Annual budget consultation document

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TAHUA A-TAU
ANNUAL BUDGET CONSULTATION DOCUMENT

Help guide Auckland's direction for 2016/2017

Ngā kōrero mō tēnei pukapuka
About this document

Once every three years, councils are required to adopt a long-term plan (10-year budget), and in the intervening years an annual plan, otherwise known as an annual budget. Each year our budget sets rates for the year and includes a Local Board Agreement for each of our 21 local boards.

This consultation document seeks your input to help us develop our annual budget for 2016/2017, which will cover the second year of the current 10-year budget.

Parts 1 and 2 of this document provide information about our plans for 2016/2017 as set out in our 10-year budget. Parts 3, 4 and 5 seek your feedback on some potential changes to our plans. Part 6 lets you know how and when you can have your say on these changes.

We would like your feedback on:

  1. Some possible changes to our rating policies and therefore your rates. These policies don't determine the total amount of rates we need to collect, but rather, how rates are shared across different groups of ratepayers.
  2. A range of issues relating to your local area.

Whakapuakina ō whakaaro
Have your say

Consultation on our annual budget 2016/2017 closes at 4pm, 24 March 2016.

For more information, including the supporting information for this consultation document, you can:

Final decisions will be made by June 2016 and will be available on shapeauckland.co.nz in July.

Rārangi Kōrero
Contents

Wāhanga 1: Kupu Whakataki
Part 1: Introduction

Background

Auckland is the fastest growing region in New Zealand. The population is expected to reach 2.2 million in the next three decades.

More people want to live and work here than anywhere else in the country. Our economy is booming - GDP grew at 3.7 per cent in 2014 and 37,000 new jobs were created. To manage that growth, we have to ensure our services, infrastructure and facilities can cope with the added demand.

Managing our finances

Following feedback from more than 27,000 Aucklanders, last year we settled on our 10-year budget that will see the biggest investment in Auckland over the next ten years than in any previous decade: $18.7 billion. This includes investment in local community projects such as upgrading libraries and sports fields, along with major roading and public transport upgrades to help get the whole region moving.

Our 10-year budget is about balancing the need for investment with affordability. We have kept rates increases to a minimum by containing our core costs and achieving over $200 million per annum of efficiency gains so far.

Our strong credit ratings of AA from Standard & Poor's and Aa2 from Moody's Investors Service have both been recently confirmed.

Fixing Auckland's Transport

The feedback on our 10-year budget indicated that a majority of Aucklanders wanted to see more progress with transport. Discussions with central government are now well underway on the long-term solution to Auckland's transport problems. In the meantime, to address our most urgent transport priorities, we introduced an Interim Transport Levy for three years, which now enables us to invest an additional $523 million in transport over that period across Auckland.

We decided that the simplest and fairest way to charge this interim levy was as a fixed charge of $114 a year for all households and $183 a year for all businesses. This has enabled us to get on with delivering initiatives such as:

Making the most of our assets

When we decided on our 10-year budget, we wanted to ensure that ratepayers are getting the best value from the large portfolio of council-owned assets. We engaged EY (Ernst & Young) and Cameron Partners to look at all the assets and identify opportunities to enhance this value.

These reports are now available to view in the Technical publications and research section of our website.

We are already progressing work on some of the more operation-focused opportunities, while the discussion on our assets is just beginning. We do not currently have any proposals to change our ownership or control of Ports of Auckland or our shares in Auckland Airport, and we will undertake full public consultation on any proposed changes before making decisions.

While we continue work on these longer-term issues, we also need to get on with delivering our current plans. For 2016/2017, this means delivering year two of our 10-year budget. That is the focus of this document.

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Wāhanga 2: Tā mātou tahua mō 2016/2017
Part 2: Our budget for 2016/2017

Responding to growth

Responding to Auckland's rapidly growing population is the biggest driver of our investment plans and financial projections for 2016/2017.

Figure 1 shows that more people create the need for more houses and infrastructure assets such as public transport, roads, parks and wastewater. More infrastructure assets in turn mean higher council debt and rising ownership costs such as interest and maintenance.

Combined with the additional cost of providing day-to-day services for more people, these rising ownership pressures are increasing the council's total operating costs faster than the rate of inflation. While efficiency gains and higher growth-related revenue are helping, rates increases higher than the rate of inflation are necessary if Auckland is to continue to invest in response to this rapid growth.

Figure 1: Understanding Auckland's growth and how we're going to pay for it

Figure 1, infographic, text description is after this image

Figure 1 text description

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Our investment

Our planned investment for 2016/2017 builds on our significant investment in new assets for Auckland over the past five years, including:

For 2016/2017, our 10-year budget sets out a further $1.2 billion of investment in new assets as well as $700 million to look after existing ones. Aucklanders will see this investment occur across the region and in a wide range of council services. This investment will also range from large projects spanning multiple years, such as the City Rail Link and the AMETI, through to local projects such as upgrades to community centres, libraries and sports fields.

