A message from the Shore Action team:
Kaipātiki – Have your say today! Consultation on the “Emergency Budget” closes Friday 19 June.
Like most organisations, the Auckland Council has been affected by the recent Covid-19 situation and had a corresponding drop in income. The Council is currently consulting on an Emergency Budget which is proposing massive cuts to its budget by $400 million. It is proposing to do this through significant slash-and-burn cuts to services and ramping up asset sales. This will affect Kaipātiki. The proposal will see a reduction in services such as the maintenance of our parks and facilities, but also our libraries, pools and leisure centres. Any that the council deem to be not well used could be left to deteriorate rather than be maintained properly. Ultimately we may lose some facilities.
Not only will our local facilities be affected but there will be a massive retrograde step backwards in terms of climate change mitigation. Public transport services will be cut. Walking and cycling projects delayed or cancelled.
Councillors are proposing a rates increase of either 2.5% or 3.5%. A 3.5% rates increase will lead to significant cuts in services and renewals, and a substantial increase in asset sales. A 2.5% increase is even worse. Both of these options will lead to significant cuts to all Local Board budgets as well.
What does this mean for Kaipātiki?
This will potentially impact our pest-free and other environment initiatives; funding for our Community Houses and the Kaipātiki Community Facilities Trust; community grants funding and events such as santa parades, movies and music in parks, Chinese New Year Festival, ANZAC Day services; renewal of old playgrounds, bush tracks and buildings, and much, much more.
Shore Action believe that the Auckland Council should be looking at alternatives to the proposed widespread cuts to our community services and be avoiding asset sales. We believe further savings can be made by Council‐Controlled Organisations (CCOs) such as Watercare, Regional Facilities and ATEED, rather than cutting into core Council services. Council top executives could take a pay cut and salaries could be capped. Kaipātiki Local Board members have been advised that Council debt could be increased further than proposed to avoid the cuts, but Councillors have not presented that option to the public. Council ‘glamour’ projects such as spending $72.2m on pedestrianizing Quay Street could be scrapped. What has been presented is not the only option.
Please respond to the consultation here: www.akhaveyoursay.nz/emergency-budget
We ask that you support a 3.5% rates increase, because anything else would severely affect our community at a time when people need support and groups need funding.
We also suggest that you consider the following points when responding to question 4:
- Say No to reductions in pest control programmes, delayed track upgrades for kauri dieback, cuts to kauri dieback research and environmental services staff redundancies
- Say No to a 28% reduction in library budgets – a one‐third reductions in collections, which will result in reduced services, staff redundancies and less opening hours
- Keep walking and cycling projects, free park and ride, safety improvements on roads and footpaths
- Keep Climate Change actions such as decarbonising the Council vehicle fleet, electric buses and replacing gas boilers at swimming pools
- Keep regional community grants for the environment and arts
- Keep funding for renewing park equipment, such as playgrounds, furniture, and paths. Don’t allow them to deteriorate until they are no longer usable
- Continue projects that address flooding and pollution on our beaches, such as at Little Shoal Bay
- Retain Local Board discretionary funding at current levels for our community
- Say No to a major delay in replacing the Birkenhead Grandstand with a multi-sport facility (pushed out to 2033)
- Oppose the wholesale sell off of Council land and assets.