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Building a resilient, healthier, and prosperous Auckland, together.

New Zealand’s collective response to the Covid-19 crisis has been phenomenal. It has shown what is possible when we come together to support each other, our communities and local businesses. It has also highlighted Auckland’s inequalities but how we have the resources to assist the most vulnerable when we turn our mind to it.

Auckland Council responded quickly to Aucklanders needing a helping hand. We came together to deliver food parcels, re-deployed library staff checked in on more than 15,000 of Auckland’s most vulnerable, we created a dedicated team working alongside iwi, hapū, whānau and marae, financial help has been offered to ratepayers, and we made travel free for essential workers.

I’m particularly proud of how council worked with government and agencies to find accommodation for rough sleepers.

Of the 1,094 motel units secured nationwide, around a third were in Auckland. The support included wrap around services for drug and alcohol, mental health, and social support issues. Government has committed funding until April 2021 and additional housing for the homeless.

One of the agencies council works closely with is Auckland City Mission. They have continued to provide services throughout the crisis. They experienced unprecedented demand for food parcels, distributing 1,200 food parcels per week, instead of 450. They also fast tracked as many people as possible into temporary accommodation.

Looking forward, we need to think about how we best target our resources for recovery.

Auckland isn’t immune to the economic impact of Covid-19. This will impact everyone over the coming months and will be experienced differently across the communities of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Covid-19 could cost council more than half a billion dollars in revenue next year. As a result, our next collective challenge is to balance reducing costs while keeping needed and valued services, creating jobs and building community resilience.

For the first time, council is consulting Aucklanders on an ‘Emergency’ Budget for 2020/2021.

Aucklanders are being asked whether they support the previously agreed 3.5 per cent rates increase, or a lower increase of 2.5 % ($1.82 or $1.35 per week for the average value residential property).

The budget presents tough choices.

Essential services, like water management, will be impacted. Much loved services like libraries and community centres are equally at risk. Progress on environmental restoration and climate action could be stalled, there will be less available to protect our built heritage and less for new projects to improve the safety and accessibility of our neighbourhoods and town centres.

It is a difficult time to ask Aucklanders to pay more to support this work, but our support is needed now more than ever.

Paying rates is in addition to all the ways communities are supported through generous giving and volunteering. However, I think the Covid-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated that local government does and must fulfil a vital role far beyond rubbish, road and regulations.

This is an historic and crucial time for you to provide feedback about what is important to you. Visit akhaveyoursay/emergency-budget and let council know what you think by 19 June.

We all have a part to play in Auckland’s future. I believe that together we can build a resilient, healthier, and prosperous Auckland for everyone.

Ngā mihi,
Pippa Coom

Pippa was elected Councillor on Auckland Council, representing the Waitematā and Gulf ward, in 2019 after having served nine years on the Waitematā Local Board as Deputy Chair and Chair for the 2016 - 2019 term. She is Deputy Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, a member of Local Government NZ’s National Council and is the co-Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum.


Photo supplied.