Figure 2 lists some of the investment highlights for 2016/2017.

Figure 2: Auckland Council delivering in 2016/2017

Figure 2, infographic, text description is after this image

Figure 2 text description

The 2016/2017 programme continues to address the challenges of growth and improving our transport infrastructure. Aucklanders will continue to see progress as we deliver projects such as:

North Auckland

West Auckland

CBD/East Auckland

South Auckland

Region-wide

The following pages provide some further information about some of the key projects we will be progressing across the region in 2016/2017.

(Text description ends)

Albany Stadium Pool

We are building a new recreational swimming pool near QBE Stadium to cater for the growing population in north Auckland. With a focus on fun and recreation, this facility will have something for all ages. A zero-depth splash pad will provide toddlers with their first aquatic experience with exciting splash and spray water toys, while the shallow pools will include slides, water cannons and a large play structure for children to develop confidence in the water. For more confident children and adults the leisure pool can be set up for an array of water activities and structured lane swimming, and will have a permanent climbing wall in the deep end.

Ōtāhuhu Bus-Train Interchange

We are building a new bus-train interchange at the Ōtāhuhu railway station to provide better connected and more frequent public transport services. This modern, high-quality facility will feature architecture reflecting the local and historical context. Separate paths for buses, trains, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles will improve safety, while covered bus platforms, cycle storage racks and dedicated passenger drop-off zone will make using public transport easier and more enjoyable.

City Rail Link

Work has now begun on the City Rail Link (CRL), which will include a new underground rail line and two new underground train stations in the city centre. By connecting up the existing rail lines we will be able to provide more frequent trains with more direct services to the city centre. It will enable trains to run every 10 minutes at peak times for most stations, carrying up to 30,000 people an hour.

The CRL has transport benefits for large parts of Auckland, including road users, as making public transport (as one network) a better travel choice will ease pressure on roads for those who need to use them.

Without the CRL, the bus network will be over capacity, creating major traffic problems. For example, more than 250 buses an hour will be needed on Symonds Street, and traffic speeds in the city centre would drop to 7km/h by 2021, 5km/h by 2041. Rail users will see:

Westhaven Marine Village

We are building a hub for businesses in the marine industry, right in the heart of the country's biggest marina. The Westhaven Marine Village will provide purpose-built accommodation for marine businesses such as chandlers, brokerages, and other specialist services. The total development will encompass 9400 square metres of space that will include shop fronts, office space, and versatile areas to suit practical industry requirements, as well as further dining options. It will be fronted by the Westhaven Promenade, also making it a place to stop, rest, and enjoy a cold drink or bite to eat.

Westgate Town Centre

Auckland Council and New Zealand Retail Property Group are building the new Westgate regional town centre in the western part of Auckland. This new centre's civic heart will include a new 3500m2 library featuring a unique children's reading and storytelling 'cocoon' space, community rooms, a caf� and Citizens' Advice Bureau. The large civic space will be a pedestrian-friendly, slow-speed zone or shared space. It will also be a place for people to gather and relax with family and friends.

Sports field redevelopment

Auckland sportspeople can spend more time playing, thanks to Auckland Council's $43 million investment in developing the region's sports fields over the last three years. By developing new fields, improving drainage, installing floodlights, sand carpets and artificial turf we have increased capacity by 773 playing hours a week.

But there is still work to do. Over the next three years we will be upgrading toilets and changing rooms at 10 sports parks, creating three new hockey turfs and several new or upgraded netball courts. We will add a further 526 playing hours a week to our sports field network by providing for:

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Paying for this investment

To pay for continued investment in Auckland (including the $1.2 billion investment in new assets for 2016/2017) our current plan would see us:

We consider this increase in debt to be appropriate on the basis that it is primarily driven by investment in new assets with long, useful lives. The benefits from this expenditure will be spread over time, and using debt financing means that costs will be shared with those people who will benefit from the assets in the future.

Our financial strategy sets limits on the council's borrowing, to maintain debt at a sustainable level. While total group debt is projected to reach $11.6 billion by 2025, it will still remain at a prudent level in comparison to our income. This prudent approach to debt is a key reason why we have a AA Standard & Poor's credit rating - the highest in New Zealand apart from central government. None of the issues we are seeking feedback on in this document have any implications for our financial strategy.

Figure 3: Key prudential ratio: interest to revenue

Figure 3, graph, text description is after this image

Figure 3 text description

  2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 2024/25
Limit 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0% 15.0%
Target 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0% 12.0%
Forecast 11.3% 11.6% 12.0% 12.0% 11.8% 11.8% 11.9% 11.9% 11.7% 11.3%

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Day-to-day service delivery

For 2016/2017, our 10-year budget sets out an operating budget of $3.7 billion. This supports our investment programme and pays for a wide range of day-to-day services such as maintaining roads, collecting rubbish and running libraries. While this is a large budget, it reflects the high cost of running the largest council in Australasia, and providing all the services that Aucklanders expect and value.

