Auckland Mayor Len Brown has released the first draft of
a new 10-year budget that includes $2.8 billion of cuts to
The budget included overall rates increases of 2.5 per cent
in the first two years and 3.5 per cent thereafter.
The draft budget is a high level document that contains
little detail of looming cuts.
However Mr Brown has signalled a $3 billion cut to new
transport projects and $800 million to parks and community
He said the council's accounts were in an excellent shape
after four years of balanced budgets.
Mr Brown said he was responding to three messages - keeping
rates low, controlling debt and fixing transport.
Mr Brown said under current funding arrangements the council
would have to forgo transport projects, including most local
and arterial roading projects, most park and ride facilities
and the northwestern busway.
He said later this year he would present a funding proposal
for a more ambitious fully integrated transport network.
This will include options for tolls, congestion charges and
regional fuel taxes.
The draft budget does not include a funding package for the
$2.4 billion city rail link.
The proposed cuts are on a scale never witnessed in Auckland
As well as trimming $2.8 billion of capital works over the
next 10 years, to keep rates at 2.5 per cent the budget must
cut spending costs, starting at $90 million in 2015-2016,
rising to $630 million by 2024-2025.
With an average rates rise of 3.5 per cent, the reduction in
running costs is $75 million in 2015-2016 and $430 million by
• Projects put on hold to soften council budget
Among the options were an end to inorganic rubbish
collections, reducing library hours, less mowing of parks and
cutting cultural festivals and events.
• Council's $53 million staff shift 'tacky'
Mr Brown made an election promise to hold rates to 2.5 per
cent this term and reiterated this in January by saying he
was determined that 2.5 per cent average rates rise is the
Last month, Mr Brown signalled big budget cuts were in the
pipeline to put rates and debt on an "affordable" and
An end to inorganic rubbish collections, reducing library
hours, less mowing of parks and cutting cultural festivals
and events were among the options for cuts floated on July 7.
The only sacrosanct project in the 10-year budget is the $2.4
billion city rail link, which Mr Brown has still to produce a
funding plan for.
Last week, hundreds of capital projects totalling about $300
million were deferred by the council in this year's budget to
address pressures in the 10-year budget.
These included core services, including $10.1 million less
being spent on the city's dilapidated stormwater system and
Auckland Transport targeting bus lanes and rail projects in
Parnell and Pukekohe.
As well as big projects, $35 million of local projects are
being deferred, including a skate park at Riverhead, $84,377
for a new playground and toilet upgrades in Mangere East,
$5786 for litter bins and $1.9 million for a renewal of Mt
Albert town centre.