Last week Mayor Phil Goff released his proposal for the Council’s next 10 year budget. This budget, known as the Long-term Plan, is updated every three years and is probably the most important thing the Council does every term. There are quite a few interesting parts of the proposal, although it still lacks a lot of detail that I assume will come through in the next few weeks as this initial proposal is turned into a draft Plan that will be consulted upon next year.
Starting off, the proposal sets three key priority areas.
- Transport: accelerating investment in our transport network, in particular public and active transport and optimising use of the existing network to address traffic congestion
- Housing: facilitating a lift in scale and pace of housing construction, through intensified housing and investment in new greenfields infrastructure to help ease the housing shortage and improve housing affordability
- Environment: dramatically improving water quality at our beaches and streams to stop the degradation of our natural environment and addressing the threat of global warming.
There’s a big boost in overall capital expenditure from the previous 2015-25 Long-term Plan, especially in the transport area:
It’s not exactly clear what this $11-12 billion relates to and whether or not it includes NZTA subisidies. It is also not at all clear what projects make the cut and what don’t, although a table further down provides a few clues in this regard:
The main headlines coming out of the proposal related to a reasonably complex set of new and removed targeted rates, as well as the assumption that funding from a Regional Fuel Tax will be available from July 1st next year, when the next budget takes effect.
Overall the rates increase will be a very small 1.4% for a property at the average value, although this does not count any impact from the Regional Fuel Tax – which will obviously vary significantly depending on how much you drive.
Hopefully some more detail on what’s in and out of the draft transport programme will emerge over the next couple of weeks – even if the programme is quite different to what we might end up with once ATAP is updated and once the new Government released the next GPS, outlining their key transport priorities. For now though, it seems as though we will be able to make progress on some really important transport projects for Auckland, not just light-rail but also a continued major cycling programme, additional electric trains and the ongoing expansion of our rapid transit network.