Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Mayor Supports Reducing Cuts To Arts And Social Services As Part Of Balanced, Sustainable Budget

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown intends to propose changes to the draft annual budget 2023/24 when he tables the final budget proposal at the Governing Body in early June.

The proposal, which will be discussed and considered by the Governing Body over the next few weeks, will include significant softening of the proposed funding cuts to regional services that Aucklanders value.

Programmes that will receive funding in the proposed 2023/24 budget include Citizens Advice Bureau, homelessness initiatives, the Southern Initiative, regional grants, and funding for regional events, arts, and culture.

“I have listened carefully to public feedback and the views of elected members. There is just about a consensus that Auckland Council should not proceed with all the cuts to social and cultural spending that Council staff proposed to me in December,” Mayor Brown said.

“A number of councillors have been effective and constructive advocates for these services, and I wish to particularly thank them for that input.

“While a substantial reduction in operating expenditure across the Group remains crucial to balancing the budget, which will include some cuts to regional services, I agree that we should not proceed with the cuts that come at the expense of services that are highly valued by local communities,” Mayor Brown said.

Mayor Brown also indicated plans to develop more sustainable, fair, and secure funding arrangements for regional services and organisations in the future.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Some of the proposed reductions will come with conditions, such as a seeking path to independent or more balanced funding. This will avoid a “hard stop” but enable council to focus spending on priority areas.

The Mayor also continues to work constructively with the Government on achieving greater alignment in the provision of social services, and on modernising the legislation relating to regional arts and culture funding.

This work focuses on being more effective in delivering services, working together on joint priorities, clarity of roles, and removing duplication. The mayor will have more to say on this in the coming weeks.

The final decision on funding for regional services needs to be part of a balanced, sustainable budget that includes a mix of levers.

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson supports the Mayor’s position that the proposed funding cuts should be moderated in his final proposal.

"The Mayor and I are both keen supporters of arts and culture and have listened to Aucklanders views on how we can reduce the impact of cuts on the sector. While softening the cuts is important in the short-term, the long-term work we are doing to secure a sustainable, fair funding position is just as important.

“That includes our continued advocacy to central government about provision of social and related services, such as the citizens advice bureaus who contribute a valued service to many Aucklanders,” Deputy Mayor Simpson said.

While the Mayor supports reducing the cuts in the proposal, he reiterates that the Council’s ability to do this depends on a majority of the Governing Body supporting a balanced budget which includes a range of levers, including rates and assets.

“I am working to avoid double-digit rate increases in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, but I need the support of councillors and the public to achieve that,” Mayor Brown said.

Further announcements on the budget proposal can be expected in coming weeks as discussions continue.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More

Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.