Some key examples of these costs include:

In 2016/2017, the council must also cover the costs of holding an election with 1,054,619 registered voters, and putting in place the Auckland Unitary Plan - the single rulebook for development in Auckland.

To minimise the impact of rising operating costs on rates, we have been working hard over the past five years to contain core costs and achieve efficiency gains of over $200 million per annum so far. Over the same period we added a city the size of Tauranga to our population. Figure 4 shows that the council's core operating costs from 2010 to 2015 (as reported in our audited accounts) on a per capita basis are still well below the level of 2009 - immediately prior to amalgamation.

Figure 5 shows further information about our budget for next year.

Figure 4: Core council expenditure per capita

Figure 4, graph, text description is after this image

Figure 4 text description

 

 

Operating expenditure
excluding interest and depreciation

Population

Operating expenditure excluding interest,
depreciation and non-cash adjustments

2009 level

Former councils

2008

1,857

1,405,500

1,321

1,494

 

2009

2,124

1,421,700

1,494

1,494

 

2010

2,357

1,439,600

1,637

1,494

Actual results

2011

2,151

1,459,600

1,473

1,494

 

2012

2,114

1,476,500

1,432

1,494

 

2013

2,004

1,493,200

1,342

1,494

 

2014

2,058

1,526,900

1,348

1,494

 

2015

2,173

1,570,500

1,383

1,494

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Figure 5: 2016/2017 budget at a glance

Figure 5, infographic, text description is after this image

Figure 5 text description

Area of spend Capital spend 2016/2017 Operating spend 2016/2017 How operating costs are funded Rates per $100 What will be delivered Key performance indicators
Transport $721 million $929 million Rates: 59%

Other, including fees and charges: 41%

$37
  • building and maintaining all local and main arterial roads
  • footpaths, cycle paths, bridges, carparks, culverts etc
  • providing public transport services - trains, buses, ferries
  • invest in rail, bus stations and ferry infrastructure
  • transport safety, education and enforcement
  • continued work on key infrastructure projects, including City Rail Link and AMETI
  • year 2 of the accelerated transport programme, which included an additional $523m capital expenditure over three years funded by the interim transport levy.
  • increase public transport boardings to over 89 million trips, improve punctuality to 93% and customer satisfaction to 84%
  • maintain optimum travel time on at least 85% of key freight routes
  • grow annual number of cycling trips on Auckland Transport's designated routes to 1.2 million per year.
Parks, Community and Lifestyle $210 million $405 million Rates: 85%

Other, including fees and charges: 15%

$26
  • regional and local parks
  • libraries, community facilities, community services and grants
  • arts and cultural facilities, activities and community events
  • swimming pools and recreation centres.
  • maintain and increase overall service levels for our local and regional parks to continue to enjoy high visitor numbers
  • significant investment in sportsfields to improve satisfaction of the provision and quality to 75%
  • grow over 60,000 native plants in the Botanic gardens for revegatation programmes
  • 20 sites of significance on Tupuna Maunga with mitigation measures to improve or maintain their condition.
Environmental Management and Regulation $92 million $339 million Rates: 59%

Other, including fees and charges: 41%

$17
  • building and maintaining the stormwater network
  • improving the quality of water in streams and harbours
  • waste collection, including recycling and reducing waste to landfill
  • protecting biodiversity
  • undertaking regulatory activities such as resource and building consents, dog control, food licensing and swimming pool inspections.
  • ensure no more than 1 in 1000 properties connected to our stormwater system is flooded per year
  • have three resource recovery facilities operational
  • establish 8 hectares of new forest or wetland habitats per year
  • process 100% of building and non-notified resource consents within 20 working days
  • 30% of catchments have key source of contaminants identified and mitigated.
Auckland Development $125 million $171 million Rates: 67%

Other, including fees and charges: 33%

$10
  • Unitary Plan and local plans, policy development, waterfront development, town centre development, property management and development
  • enabling housing development through existing and future spatial priority areas.
  • creating a vibrant Waterfront that attracts over 73% of Aucklanders to the Waterfront each year
  • increase the proportion of residents who are proud of the way their local area looks and feels from 64% in 2010 to 90% in 2040.
Economic and Cultural Development $41 million $169 million Rates: 62%

Other, including fees and charges: 38%

$6
  • supporting and growing Auckland's economy through major events such as NRL Auckland Nines, Pasifika Festival Auckland and V8 Supercars
  • working with business sector to grow jobs
  • managing major attractions, venues and sports stadiums.
  • major events contributing $86m in 2016/17 towards the regional GDP
  • grow visitors to Auckland Zoo and Art Gallery to 1.17 million visitors per year and maintain a 90% customer satisfaction level
  • host 825 public art performances through Auckland Live � host 775 commercial events and 970 community events at our stadiums.
Governance and Support $283 million $469 million Rates: 9%

