You can answer all questions or focus on those that most concern you, and you can write about what matters most to you at the end.

Please have your say. Tell your councillors and local board there is a better choice. This is our Auckland. These are our assets. NO to privatisation of the Port, NO to sale of our parks, pools and community centres; YES to effective and reliable public transport, YES to safe roads and routes to school and YES to a cleaner environment and climate action.

City Vision’s guide to the online feedback form

Section 1:  The overall direction

Question 1a. Which option do you prefer for the overall direction for council’s Long-term Plan? 

From the options we recommend selecting Do More or Other  

The Do More  (increase council services/investment) is the only option which avoids cuts to council services. Do More means we can invest in Auckland’s future with new assets in growing areas.

It means more urban renewal and more climate action, including faster electrification of buses and ferries and walking and cycling projects. It will also deliver the Making Space for Water programme in six years instead of ten, making Auckland more resilient faster.

The Do more rates rise is still affordable and offers better value for money long term. Doing effective climate projects like these enables council to access lower interest rates through green bonds. If we don’t use our money to reduce climate risk, then this will increase our financial risk as a council too.

 Question 1b. What would you like Auckland Council to do more or less of?

From the options we recommend selecting Do More for each category.

Transport: Do More means:

  • greater investment in rail: rolling stock
  • Lincoln Road and New North Road corridor upgrades
  • completing Downtown and Midtown Bus improvements
  • additional cycleway and walking connections 
  • better funding for maintenance, expansion and promotion of Public transport
  • Rolling out electric ferries and more low-emission buses
  • more support for  Kiwi Rail track maintenance

Water:  Do More means:

  • delivering Making Space for Water in six years as originally consulted upon. This programme is urgent and we need it as soon as practicable to reduce the risk to homes and lives when the next storm hits.

City and local development: support Central or Do More:

  • urban regeneration means more housing and business opportunities in attractive, liveable, resilient neighbourhoods. Renewal in Northcote, for example, has brought better parks and hundreds of new homes protected by new stormwater infrastructure.

Environment and regulation: Do More means going beyond waste reduction, tackling caulerpa and delivering on regulatory minimums, including:

  • the Environment Targeted Rate rises with inflation so that most of the programmes in the Regional Pest Management Plan will be delivered
  • better supported community volunteers 
  • additional funding to deliver Auckland’s climate plan

Parks and Community:  Fairer funding for local boards is an existing long-term project that is being fast-tracked. Getting equitable funding for all local boards will help them deliver in your community wherever you live and can be achieved through a mix of new money and reallocating some from the higher-funded boards. We know Puketepapa and Albert-Eden are currently more underfunded than other boards. The Do More option will mean no local boards, like Waitemata, have their funding cut and there would be the greatest top-up of funding for the most underfunded boards Do More means: 

  • Sufficient funding for all local boards to provide the services their communities need 
  • Maintaining current facilities such as pools, sports facilities and community buildings.
  • Building new assets like libraries and community centres and developing new parks

We support the Do More option to prevent the sale of  $300m worth of assets over ten years. 

Economic and cultural development: The central option proposes to continue supporting regional facilities like the zoo and Art Gallery and maintain facilities to enable arts and events. The Climate Connect hub will be funded to support a low-carbon transition. Economic development and destination marketing and events like Diwali will be funded but at a reduced level. Council will look for alternative funding resources, eg. a bed night visitor levy. If this cannot be found less will be delivered over time.  

Do More means:

  • major events funding (like a World Cup) will be reinstated 
  • increased support for growing the technology, screen and creative industries 
  • the development of the Aotea Entertainment Precinct in midtown. 
  • greater benefits from Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s economic development work, meaning more jobs and recreation opportunities.

Council support: The central option focuses on emergency management and consolidating shared services behind the scenes (which has already begun) but the proposal is also likely to mean less staff to support the delivery of services and enable effective governance. There are risks to quality of governance if staff are spread too thinly and unable to deliver advice and programmes effectively.  It is also proposed that council work more closely with MOTAT, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board that supports many arts and community facilities across the city, to modernise the legislation and governance relationship with council. This may mean cuts in funding to the arts, culture and education.  Please do share your insights around what works and what could work better in the current system. 

Question 1c. Is there anything else you would like Auckland Council to Do More for? 

In the text box we recommend covering all or some of this feedback

  • Auckland Council could do more to ensure compliance with existing bylaws, including proactive measurement and management of noise, pollution and anti-social behaviour.
  • Auckland Council should do more to realise its Climate Plan and Transport Emissions Reduction Plan.
  • Auckland Council needs to improve community resilience, which is partly planning and infrastructure, and partly building community networks. 
  • We would advise against reducing staff levels to the point that they are overwhelmed and unable to give good advice. 
  • We recommend that there is sufficient prioritisation of communication and IT systems to improve customer experience. 
  • We should incentivise more development in the existing urban area close to transport links, perhaps by making it cheaper to get consents, and to connect to water infrastructure in existing suburbs. This would significantly reduce costs on the council over time.

Question 1d. Is there anything else you would like Auckland Council to do less of so that you could pay less?

Council should stop enabling housing at the edge of the city where there is no infrastructure. We need a compact city to grow a strong economy, a lower carbon future and better services for residents.

Section 2: The Transport Plan

Question 2 asks you what you think of the transport proposal?

