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Auckland City's Annual Report - Mayor

This 1998/1999 Annual Report is based on the budgets and goals set by the previous Auckland City Council.

The new Council elected in October 1998 has had to work within those budgets to shape new priorities for projects and services. Since the election, Council has made a number of changes to the direction and operation of the city, and these will be more fully reflected in next year’s Annual Report.

Seeking a stronger link to goals

A significant area of change is the implementation of recommendations from KPMG and Audit New Zealand reports commissioned by the incoming Council on the budgetary processes and system.

We are aiming to achieve a much stronger link between Auckland City’s services and functions, and our strategic goals. Changes in what next year’s budget delivers will be more closely connected to our strategic goals, with funds allocated accordingly.

This new approach is much more focused on what the city provides residents and ratepayers. The public will have a much better understanding of what the Council does and how much it costs.

We will also start planning for next year’s budget and annual plan six months earlier. This will allow our strategic plan to guide the budget preparation and more time for Council to consider priorities.

Towards more public consultation

A strong desire of the new Council is to open up the budget planning process for more extensive public consultation in the development of our vision and future priorities. A vision forum in November launched this community consultation process, followed by the appointment of a diverse Reference Group of Aucklanders, who have developed a Community Vision.

The process sets a precedent for the development of ongoing partnerships to address issues facing the city. More public consultation will take place on the Strategic Plan with progress being monitored by the Reference Group.

A key element in our community consultation and future vision is an efficient public transport system to reduce congestion. I expect that the release of the Regional Land Transport Strategy will see considerable progress on the development of rapid transit corridors and public transport improvements as we pursue the vision.

Another issue requiring regional co-operation and commitment is Auckland’s continued population growth. The projected doubling of our population in the next 40 years requires detailed planning to ensure it is sustainable and so that our city grows in a way that does not compromise its qualities and character.

Planning for quality of life

I am encouraged by the work of the Regional Growth Forum, and the city’s planning to create liveable communities and a high quality of life for Aucklanders. Vital to our city’s future is the provision of essential physical and social infrastructure.

Council has to provide substantial funding to maintain basic core assets like stormwater drains and roads, as well as meeting a new statutory requirement in 1999/2000 to fully fund depreciation on assets. There is also a key role for Council in planning and working with central government and other agencies to meet our social needs.

As a large and complex organisation with responsibility for leadership and public funds we must be open and efficient. The new Council is working to ensure that as an organisation it is responsive to the needs and desires of people in Auckland City.

I look forward to next year’s annual report demonstrating greater openness, and the community vision guiding our business to ensure a high quality of life for the city’s citizens.

Auckland is a great city and Council has an important role in making it even better. As an organisation I want it to become more user friendly and be one that people have confidence in.

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