Other, including fees and charges: 91%

$4
  • mayor, councillor and local board support and meeting processes
  • corporate functions such as finance, legal, communications and human resources
  • Auckland Council Investments Ltd, including Ports of Auckland
  • grants to Auckland War Memorial Museum, MoTAT and the Auckland Regional Facilities and Amenities.
  • reducing corporate costs through an ongoing efficiency programme to achieve annual savings of $243 million by end of 2017
  • deliver a return on equity of 7.4% on major investments.
Water Supply and Wastewater $441 million $324 million Rates: 0%

Other, including fees and charges: 100%

$0
  • building and maintaining the network of pipes, dams, treatment plants, pumps required to provide a high standard of drinking water and treating wastewater
  • continue to work on the delivery of major projects such as the Central Interceptor wastewater project to reduce wastewater overflows and the Waikato second water supply pipeline consenting application to cater for Auckland's future growth.
  • maintain 100% compliance with Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand
  • less than 10 wastewater system overflows per 1000 connections in dry weather conditions.

(Text description ends)

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Wāhanga 3: Ō rēti
Part 3: Your rates

Calculating your rates

Rates support our investment in Auckland and also help pay for the hundreds of essential day-to-day services the council provides. These include things like park maintenance, civil defence, animal management, upkeep of sports fields, cleaning up graffiti, pollution response, pest management and much more.

The 2016/2017 overall rates increase of 3.2 per cent set out in our 10-year Budget (LTP) was determined by the council's proposed spending levels and projected non-rates revenue for the year. If council spending is reduced (or non-rates revenue increased) then this overall rates increase can be lowered.

Calculating the share of rates that each household and business property pays involves a number of factors. The factors that make the most difference are property value and ratepayer category - e.g. residential, business or farm/lifestyle. The council's rating policies can change how rates are spread across individual properties. While we try hard to make these policies as fair as possible, rating systems are not perfect and there are a wide range of views about which policies are the fairest.

In recent years property revaluation and the transition to a single rating system across Auckland have led to wide variations in the rates increases that individual businesses and households pay. If we made no changes to our rating policy for 2016/2017, then for the first time since amalgamation all ratepayers would have the same rates increases. Specifically, all households would have a 3.5 per cent rates increase and all businesses would have a 2.5 per cent rates increase [note 1].

Have your say

We consider that the single rating system now in place for Auckland is fair and appropriate. However, given the range of differing views about which polices are the fairest, we are interested in hearing your views about whether we should change some of our policies.

The key rating issues we want your feedback on this year relate to:

  1. The fixed charge portion of rates, known as the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC).
  2. The Interim Transport Levy amount paid by businesses versus the amount paid by all other ratepayers and the amount businesses pay for the Interim Transport Levy in relation to their property value.
  3. The rates paid by farm/lifestyle properties over 50 hectares.
  4. Reducing the rates collected from Māori land in Auckland to reflect restrictions on its use.

1.   Fixed charge (Uniform Annual General Charge or UAGC)

Last year we received over 14,000 feedback points in response to a question on the level of the UAGC. The highest amount of feedback (49 per cent) supported our current rating policy, with a fixed charge of $397 in 2016/2017.

This year we are seeking your views on whether or not it would be fairer to change this fixed charge within the range of $350 to $650. Figure 6 shows the total general rates for different valued properties for different fixed charge options. For example, for a $500,000 property, decreasing the fixed charge would reduce the general rates for that property, while increasing the fixed charge would increase that property's rates. The opposite applies for a $1million property.

Figure 6: Fixed charge (UAGC) options

Figure 6, graph, text description is after this image

Figure 6 text description

Fixed charge (UAGC) options $500,000 $750,000 $1,000,000
$350 $1663 $2319 $2975
$397 $1676 $2315 $2954
$450 $1691 $2311 $2931
$550 $1719 $2303 $2887
$650 $1747 $2295 $2843

(Text description ends)

If the UAGC stays at $397 then all residential ratepayers will have the same rates increase. If it is raised to $650 then around 84,000 ratepayers with higher value properties will have rates decreases and around 135,000 lower value properties will have increases of more than 10 per cent.

If you want to see how the different options would affect the rates you pay for your property, check out our online rates calculator at shapeauckland.co.nz. For more information on this issue please see section 2.1 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Feedback Question:

What is your opinion on the fixed charge portion of rates, known as the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)?

If changed, what should the fixed charge be, within the range of $350 to $650?

See question 1a and 1b on the feedback form.

