Whau Ward Councillor | Tracy Mulholland
Emergency Budget outcomes
At the end of July, the Auckland Council Governing Body made a decision on the rates for the coming year. This budget is an emergency response to the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Auckland Council’s finances.
Councillors worked collaboratively to come to a consensus on council’s spend priorities and where budget cuts can be made. As Whau Councillor and an advocate for projects in the Whau and across Tamaki Makarau, these have not been easy decisions.
I have heard the community saying that they want to keep council services running such as transportation access, libraries, public toilets and repairs to parks and playgrounds.
I have also listened to my local board colleagues; Auckland’s twenty-one local boards were asked for their feedback on the budget, and unanimously resolved to support a 3.5 per cent rates rise.
At the time we consulted with Aucklanders, it was not known that an additional $224 million would need to be found for the city’s water infrastructure to reduce the risk of severe water restrictions, with forecasts of a dry spring and summer. Water is a vital resource and securing supply is a critical to the economic and physical wellbeing of Aucklanders. This additional investment is non-negotiable to ensure this basic service is provided.
Cuts have been made in services and investment in some infrastructure projects has been deferred, reducing spending by hundreds of millions of dollars.
If we can come out of the recession earlier and face better times, we will be in a good position moving forward from the unavoidably hard and painful decisions of this budget.
I continue to be committed to meeting with the community to hear views on matters relating to council.
Seniors Advisory Panel
As the liaison councillor for the Seniors Advisory Panel, I am proud to say that the panel member selection process is now complete, and the work of the panel will start soon. However, in light of the council's constrained economic situation, for the 2020-2021 financial year the panels will operate differently to previous years.
I am strongly of the belief that our seniors’ opinions and views are a vital contribution to council’s decision making. It was with this in mind that I established the Seniors Day High Tea when I was Chair of the Whau Local Board. Hearing what our seniors have to say is one of the aspects of my role which I'm privileged to hold, I very much enjoy.