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Essential Investment Not Always Glamorous

Investing in stormwater, roads and footpaths might not be seen as 'sexy' but is utterly essential for Auckland's future according to the Chair of Auckland City's Finance and Property Committee, Councillor Kay McKelvie.

"It is a big plus for the City that next year we are planning to spend $22 million in stormwater improvements, $42 million in roading and $11 million in parks and street environments without increasing our rates", she said.

"One of the key responsibilities of any Council is to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to enable a city to grow and prosper. This is particularly the case in Auckland, which is the fastest growing region in the country with the population forecast to reach 1.6 million in the next 20 years.
Auckland City is the home to one third of the nation's workforce and 38% of all business enterprises. Without adequate provision for infrastructure, it would grind to a halt.”

Cr McKelvie said as the city grows so too does the demand on stormwater systems, roads, footpaths, and community facilities. “Yet local authorities have sometimes put money into more glamorous projects rather than maintaining the basics upon which people depend.”

Auckland's predicted growth provides huge challenges to the region's decision-makers and it is a challenge that the Auckland City Council has risen to with increasing success, according to Councillor McKelvie.

A report to Council's Finance and Property Committee indicates that last year Auckland City implemented the greatest capital works programme in its history, increasing by 25% the spend on capital projects over the last 3 years.

"We have to ensure the replacement and upgrading of our assets matches the forecasted growth rates for our city. It is critical to a city's ability to flourish that all local authorities fulfil their obligations to future citizens, by putting aside money to ensure the maintenance of a city's vital infrastructure", she said.

Councillor McKelvie said that Auckland City did this last year by changing its depreciation regime.

"The charging of depreciation is new in a local authority, and while that allows us to catch up with the maintenance and renewal of some of our assets, we also have to invest in new works that will allow us to keep up with the predicted population growth.

"Last year, in recognition of this the City actually funded $95 million of new works while investing $53 million in renewing and upgrading existing assets such as footpaths, roads and stormwater systems.

“This indicates the strong commitment this Council has to doing what Council's should be doing - improving the City's basic infrastructure.”

ENDS
For further information please contact Councillor Kay McKelvie,
Telephone: 09) 846 7076 or 025) 279 6448

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