Figure 7: Understanding the fixed charge (UAGC)

Figure 7, infographic, text description is after this image
Figure 7 part 2, infographic, text description is after this image

Figure 7 text description

The two parts of your rates

Your general rates are made up of two parts:

The figure below shows how these two parts combine to make up the total general rates paid by different value properties.

  $500,000
(Property value)
$750,000
(Property value)
$1,000,000
(Property value)
Fixed charge (UAGC)
(Current policy)
$397 $397 $397
Variable charge
(based on capital value)
$1279 $1918 $2557
Total General Rates $1676 $2315 $2954
What does changing the fixed charge mean?

Increasing the fixed charges does not necessarily mean that you pay will more rates.

As illustrated by the figure below, changing the amount of the fixed charge does not change the amount of total rates that the council collects. Instead, it just changes the amount of rates the council will collect using the variable charge, and therefore changes the rates paid by different valued properties.

If it is a low fixed charge and higher variable charge or a high fixed charge and a lower variable charge still equates to the same amount of rates revenue.

What is the fairest level of the fixed charge

Changing the fixed charge would change the total rates paid by higher value properties compared to lower value properties.

There are two different views on the fairest way to charge rates:

  1. A lower fixed charge is fairer because the owners of lower value properties tend to have less ability to pay and this approach reduces the rates on lower value properties. This approach shifts the balance in favour of lower value properties - higher value properties will pay relatively higher rates. This will result in more rates being collected from parts of the city where incomes are higher.
  2. A higher fixed charge is fairer because all households have same access to services, regardless of their property value. This approach shifts the balance in favour of higher value properties - lower value properties will pay relatively higher rates. This will result in more rates being collected from parts of the city where incomes are lower.

(Text description ends)

2.   Interim Transport Levy

Through the 10-year budget process, we received strong feedback telling us that Aucklanders want to see urgent action on transport issues to help get the region moving. To enable this, the council agreed to an accelerated transport programme that includes extra investment of $523 million for three years. This would be funded through a combination of New Zealand Transport Agency funding, council debt and a three-year Interim Transport Levy (ITL).

We want your views on two aspects on how we charge the ITL for the next two years:

What is a fair share of the ITL to be paid by businesses?

In 2014, 88 per cent of Auckland businesses employed five or less people. Currently all business properties will pay an ITL of $183 each year for the next two years. After adjusting for tax, this is equivalent to the $114 that all residential ratepayers will pay. This is a different approach to that used for charging general rates. With general rates, business properties pay higher charges for the same value property even after adjusting for tax. This is in part because they place more demand on transport services than other properties.

The council is seeking feedback on an option to increase the share of ITL revenue raised from business in line with the proportion of general rates collected from business. This would mean that the business ITL charge would increase to $407, and the residential and farm/lifestyle charge would decrease to $90.

What is the fairest way to charge the ITL to individual businesses?

Currently all business properties pay the same fixed ITL amount. This means that each business makes an equal contribution to funding the transport programme regardless of its size and scale.

The council is considering an option of charging the ITL to businesses based on the total capital value of their property [note 2]. This would better align the ITL charge with the demand that businesses generate on the transport network. Large businesses, such as office blocks and factories, tend to generate more vehicle trips and heavy vehicle movements, placing more stress on the transport network than small businesses. Charging the ITL on property values would mean that businesses with higher property values will pay more than ones with lower property values.

How businesses are charged the ITL will not affect residential or farm/lifestyle ratepayers, or generate more money for the council, it will just change the share of the ITL that individual businesses pay.

Interim Transport Levy options

The impact on business ratepayers of moving to an ITL charged on property value would depend on the share of total ITL revenue collected from business (as discussed above). Taking these two issues together, there are four possible scenarios for the business ITL, as outlined in the table below.

 Method of charging ITL to businesses (Question 2b)

Share of ITL paid by businesses (Question 2a): Current policy

Share of ITL paid by businesses (Question 2a): Alternative option

Fixed Charge

Current policy - All businesses pay a fixed charge of $183 per year and residential pay $114. Scenario 1 - All businesses pay a fixed charge of $407 per year (a $224 increase), while each residential ratepayer pays $24 less per year.

This would reduce the overall average rates increase for residential ratepayers by 0.9 per cent and increase it for businesses by 2.3 per cent.

Based on property value

Scenario 2 - The total amount of ITL collected from businesses stays the same, but the charge is shared among businesses based on their property value. This would mean that businesses with high-value properties would pay more, and those low-value properties would pay less. Under this scenario 44,800 businesses (79 per cent) would pay less than the current ITL of $183, 11,800 businesses (21 per cent) would pay more and no change to residential. Scenario 3 - The total amount of ITL collected from businesses increases, and the ITL is shared among businesses based on their property value. This would mean some businesses with high-value properties would pay more, and each residential ratepayer would pay $24 less per year. Under this scenario 29,600 businesses (52 per cent) would pay less than the current ITL and 27,000 businesses (48 per cent) would pay more.

