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Solid report card for Auckland Council’s 1st eight months

11 August 2011

Solid report card for Auckland Council’s 1st eight months

Auckland Council’s first eight months means Aucklanders now enjoy a greater range of transport and library services, along with improved waterfront access. The council has also made solid progress on the Auckland Plan, which sets the city’s direction for the next three decades.

Major achievements of the council’s first eight months in operation were announced at today’s Accountability and Performance Committee meeting, which detailed its performance for the year to June 2011*. They include:

• Keeping rates increases for ratepayers to 3.94% (1% below target), whilst maintaining or increasing service levels; this was achieved through identifying $81 million in savings across council operations
• Launching the Auckland (Spatial) Plan - a 30-year strategy which paints a picture of what residents can expect to see in 2041
• Putting the finishing touches on the Wynyard Quarter, which opens a brand new part of the city’s waterfront to Aucklanders
• Monthly public transport usage hits 7 million journeys for the first time in decades
• Residents now can use their library cards at any of the 55 branches across the city
• Sending hundreds of council staff to Christchurch to assist with earthquake relief and contributed $1.5 million to repairing and restoring public spaces in the city
• Twenty-one draft Local Board Plans were adopted, with more than 5,000 submissions received on these
• The Mangere Arts Centre was awarded an excellence award in the Education and Arts category at the 2011 Property Council Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry awards
• Auckland Council’s waste minimisation ‘Conscious Consumer’ programme won the Green Ribbon Award for the Waste Minimisation Category
• Pah Homestead, home to the TSB Bank Wallace Arts centre, received its 100,000th visitor. The homestead also received both an excellence award (heritage and adaptive reuse) and a merit award (education and arts) from the New Zealand Property Council
• The Sandringham Plunket Project also won prestigious third-party design plaudits, as did the Torpedo Bay Beach Enhancement project.

A number of parks’ capital projects were completed in the period including: Tui Glen Reserve public toilets; Realm Esplanade Reserve upgrades; the Maraetai walkway bridge; Orewa Estuary Cycleway; the Oneroa Ocean Road viewing platform; Judges Bay development and sand replenishment; Kohukohunui lookout structure and track upgrade and the Hunua Falls arrival zone and carpark.

In addition, the Aotea Square Redevelopment was recognised with the Public Sector Project of the Year award; the Mangere Arts Centre, the council’s waste minimisation ‘Conscious Consumer’ programme and the Sandringham Plunket Project also won prestigious third-party plaudits, as did the Torpedo Bay Beach Enhancement project.

Committee Chair Councillor Richard Northey says the council’s performance over the past eight months has exceeded his own expectations.

“A massive amount of work has been done to bring together work programmes of eight former councils; combining their operational infrastructure is a complex task and we had to ensure the council continued to function without hiccups throughout,” Mr Northey said.

“The number of high calibre awards and prizes from professional organisations that the council has received recognises the hard work by our staff working across the diverse portfolio we operate in.”

The Mayor says Auckland Council has operated within budget over the past eight months, with an unaudited, preliminary operating surplus of $1.1m after rates intake, which is better than the budgeted deficit.

“From the success of public transport use to the stunning, new public spaces – council staff and elected representatives have been hard at work to deliver more, for less, with no impact on service levels,” said Len Brown.

The final financial performance of the council will be included in its Annual Report to be tabled at the Accountability and Performance committee meeting in September.

*Eight months beginning Nov. 1, 2010.

ENDS

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