Auckland’s Mayor’s vision for a global city hinges on infrastructure
6/03/17 12:47 PM
Lack of investment in vital infrastructure is holding back Auckland’s ability to stand tall as a global city and manage population growth says Mayor Phil Goff.
Speaking at a Property Council New Zealand breakfast last week, Mr Goff outlined his concerns and solutions for addressing Auckland’s infrastructure woes.
“We are looking at unprecedented population growth in Auckland and our infrastructure is not matching the pace of that growth. We have under invested in infrastructure for the past 30 years.
“We have an airport that attracts 17 million passengers a year, and is growing, but no mass transport from the airport to the CBD. We can’t tolerate this situation.”
The Mayor explained that Central Government and Local Government must share the cost of infrastructure investment at a pace that enables Auckland to absorb rapid population growth.
“Central Government has to enable us to broaden our revenue base,” he said.
The Mayor said that under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project an estimated $24 billion dollars is needed for minimum infrastructure, transport, and services over the next 10 years, but there is a $4 billion-dollar shortfall in funding.
“Auckland Council would need to come up with at least $200 million a year to meet the shortfall. I’m not going to ask ratepayers to shoulder that burden, it’s not viable nor is it equitable.”
Mayor Goff explained that the Council’s resources to fund additional expenditure for infrastructure are limited.
“Aucklanders feel their rates deeply and there is huge resistance to a major increase in rates. Neither rates nor charges will give Auckland Council all the required revenue to borrow and invest in the infrastructure we need.”
Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend, agreed, saying that rates cannot fund the vital infrastructure Auckland needs.
“We understand the predicament Auckland Council is in regarding funding infrastructure. Rates are a limited and extremely blunt way of raising income.
“The property industry continues to have issues with rates and the development contributions system. It is not an effective or sustainable way to fund local government.
“Yes, Central Government should and does make significant financial contributions to individual projects. But that is not sustainable either.”
The problem for the industry Mr Townsend says, is without infrastructure, development cannot happen.
“If we are serious about Auckland becoming a global city we need a partnership between central and local government. They need to develop a range of innovative funding tools beyond rates and individual project funds. To be sustainable those tools should be linked to growth.”
The Mayor echoed this sentiment calling for Central Government, Auckland Council, and the private sector to work together to find out how infrastructure can be funded without diminishing Aucklanders quality of life.
“The New Zealand Government has a vested interest in Auckland growing in a way that makes our city a strong and attractive place to live. For New Zealand to succeed Auckland must succeed,” says Mr Townsend.