This would reduce the overall average rates increase for residential ratepayers by 0.9 per cent and increase it for businesses by 2.3 per cent. The impact for individual businesses will vary depending on their property value.

Figure 8 shows the business ITL for properties of different values under each of the four scenarios.

Figure 8: Business ITL for properties of different values

Figure 8, graph, text description is after this image

Figure 8 text description

  $500,000

Lower Property Value

$1,500,000

Medium Property Value

$10,000,000

Higher Property Value

Current policy $183 $183 $183
Scenario 1 $407 $407 $407
Scenario 2 $67 $202 $1349
Scenario 3 $150 $450 $3001

(Text description ends)

Please visit our online rates calculator at shapeauckland.co.nz to see how changes to the ITL would affect the rates you pay for your business property. For more information on this issue please see section 2.2 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Feedback Question:

What is your opinion on the Interim Transport Levy amount paid by businesses versus the amount paid by all other ratepayers?

What is your opinion on the amount businesses pay for the Interim Transport Levy in relation to their property value?

See questions 2a and 2b on the feedback form.

3.   Farm and lifestyle rates

The council is seeking feedback on an option of reducing rates on large farm/lifestyle properties. Currently all farm/lifestyle properties (regardless of size) pay a general rate that is 80 per cent of the general rate charged to urban residential properties of the same capital value.

We are seeking feedback on an option to reduce this to 60 per cent for farm/lifestyle properties over 50 hectares. This would reduce rates for these properties by an average of about $1200 each year and increase the rates for all other non-business ratepayers by $3.70 per year.

Farm/lifestyle properties over 50 hectares usually only have one household and are often located far from council services and facilities. Their high property values mean that they pay on average more than twice the rates of the average urban household. On the other hand, these properties typically support large businesses that are able to:

Some large farms and lifestyle properties are used as a single property but are technically comprised of multiple properties. The council is therefore also considering an option to introduce a rates remission scheme that will enable these properties to pay rates based on the combined size of the property. This could increase the rates for all other non-business ratepayers by less than 30 cents per year.

For more information on this issue please see section 2.3 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Feedback question:

What is your opinion on the rates paid by farm/lifestyle properties over 50 hectares?

See question 3 on the feedback form.

4.   Māori land rates

The council is proposing some amendments to its rates remission and postponement policies to better reflect the limitations on the use and sale of Māori land. These changes would reduce the total rates collected from Māori land in Auckland and increase the rates for all other ratepayers by less than 25 cents per year.

Auckland Council recognises that Māori land has significant barriers to development and use such as:

The Valuer-General allows a small adjustment to the value of Māori freehold land for rating purposes, to reflect some of these impediments.

The council considers that this adjustment may not fully capture the differences between these properties and general land.

For more information on this proposal please see section 2.4 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Feedback question:

What is your opinion on reducing the rates collected from Māori land in Auckland to reflect restrictions on its use?  See question 4 on the feedback form.

Other potential changes to rates

Business Improvement District rates

The council is proposing five changes to Business Improvement District (BID) targeted rates at the request of the following business associations:

BIDs support improvements to local business areas and help attract new business and customers.

For full details of all the proposed BID targeted rates for 2016/2017 please see section 2.5 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Financing septic tank replacements and upgrades

The council is proposing to run a small pilot programme to encourage homeowners around west coast lagoons (Piha, Te Henga and Karekare) and Little Oneroa (Waiheke Island) to replace or upgrade their onsite wastewater systems (eg septic tanks). The scheme will provide financial assistance repaid by a targeted rate charged to participating homeowners.

For more information on this proposal please see section 2.7 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Rural Franklin waste management recycling targeted rate

The council is proposing to introduce a fortnightly kerbside fully commingled recycling collection in rural Franklin from 1 November 2016. This will be funded by a new targeted rate of $48.54 per service

This brings forward the timing for introduction of the service by eight months as the previous transfer station drop off arrangements are no longer available.

For more information on this proposal please see section 2.8 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

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Wāhanga 4: Ngā kaupapamatua kei tō rohe
Part 4: Priorities in your local area

This section sets out the key local priorities for each local board area and any changes we are thinking of making for 2016/2017. We are seeking your feedback on whether we have got these priorities right.

