Thank you to all those who submitted on the Auckland Council’s Annual Plan. It’s important for elected members to listen to their communities and then advocate, vote and do their very best to deliver on that feedback. By way of background, the Annual Plan is a legislative process that Auckland Council must consult on. It has 2 main components, We request feedback from residents and ratepayers on the regional mayoral initiatives for the year, and secondly on whether local boards have their key priorities and advocacy in line with community views.
Every household was sent a copy of the Annual Plan submission form in the March edition of Our Auckland. In addition to this, Auckland Council put on, or was present at, seventy events around the region where Aucklanders could ‘Have their say’. The Orakei Ward is fortunate to have a resident’s association representing each of its ten suburbs. One of their key objectives is to assist communication between Council and communities. To that end, I asked each residents association if they wished me to speak to their members on the key regional proposals. Those who took me up on my offer were accommodated, with one public meeting in St Heliers hosting over 80 people. Feedback on the annual plan was via email, in writing, verbal and via social media channels. We received double the number of responses on the Annual Plan than last year, which was heartening.
This year, we consulted on more than just the level of rates - we also asked for your views on the relative level of business rates, paying for tourism promotion, housing infrastructure and paying council staff a living wage. Whilst not every Councillor agreed with every aspect of the mayoral initiative, we all supported asking Aucklanders for their views before making a decision.
So what were the results, and were the views within the Orakei Ward shared by those living in other parts of Auckland?
54% of Orakei submitters thought that a 2.5% rates increase was the right level.
18% thought the rates should be raised by 3.5 Those that thought it should be higher preferred that additional funds be spent on transport
27% thought the rates should be raised by no more than 2%.
Regionally 56% supported a 2.5% rates increase. 16% supported higher rates, again with transport being the focus for extra spending
72% thought that business and residential ratepayers should have the same increase
Regionally 65% supported business and residential ratepayers having the same increase.
Paying for tourism promotion
72% thought we should raise a targeted rate on the accommodation sector to pay for tourism promotion.
Regionally 65% supported the proposal.
Paying for housing infrastructure
75% agreed with the initiative for housing developments to include a targeted rate to pay for the infrastructure costs incurred by that development.
Regionally 66% agreed with the initiative
61% of Orakei submitters agreed that Auckland Council should pay a living wage to its employees
Regionally 71% supported the implementation of a living wage policy
Of course there is still much work still to be done before the Annual Budget can finally be adopted, so the next few weeks are packed with meetings for Councillors and the Mayor before final decision making at the Governing Body meeting on 29 June.
As for my vote on the above. Whilst my personal view does not always match the feedback, I did stand on an election platform of listening to locals. The results speak for themselves and those who took the time to feedback, should in my opinion be given the respect of being listened to.