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Mayor Phil Goff welcomes investment in Auckland’s future

Auckland Council’s 2018/2019 Annual Report outlines the progress made in the first year of the 10-year Budget, which pledged a $26 billion programme of capital investment to ensure that infrastructure development keeps pace with demand.

Up to 30 June 2019, a record $2 billion of capital was invested by the council, including over $700 million on transport infrastructure and $550 million on water infrastructure.

The overall result was an operating surplus before gains and losses of $791 million.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the Annual Report shows how the council is responding to strong population growth and increased demand for the infrastructure and services Auckland needs to be world-class.

“Transport infrastructure projects now underway, such as the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway, the $60 million Puhinui Station Interchange and the City Rail Link, will help tackle traffic congestion and get more people onto public transport.

“Work on the $1.2 billion Central Interceptor starts this year and will have a dramatic impact on wastewater overflows when complete.

“Our water quality and natural environment targeted rates have enabled significant investment in our environment, bringing forward improvements to the water quality of our beaches by 20 years and helping us address the threats that climate change, kauri dieback and introduced pests pose to our native plant and animal species.

“We are issuing dwelling consents at the highest rate ever—more than 14,000 in the year to June. To put that number in context, we issued more consents in the first six months of 2019 than in any full year from 2006 to 2013.

“In the face of high demand for services we are maintaining a sharp focus on cost savings and efficiencies, with $270 million of benefits already realised and another $430 million forecast.

In addition to the record number of dwelling consents issued, in the past year more than 100 million trips were taken on public transport.

To help respond to Auckland’s population growth and the increased demand for front-line services such as consenting and environmental upgrades, the number of full-time equivalent staff across the Auckland Council Group has been lifted, and is now at 10,806 across council and council-controlled organisations.

The biggest increase for Auckland Council was in Regulatory Services, in response to the record-breaking demand for services including dwelling consents.

Staff were also employed to deliver the environmental improvements enabled by the Natural Environment and Water Quality Targeted rates, as well as other environmental initiatives such as Safeswim.

The council also locked in annual savings of $2 million on ICT consultancy costs by increasing full-time staff numbers to replace consultants and contractors with inhouse staff, and increased staff numbers to improve maintenance programmes.

Strong cash flows from operations limited the reliance on borrowings to fund the capital programme meaning only 22 per cent of capital expenditure needed to be funded from borrowing. Net borrowings increased by $445 million over the year to a total debt of $8.7 billion. At the same time, total assets grew by $1.4 billion to $53 billion.

The solid financial results and prudent financial strategy are recognised by Auckland Council’s credit ratings with S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s remaining at AA and Aa2 respectively, both with a stable outlook.

To find out more on the overview, service performance, local board and financial performance for the Auckland Council Group, refer to the Auckland Council Annual Report 2018/2019 and the Auckland Council Summary Annual Report 2018/2019 available on the council’s website.

© Scoop Media

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