For more information about the priorities for your local area, please see section 4 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Local Board Key priorities for 2016/2017
Albert-Eden

 

  • Renew existing assets including local and sports parks ($1.8 million)
  • Continue to deliver SH20 Waterview Connection mitigation works, (substantially funded by NZTA)
    • Improvements to Waterview reserves
    • State Highway 16/20 park restoration
    • Development of Phyllis reserve
  • Continue the development of the western end of Chamberlain Park for recreational purposes
  • Complete the upgrade of the Mt Albert Town Centre by bringing forward $1.5 million of funding
  • Increase our local community grants fund from $45,000 to $75,000
Devonport-Takapuna
  • Renew existing assets, including significant renewal of coastal assets
  • Greenway and walkway development
  • Development of Barry's Point Reserve
  • Becroft park sand carpet renewal
Franklin
  • Work collaboratively with the community to develop a greenways plan
  • Advocate strongly for coastal erosion to be addressed as a regional issue
  • Support volunteers who wish to work on projects in our local parks and reserves
Great Barrier
  • Commence the development of a cemeteries in the north  and south of the island
  • Financial support for the purchase and management of Glenfern Sanctuary
  • Reduce herbicide use and move to mechanical management methods
Henderson-Massey
  • Develop a multi-purpose facility (community centre and library combined) in Westgate
  • Develop the SH16/20 local park (Westgate skate park)
  • Community partnership contracts, including governance work with community groups
Hibiscus & Bays
  • Develop Greenways Plans
  • Commence implementation of the Mairangi Bay Reserves Management Plan
  • Plan for enhancement of 36 Hibiscus Coast Highway as a reserve
  • Plan and deliver a new toilet at Sherwood Reserve
  • Playground and local park development, paths, landscaping, seating and signage at Long Bay Reserves and Metropark West
  • Plan for park development, paths, landscaping, seating and signage at Beechwood Drive, Hatfields Beach
  • Implement key actions from Silverdale, Orewa and Browns Bay Town Centre Plans
Howick
  • Develop the master plan for Barry Curtis Park
  • Greenways, walkway and cycleway paths
  • Undertake a stock take of all community facilities in the area
  • Continue to support local services and infrastructure in Flat Bush such as roads, footpaths, stormwater, parks and facilities, to align with growth in this area
  • Continue coastal erosion and sand replenishment of our beaches and advocate for a regional fund for coastal erosion
Kaipātiki 
  • Implement the Kaipatiki Connections Network Plan
  • Provide seed funding to our local community, arts and sports groups to help them improve their facilities
  • Enhance the replacement of assets due for renewal, so that they may be improved to best meet the community's needs
  • Develop a pest free Kaipatiki strategy in partnership with our community environmental groups
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu
  • Renew existing assets including renewals to local and sports parks
  • Toilets and changing room renewals e.g. Miami Street Park
  • Develop priority greenways, or safe networks of cycleways and walkways
  • Volunteers in parks
  • CCTV and town centre safety initiatives
Manurewa
  • Progress the Manurewa Town Centre revitalisation project
  • Invest in Nathan Homestead as a heritage community arts facility
  • Maintain and improve our community and sports facilities
Maungakiekie-Tāmaki
  • Partnership funding to enable community groups to achieve community outcomes
  • An initiative to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags
  • A public art support and promotion initiative
  • Advocate for a review of levels of service of community centres and halls
  • Advocate to ensure that the Tamaki Redevelopment Company offers a range of quality housing options and improvements to parks, open spaces and community facilities in the area
Orākei
  • Advocate for funds to be brought forward to 2016/2017 for the Meadowbank Community Centre upgrade as it is at capacity and no longer fit for purpose
  • Advocate for the harbourside shared walkway project, identified in the Tamaki Drive Masterplan to improve the overall safety for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
  • Advocate for  the completion of detailed design and consent work for the proposed Pourewa/Selwyn train station to provide better rail access for local residents
  • Advocate for the retention of lease income at The Landing, Okahu Bay for reinvestment into the site to benefit all users.
Ōtara-Papatoetoe

 

  • Advocate strongly for limits on alcohol outlets in residential areas and near schools
  • Develop and improve the local area's sports facilities and parks
  • Complete the earthworks, car-parks and driveways at Colin Dale Motorsport Park
Papakura

 

