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“Tell us what you think”:

“Tell us what you think”: Council launches campaign to generate comment on its draft annual plan

Auckland City Council has released its draft annual plan for the 2004 financial year and today launches a $65,000 campaign to generate public comment.

The chairperson of the council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee, Councillor Douglas Armstrong, says the incredible growth Auckland city is experiencing presents not only wonderful opportunities but also challenges.

“It is vital that the council invests in Auckland city’s infrastructure to meet the needs of this and future generations of residents and ratepayers. The annual plan is a summary of how the council intends to meet those needs during the period 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004 and how much it will cost to achieve it.

“The draft annual plan is the most important document the council produces. This year it is in two volumes and contains information about the council’s activities and projects, including financial and strategic information. It also contains financial policies and statements that require public consultation under new local government and rating acts.”

The council plans to receive $424.5 million in revenue in the 2004 financial year. Seventy per cent ($288.3 million) of this will be from rates, with slightly more than half being paid by non-residential ratepayers. It intends to spend $400.6 million on operating expenses, such as keeping our parks clean and tidy, street lighting and supporting community events. The council intends to spend $192.1 million on costs associated with capital expenditure, the building or renewal of the council’s assets. The council has identified four key issues in the Draft Annual Plan 2004 – transport, growth, streets and rates. It has important plans for each of these issues: to make progress on the Auckland city section of the region’s road and rail network. This includes working with Manukau City Council and Transit New Zealand on both the eastern corridor and connecting State Highway 20 through Mangere, Mt Roskill and to the north-western motorway; working with Transit New Zealand on upgrading spaghetti junction and Grafton gully; improving bus services; studying CBD roads and passenger transport, and also completing Britomart and developing the surrounding downtown area to improve the city’s infrastructure, e.g. the stormwater network, improve the inner city waterfront, co-ordinate new development at Tamaki Edge and Mt Wellington in response to population growth, and support economic development initiatives to increase spending on footpath upgrades, formulate new policy and increase spending to make streets in the CBD and suburban commercial centres more pedestrian-friendly, and develop a policy to make urban streets more attractive to limit the total rates increase to within the rate of inflation (estimated to be 2.5 per cent). The council will collect the 2.5 per cent increase by increasing the waste collection charge. It will also act on new rating legislation. To reduce the impact of the 2002 property revaluation on residential ratepayers, the council will replace part of the value-based general rate with a uniform annual general charge and alter the amount of rates paid by non-residential ratepayers compared with residential ratepayers.

“The document is still a draft because before the council puts the plans into action it wants to hear what people think on these and other issues,” says Councillor Armstrong.

Today the council embarks on a $65,000 multimedia marketing campaign to promote the Draft Annual Plan 2004. The campaign includes print advertisements, posters, badges, flyers, billboards in the CBD, city-wide ad shels and radio ads featuring Mayor John Banks.

This year the council is making a special effort to communicate with Auckland city’s ethnic communities, with translated draft annual plan ads appearing in local Asian and Pacific Island newspapers, as well as on Asian and Pacific Island radio stations, Councillor Armstrong says.

The council will be holding 15 special public meetings for members of the public to hear how the draft annual plan will affect them and their community, and answer any questions about the draft annual plan. The details of these meetings are being publicly advertised and are also available on the council’s website. Additional briefings will take place for special interest groups, such as Auckland City staff, the Employers and Manufacturers Association and iwi.

The Draft Annual Plan 2004 document can be viewed on the council’s website www.aucklandcity.govt.nz as well as at any Auckland City library or service centre. An easy to read summary of the Draft Annual Plan 2004 will be distributed to all Auckland city homes and businesses inside the council’s weekly City Scene publication on Sunday, 27 April 2003.

The council has also established a dedicated “hotline” should members of the public have any questions, or would like more information, about the draft annual plan. The telephone number is (09) 379 2037.

The council encourages anyone who has an interest in the future of Auckland city to make a submission before the deadline of 5pm on 22 May 2003.

Councillor Armstrong says the best and most efficient way to make a submission is online using the council’s website. Submission forms are also provided with the document, at the public meetings, Auckland City libraries and service centres.

“The draft annual plan process is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has an interest in Auckland city to tell the council what they think,” says Councillor Armstrong.

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