We recommend supporting  Most of the proposal and in the text box Tell us why the reasons for your support

We support:

  • completing the City Rail Link
  • improving bus, rail and ferry networks for more reliable service
  • funding new cycleways and shared paths so that more people have access to the network
  • delivering new and improved footpaths across Auckland, particularly in the city centre.
  • “Time of use” charging 
  • a “room to move” programme to review parking in critical areas and increase revenue from parking and Park & Rides.
  • 50% electrified buses by 2030
  • expanding the rapid transport network (RTN)
  • a weekly $50 cap on public transport fares

However, the proposal cuts some bus routes, reduces funding for safe walking and cycling, and does not do enough to reduce emissions. Less uptake of walking, cycling and public transport will mean a transport system that functions worse for everyone.

Question 2a. Is there anything you would spend more on? 

You might reiterate what you support in the central option (eg. completing CRL and Great North Road upgrades and more dynamic bus lanes). You might also raise these projects included in the Do More section: 

  • completing the Downtown and Midtown Bus improvements
  • more cycleway and walking connections 
  • safety projects around schools and town centres. 
  • better funding for maintaining, expanding and promoting  the public transport network, including to more remote areas
  • rolling out electric ferries and more low-emission buses, plus supporting infrastructure
  • the Lincoln Road and New North Road corridor upgrades
  • greater investment in rail: rolling stock, and more support for ongoing Kiwi Rail track maintenance
  • Street trees and rain gardens

Question 2b. Is there anything you would spend less on?  

We think there are areas where council could spend less.  For example, instead of expensive and unnecessary widening of already wide roads like Te Irirangi Drive, we could use existing space for bus lanes and active modes. The Eastern Busway could be rescoped to use the existing road corridor and still have room for a cycleway and footpath. The excess land could then be used for housing. 

We also do not support the full expansion of the ‘unsealed roads’ programme.

Section 4:  Major Investments

Question 4a. Asks what is your preference on the proposal to establish an Auckland Future Fund and transfer Auckland Council’s shareholding in Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) into this fund (enabling the shares to be sold)?

We suggest selecting DO NOT PROCEED

Where the form asks Tell us why

The airport shares are a strategic asset that has paid good dividends in the past and will again in the future. We are also concerned that the fund would be whittled down in time in a reactive way rather than being used strategically to transition to a low-carbon and resilient economy, and city. 

There are currently no ethical parameters for the Future Fund, so it might invest in companies that exacerbate the climate issues that the fund is designed to address. Investing in a non-ethical fund may jeopardise council’s access to low-cost infrastructure loans via Green Bonds. 

4b. Which option do you prefer for the future of Port of Auckland? 

We support the first option under this question:

Retain underlying council ownership of port land and wharves, and continue council group operation of the port (through Port of Auckland Limited), and implement the plan to deliver improved profitability and more dividends to council

Where the form asks Tell us why:

  • Leasing the port would privatise it for a generation or longer. We would lose control over a key part of our waterfront and the income from its profits ($52M last year). The proposal may also lead to worse outcomes for workers, and higher costs for New Zealand businesses and consumers. We are concerned also that there will not be sufficient maintenance and modernisation in the latter years of the lease, meaning Aucklanders would have to bear these costs.
  • Our concerns over the Future Fund (as in 4a).

4c. If the council group continues to operate the Port of Auckland how would you prefer to use the profits and dividends?

We support the first option under this question – continue to use it to fund council services

Where the form asks Tell us why:

Port dividends have always been used to fund council services and we do not support a reduction in services when the population is getting larger and the challenges are getting greater. 

Section 5 Port land

Regardless of whether the Port lease goes ahead the feedback form asks for comment on the potential for the transfer of operational port land to Auckland Council.   There is no firm costed proposal and it is deliberately vague.  We think it is important to have a conversation regarding opening up more waterfront and the future of the port but that is only possible with the port remaining in public control.   

5a. What option do you prefer for Captain Cook and Marsden wharves? 

We support proceeding with the proposal to transfer Captain Cook and Marsden wharves from the port to Auckland Council.  

Where the form ask Tell us why:

It will open up more of the waterfront space for public enjoyment and events. Cruise ships could be relocated from Queen’s Wharf, meaning less impact on ferries and a more enjoyable space.

5b. What option do you prefer for Bledisloe Terminal? 

We support the option to Keep Bledisloe Terminal as a Port of Auckland operational area

Where the form ask Tell us why:

It would be hugely expensive and environmentally damaging to move port operations from Bledisloe Wharf, and the port would be less able to return a dividend to council.

Section 6: Changes to business rates, fees and charges

6a. What do you think of these proposals?

From the table of changes: 

Natural Environment Targeted Rate:  We support the resumption to better protect native ecosystems and biodiversity.

Water Quality Targeted Rate:  We support the to reduce sewage going into the harbour

Climate Action Targeted Rate:   We do not support changes to the CATR – it should fund new or better public transport services rather than business as usual..

Long Term Differential Strategy: We do support discontinuing as this means that businesses and residents will see similar levels of rates rises in future years. 

Refuse Collection:  We support rates-funded refuse collection as it is easier on families and discourages flytipping.

6b. Do you have any other feedback on the proposals in question 6a, the changes to our Revenue and Financing Policy, or other changes to fees and charges?

Section 7: Local board priorities  

In this section tell your local board what you think of their proposed priorities for the 10-year budget 2024-2034.  City Vision elected representatives share here what they want to achieve for their local areas.

Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback for the future of our city.