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Timing confirmed for free weekend travel for under-15s

Mayor Phil Goff confirmed that free public transport for under-15s on weekends and public holidays will come into effect within three months should Councillors vote in favour of the Mayoral Proposal for the Annual Budget on Wednesday.

If supported by Councillors, the new policy will come into effect on 1 September 2019.

Other items to receive additional funding include $5 million to tackle homelessness through the City Mission’s HomeGround project, $200,000 to continue the crackdown on illegal dumping, and $250,000 to wipe out graffiti on rail corridors.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “Work to deliver record investment in transport, housing and the environment is underway. We are delivering the critical infrastructure our city needs to transform Auckland.

“Record levels of investment in infrastructure will help build modern, efficient and connected communities and clean up our environment, and we are doing it while keeping average general rate rises to 2.5 per cent, the lowest rates rise of any high growth or metropolitan city in New Zealand.

“We want to make public transport free for children and teenagers under 15 on weekends and public holidays as soon as possible and we can now confirm it will come into effect this September. This policy will make more efficient use of existing bus capacity, make weekend travel more accessible for families, and encourage the next generation of Aucklanders to become public transport users.

“Council is determined to tackle homelessness. $5 million funding for the City Mission’s HomeGround project will help to address the immediate needs of Auckland’s chronically homeless and support them to take advantage of programmes like Housing First, which has housed nearly a thousand people since we introduced it in 2017.

“Our crackdown on illegal dumping has produced good results, but the battle isn’t over. I am proposing continued annual investment of $200,000 to tackle this blight on our environment and hold those who trash it to account.

“First year results have seen more fines and prosecutions of dumpers than ever before and I want to keep up the fight until we get this issue under control.

“This budget confirms the full implementation of Council’s Living Wage in September this year. I campaigned on introducing a Living Wage and am pleased that we can support our workers with a fair wage that enables them to meet the costs of living in Auckland,” Phil Goff said.

The Mayor’s Annual Budget proposal includes:

• Free public transport for under-15s on weekends and public holidays from September 1.
• $5 million proposed council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing project
• $200,000 proposed continued funding to deal with illegal dumping
• $250,000 proposed additional funding to reduce graffiti on rail corridors
• Average general rates rise limited to 2.5%
• Progressing the water quality improvement programme to clean up our beaches and streams
• Protecting our Kauri and managing predators through actions funded by the Natural Environment Targeted Rate
• An additional annual operating savings target of $23 million bringing the savings achieved this term to 4%, with estimated cumulative savings of around $560 million over a decade
• All council staff paid a living wage from 1 September 2019

The proposal is available in full on the Auckland Council website in HTML and PDF formats.

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