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Shovel-ready Provides Some Help For Auckland Council’s Emergency Budget

Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the reassurance that Auckland Council will receive nearly $100 million under the government’s ‘shovel-ready projects’ for this week’s Emergency Budget.

In a letter to Mayor Goff, ministers Grant Robertson and Phil Twyford assured Auckland Council that they would be able to count $98 million dollars of transport funding towards the council’s Emergency Budget for this year. There is also a commitment for another $98 million; however, these are for projects not currently funded in the Emergency Budget and therefore will not impact on this week’s decision making.

“The $98 million that the government has committed to Auckland Council’s shovel ready-projects will help lower the $750 million hole that we have in our budget for this week,” said Mayor Goff.

“This funding is by no means a silver bullet, but it does mean that we now have a little bit extra to put towards projects that would have otherwise been scaled back or cut.

“The second lot of $98 million for transport and water, also assured by the government, will be beneficial for the city but won’t immediately help our budget this week.

“Any extra money that the city gets from the government helps our COVID-19 recovery and helps ensure we are able to create more jobs and stimulate the economy. This funding is part of the $500 million package announced for Auckland.”

Finance Committee Chair Desley Simpson said, “Whilst the letter is light on detail, I am grateful we now know the quantum of the ask for 20/21 so we can at least build that into our deliberations before decision making on Thursday.”

“On top of the $500 plus million revenue shortfall we are experiencing as a result of COVID-19, we now have a further $220 plus million drought problem to solve. The first $98 million looks to be of immediate definite assistance, the second $98 million looks to cover projects not currently in our Emergency Budget. Both need work by our finance team but at least we have three days to do this in.”

Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby said, “Government’s just-in-time contribution provides a valuable leg-up for Auckland Council, enabling commitment to critical transport and water infrastructure projects and creating several hundred job opportunities for Aucklanders.

“We’re not out of the woods yet but this investment sets us on a somewhat better budget course for this week.”

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