The government's budget focuses on investing where it rightly should. For Auckland the investments in schools, health, social and emergency housing, innovation as well as employment are exactly what the government needs to do.
And I think our Council should be taking notes. In this budget the government freed up $480 million and diverted it to priority areas of investment. It’s time Auckland Council took a similar approach to funding critical infrastructure including transport and housing.
Although, as the largest holder of land in Auckland the Government is not freeing it up fast enough for housing. The extra $100 million for Crown land will help but I’m looking for bigger bang for our buck. Last budget’s allocation of $52 million closed the deal on four sites with a combined capacity of only 940 homes. That’s not good enough.
However, even with this land freed up, we’ll still struggle unless we speed up consenting, and work with developers to get infrastructure in faster, as well as providing more affordable homes.
Labour and Phil Goff don’t understand - just throwing money at an issue like Auckland housing or stopping foreigners coming here won’t solve it. Globally cities are growing fast, many at higher rates than ours and we shouldn’t opt out just because Auckland Council can’t keep up.
Critics are saying this budget doesn’t do enough for Auckland. I say we shouldn’t be relying on government to do council’s job. If that’s our way of thinking, why not get rid of council altogether and hand the reigns over? Council needs to get its act together, deliver a more focused investment programme for Auckland, free up land, speed up consents and get critical infrastructure in place faster. That can and will happen under my leadership.
1. Establish an Independent Budget Office to ensure wise decisions on how billions of Aucklanders' money is invested
2. Open the books in an accessible way so everyone can understand how council is spending their money right throughout its organisations
3. User-friendly Mayor's Report Cards will show key measurements and progress in priority policy areas like housing and transport, every 6 months as a start
Goff's only contribution is to say we need to be more like Len Brown and spend, spend, spend. Remind me again how Goff is different to the failed Brown: oh, that's right, he wants to spend even more.