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Creating the city you want

Creating the city you want

Auckland City's combined committees has today adopted the council's 10-year plan.

Mayor Dick Hubbard says, “Our vision for Auckland is of an exciting, safe, vibrant and diverse city that manages growth without compromising the things we love about living in Auckland”.

Vern Walsh, chairperson of the Combined Committees says, “In April and May, we asked Aucklanders what they thought of our draft 10-year plan, which outlined the vision and the different paths we could choose to get there. The response was clear - Aucklanders overwhelmingly endorsed our vision for the city and helped us prioritise what projects will be funded over the next 10 years. They also recognised the need to pay for those projects, but it made it clear that they wanted assurances of actions and results.”

“We have heard what the people of Auckland had to say and used their advice to guide our decision making,” said Mr Walsh.

“The timing of this 10-year plan marks a crossroads for two key opportunities for Auckland. We have today grasped our one and only opportunity to develop a world-class CBD waterfront. And we have prioritised resources that will help prepare our city for the benefit of one of sport’s international show pieces – the 2011 Rugby World Cup,” said Mayor Hubbard.

Some of the other projects Auckland City has selected to reach its vision include:

• buying land and carrying out construction work to develop a better road network between Auckland and Manukau

• carrying out stormwater work to cater for growth and reduce flood risk

• improving school transport safety

• building new swimming pools in Otahuhu and Avondale

• Hauraki Gulf islands: developing eco-tourism infrastructure and upgrading the transport network

• protecting the character and heritage of local centres

• promoting diversity and migrant settlement

• improving access to the waterfronts (land, parks, recreational wharf)

• restoring the historic Pah Homestead at Monte Cecilia Park.


“We have also committed $83 million to upgrading our city’s footpaths whose current sorry condition is a direct consequence of chronic under-spending in the past,” added Mayor Hubbard.

Mr Walsh says, “Auckland City is steadfast in its resolve to continue doing the thousands of things it does everyday in the city to make Auckland a fantastic place in which to live, work and play. The council sees good core services and facilities as a vital foundation for our long-term vision.

“Auckland City is committed to provide real value for money to our ratepayers. We exhaust all potential income streams before considering any rates increases. We will maintain our services where they are excellent and cost effective and continuously improve them where they are not,” said Mr Walsh.

“It is important to bear in mind that the council provides services and does things that other organisations or the private sector ordinarily wouldn’t as they don’t generate a return,” he said.

Demand on services and service levels are constantly being pushed by a population that has been growing for several years. This is a national trend, with rates rising across the country.

Auckland City’s real rates increase is 1.9 per cent. Factors such as movements in the differential policy, general charges and the 2005 property revaluation mean that ratepayers across the city will experience differencing impacts.

Non-residential ratepayers in the CBD will see their rates decrease on average by 4.6 per cent, other non-residential ratepayers’ bills will increase on average by 3.4 per cent while residential ratepayers will experience an average increase of 13.4 per cent (including inflation).

There is good news this year for people on fixed or lower incomes.

More people this year are now eligible for a rates rebate. As the government’s rebate scheme excludes Metrowater charges, Auckland City provides a ‘top-up’ to ensure that people get the maximum rebate benefit. In addition, for the first time this year, rural residents will be eligible for this rebate.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Auckland City’s total rates increase is made up of:

o applying an inflation adjustment of 3.3 per cent to general rates.
o
o increasing the refuse collection targeted rate from $131 to $168.
o
o applying an inflation adjustment of 3.3 per cent to the targeted rates for transport, open space and volcanic cones, heritage and urban design, and community development and housing.
o
o further increasing these four targeted rates to fund new projects adopted in this long-term plan and introducing a new city development targeted rate to fund the new projects adopted that cannot be funded by the existing targeted rates. Together, the new city development targeted rate and increases to the four existing targeted rates to fund the new projects adopted today represent a real rates increase of 1.9 per cent in 2006/2007.
o
o the impact of the 2005 property revaluation. Ratepayers whose properties increased in value by more than the citywide average will experience a greater than average rates increase. Ratepayers whose properties increased in value by less than the citywide average will experience a less than average rates increase; some will in fact enjoy a decrease in rates.
o
o Auckland City’s differential policy. Businesses currently pay a much higher rate in the dollar than residents. This differential policy makes sure that residents and businesses pay their fair share of rates by gradually reducing the loading of general rates on businesses.
o


Auckland City will keep the uniform annual general charge (UAGC) at $95 per household or business.

Ends


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