Auckland Council annual budget: Where will the money go?

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has released details of Auckland Council's proposed spending plan for 2019 to 2020. 

Mr Goff has dubbed it his "deliver-it" Budget, because it proposes a large chunk of money to go towards the city's most vulnerable. 

The Budget proposal to councillors seeks to "help Auckland's most vulnerable with a proposed $5 million to the City Mission's HomeGround housing and social services project", the council said in a release on Thursday. 

An official count in September revealed 800 homeless people living in Auckland. Mr Goff, who participated in the count along with more than 660 other volunteers, said it was "800 too many", and vowed to "end homelessness". 

"I want to end homelessness in Auckland," Mr Goff said on Thursday. "It is an ambitious aim, but necessarily so. We need to get people off the streets and out of cars and into proper accommodation with supporting service to deal with problems like mental health and addiction..."

The proposed funding to the Auckland City Mission's HomeGround project will be in addition to the council's support of Housing First which provides homeless people with appropriate housing and supports them with wrap-around services. 

But the bulk of Auckland Council's spending will go towards transport infrastructure. If approved, it will be the largest annual capital investment in transport infrastructure by the council, of $1.2 billion, from 2019 to 2020. 

"This Budget is about spades in the ground and cranes in the air," said Mr Goff. "We are using the record levels of funding we've secured to deliver the critical infrastructure the city needs."

The bulk of Auckland Council's spending will go towards transport infrastructure.
The bulk of Auckland Council's spending will go towards transport infrastructure. Photo credit: Getty

It comes after the Government and Auckland Council released a 10-year Budget plan for Auckland in February, which focused mainly on building infrastructure and providing more transparency about what ratepayer money will be spent on.

The 10-year budget would see a large boost to infrastructure spending, from $7.9 billion to over $11 billion for the next decade, with the interim transport levy replaced by the regional fuel tax introduced in July.  

The swap for a fuel tax of 10c a litre (11.5c including GST) was the flagship policy in Mr Goff's proposed 10-year budget for the city. It was introduced because funding was "not sufficient enough to deliver the level of investment in transport that Auckland needed".  

"Without the [regional fuel tax], Auckland would be able to do little more than fund the operation and renewal of the existing transport system and projects which have already been committed to," said Mr Goff in April. 

Auckland Transport approved a new $16.5 billion 10-year Budget plan in June. The majority of the money is dedicated to improving roads and travel times across the city along with plans to increase public transport and reduce congestion using intelligence technology. 

Other areas covered in Auckland Council's annual budget include protecting Kauri, dealing with illegal dumping, and gearing towards paying council staff a living wage from September next year. 

The proposed budget would see $200,000 go towards continued funding to deal with illegal dumping. The council would also work towards contributing more towards the water quality improvement programme to clean up Auckland's beaches and streams. 

The cost of this was not specified, nor was the cost of protecting Kauri and managing predators through actions funded by the Natural Environment Targeted Rate

The council also plans to save around $560 million over a decade through an annual operating savings target of $23 million. 

Auckland is projected to grow by up to another 1 million people over the next 30 years, while in the next decade nearly 55 percent of New Zealand's population growth is expected to be in Auckland.