  • Continue the development of our greenways and walkways
  • Construction of changing sheds at Opaheke Fields
  • Streetscape improvements in the town centre
  • Commence mangrove removal in the Conifer Grove area
Puketāpapa
  • Advocate for the funding of the Pah Homestead marquee project (which is not proceeding) to assist with restoration of the historic Whare in Monte Cecilia Park (as an alternative community facility).
  • Empower the community to deliver events and projects aligned with both diverse community needs and Local Board Plan priorities, shifting focus from sub-regional grants to local strategic partnerships
  • Plan, consult and deliver phase two of the Waikōwhai Coastal boardwalk
  • Give priority to the construction of the Sandringham Road Cycle Route: SH20 overbridge to Wesley Community Centre
  • Review Sunday opening hours at Mt Roskill Library. 
Rodney
  • Transport projects including constructing footpaths
  • Upgrades to the Warkworth Showgrounds
  • Recreational walkways and bike trails
  • Environmental projects including support for community-led environmental initiatives and ecological restoration
  • Introduce a new Business Improvement District (BID) for the Warkworth area to advocate collectively for business and grow the local economy.
Upper Harbour
  • Building a community hub in Albany
  • Completing the Albany Stadium Pool
  • Sportsfield development in Hobsonville Point
Waiheke
  • Progress developing a community swimming pool
  • Establish marine reserves and other protected areas
  • Develop a Matiatia master plan in partnership with our community
  • Support an integrated approach to ecological restoration across the island
  • Development of pensioner and community housing
Waitākere Ranges
  • Continued delivery of the Waitākere Ranges Strategic Weed Management Plan
  • Household information on living in the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area.
  • Further pedestrian improvements and connections between Oratia, Parrs Park and Sunnyvale
  • Increased emphasis on the marine environment
Waitemata
  • Improve the pathways through Western Park and upgrade the Pt Resolution steps to concrete
  • Increase spend on low carbon initiatives including the installation of photovoltaics at Grey Lynn Community Centre
  • Investigate establishing a youth hub in the city centre
  • Install a solar heating solution at Parnell Baths
Whau
  • Seek funding to build a new destination playground in Kelston
  • Neighbourhood developments
  • Parks and community environmental programmes and services

Feedback question:

In your opinion, have we got our priorities right for your local board area in 2016/2017? What do you think we should change?

See question 5a and 5b on the feedback form.

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Wāhanga 5: He aha atu kei te haere?
Part 5: What else is going on?

Budget review

We are not proposing any major new projects, or changes to services we provide compared to what we set out for 2016/2017 in our recently adopted 10-year budget. We will however continue to review our budgets to ensure we continue to deliver the best value for money for ratepayers. This includes reviewing our cost and revenue projections, reviewing assumptions about interest and inflation rates, and reviewing the latest information about the timing of our large construction projects and planned land acquisitions.

This review is likely to result in some budget changes when our final budgets for 2016/2017 are agreed by June. We are aiming to reduce the 3.2 per cent overall average rates increase for 2016/2017, if it is possible to do so while continuing to deliver all our planned services and investments. For more information about our budget review process, see section 1 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Management of volcanic cones

The Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 (the Act) came into effect on 29 August 2014. The Act vested the Crown-owned land in 14 Tūpuna Maunga (ancestral mountains/volcanic cones) in 13 iwi/hapū groups with interests in Auckland (Ngā Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau). The Act also established the Tupuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority (a co-governance body between the council and Ngā Mana Whenua) to administer the Tūpuna Maunga.

The Act requires that the Tūpuna Maunga Authority prepare an Annual Operational Plan to provide a framework in which the council will carry out the routine management of the 14 Tūpuna Maunga, under the direction of the Maunga Authority. This must be prepared and adopted concurrently with the council's annual budget and included in summary form. A summary of the draft Operational Plan 2016/2017 can be found in section 3 of the supporting information for this consultation document.

Other consultation processes

The council regularly seeks public feedback on a wide range of projects, plans and strategies, separate to consultation on its annual budget. Please visit shapeauckland.co.nz to find out about other consultations that may be of interest to you.

One upcoming consultation process relates to potential changes to how we manage our 1412 rental units for older Aucklanders. While we are firmly committed to maintaining this number of units and to the ongoing support of all existing tenants, there are also opportunities to partner with other organisations to deliver better housing outcomes without additional cost to ratepayers.

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Wāhanga 6: Hei whakapuaki i ō whakaaro
Part 6: Having your say

How to have your say

We want to hear your views on our annual budget, so we encourage you to take the time to get involved. The public consultation runs from 15 February to 24 March.

There are a number of ways you can give feedback, depending on what suits you. These include:

Written feedback:

You can contribute feedback online at shapeauckland.co.nz or fill out the attached feedback form and send to the freepost address provided, or email to: annualplan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz 

In person:

Come and talk to us at one of our Have Your Say events. This is an opportunity for you to give feedback in person and be heard by council's decision-makers.

We first ran Have Your Say events as part of the 10-year budget (LTP) consultation in early 2015.

Events held across the region - all local boards will be having at least one event. To find your nearest event, visit shapeauckland.co.nz or call 09 301 0101.

Social media:

Comments made through the following channels will be considered written feedback:

Where to find more information

You can find everything you need to know at shapeauckland.co.nz including the supporting information, an online feedback form and a schedule for Have Your Say events.

Notes

[1] There would be some exceptions for Franklin business ratepayers who are still transitioning to a new rating policy, properties with new additions or extensions, and any specific properties affected by a new or changed targeted rate. The council is also reducing the proportion of rates collected from businesses in equal steps from 32.7 per cent to 25.8 per cent by 2036/2037. This means that residential and farm/lifestyle ratepayers will have slightly higher rates increases each year.

[2] Rural businesses would be charged 90 per cent of the urban business rate for properties that have the same value. This is the same approach used for general rates.

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