Phil Goff greets Hindus on Ganesh Chaturthi

Phil Goff greets Hindus on Ganesh Chaturthi

Auckland, August 31, 2019

Phil Goff with Priyanca Radhakrishnan (now Labour List MP) at the Propitiation of Goddess Saraswathi at Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam in Mangere, South Auckland on September 3, 2016 (INL File Photo)

Having just celebrated Lord Krishna’s Birthday, we will in the next two days be celebrating the Birth of Lord Ganesha.

Best wishes and a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all those enjoying this important celebration.

Festivals and cultural events such as this help make Auckland a vibrant and interesting place to live. The diversity of our city enriches us all. 

Auckland’s population continues to grow. The city is booming with labour force participation averaging 71.1% over the year ended June 2019, the highest level since records began, and unemployment at the lowest rate since 2008.

Investments of importance

To help support this growth, we are consenting dwellings at record rates, more than 14,000 in the year to June. To put that in perspective, we have consented more dwellings in the first six months of this year than we did across the 24 months of 2009 and 2010 combined.

We are also making significant investments to clean up our waterways and protect our environment. The $1.1 billion Central Interceptor, due to start construction this year, will dramatically reduce pollution of our beaches and harbours within 10 years, while the water quality and natural environment targeted rates will enable $763 million of investment over 10 years to further restore our environment.

Improving transport

The $28 billion of funding from the government and Council through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project will have a similarly dramatic effect on our transport network.

These include funding new infrastructure such as the Puhinui Station Interchange to deliver rapid transit from the central city to Auckland Airport and its employment precinct, as well as projects to build new busways, increase ferry capacity, fund park and rides and create arterial routes and roads to service housing developments.

While delivering this record investment for the future of our city, I have maintained a sharp focus on cost savings and efficiencies at Auckland Council, which is delivering results for ratepayers.

Focus on Cost Savings

The Council’s 2019/2020 Annual Budget will ensure savings achieved in the current 10-year Budget hit 4% , with estimated cumulative savings of around $1 billion over a decade.

We have made large savings by ensuring that the Council and the Council-Controlled Organisations work together to lower the cost of contracts and procurement by hundreds of millions of dollars and removing the costs of duplication of services and property by the old legacy councils.

We have found smaller but still important savings by cutting power and water use (saving over $5 million last year), and cutting Council’s travel.

In the Mayor’s Office, we have cut millions of dollars in spending, including by no longer using chauffeur-driven cars.  

Impact on Rates

The net result is that rates increases over the last three years have been the lowest of any significant City in New Zealand.

I will continue this focus on cost-savings and efficiencies to ensure that ratepayers get great value for money as we make Auckland a world-class place to live.

Once more, Happy Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganapati Bappa Morya!

Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland. Local Government Elections, including that of Mayors, Councillors, Memberships to Local Boards, District Health Boards, Licencing Trusts and other bodies will be held on October 12, 2019. There are scores of candidates of Indian and South East Asian origin contesting for various posts. Indian Newslink has been providing editorial coverage across all parties and groups. Please write to venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

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