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Green light for kids-free PT weekends, $5m for City Mission

Free public transport for under 16 year olds on weekends and public holidays will come into effect on 1 September this year following Council’s Governing Body’s support for the Mayor’s Annual Budget today.

The proposal to make public transport free for under 16 year olds on weekends and public holidays was one of a range of new measures in the Mayor’s Annual Budget which was agreed by an overwhelming majority.

Other items to receive funding as part of the Mayor’s Annual Budget 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, “In this term of council we have delivered record levels of investment in transport, housing and protecting our environment while keeping rates rises to 2.5 per cent.

“This annual budget ensures Council’s foot is firmly on the accelerator delivering those things that matter most to Aucklanders while helping the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Despite tight fiscal constraints, we have agreed additional funding of $5 million for the City Mission’s HomeGround project to tackle homelessness in Auckland and delivered free public transport for under 16 year olds on weekends and public holidays.

“We are transforming Auckland and delivering an inclusive world class city where talent wants to live,” Phil Goff said.

Chair of Finance and Performance, Ross Clow, said, “This budget balances the delivery of critical infrastructure with help for the most vulnerable members of our society.

“I am pleased that we investing at record levels in Auckland while delivering on the responsible and prudent financial management that is expected by Auckland’s ratepayers.

“Free public transport for under 16s will create the next generation of public transport users who will benefit from the $28 billion we are investing with government in delivering a more efficient and effective transport system in Auckland.

“Through the Mayor’s 10-year Budget and Annual Budgets we have agreed record levels of investment in Auckland that will deliver a better city, and tangible and positive outcomes for communities across Auckland,” said Ross Clow.

The Mayor’s Annual Budget 2019/20 includes:

• Free public transport for under 16 year olds (5 – 15 year olds) on weekends and public holidays from September 1.
• $5 million council contribution to the City Mission’s HomeGround housing project
• $200,000 continued funding to deal with illegal dumping
• $250,000 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 Annual Budget, as a proposal, is available in full on the Auckland Council website in HTML and PDF formats.

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