Have your say: Greens submission guide to the Auckland Council Emergency Budget


Auckland Council is proposing huge cuts to important environmental and social programmes and services. Now is not the time for cutting services, it is the time to invest in the future! Make your online submission before midnight Friday the 19th June. Council submission form here.

It is important that you use some of your own words when writing your submission. You are welcome to use any of the ideas you find here, and some cut & paste activity is fine. If you do not select one of the options they give you, your voice may not be heard in their results to those questions. We recommend that you answer their questions, and then offer alternative options in your statements.

This document gives an example of a Green perspective on the proposed Emergency budget.


  • 3.5% increase is the absolute minimum rates increase. I am disappointed that a higher rates increase option was not included. 
  • I support a rates increase higher than 3.5% to maintain investment in climate mitigation and social services. 
  • On average, a 3.5% increase is only an extra $1.82 per week. This is less than a cup of coffee. 
  • The 2.5% option creates too many negative impacts to even be considered. 
  • Increased rates are necessary. However, we support rates relief for those who need it. 
  • COVID-19 has not hit all households equally, and our response to rates can be more progressive.


  • Postponement of rates is the least we can do for struggling families & businesses. 
  • Giving people some leniency now will make a big difference to how fast they can bounce back. 
  • There is a danger in this policy that it will just create a giant rates bill in the future for many who will just be starting to recover. To help with this I would like these deferrals to be interest free. 
  • In cases of extreme hardship I believe the council should forgo rates payments for the next year.


  • Accommodation providers have been hit hard by COVID-19. 
  • It makes sense to put this targeted rate on hold while there is no need to spend the money on its targeted purpose. It would not be fair to use this rate for other purposes.

It’s important that the council hears your own voice here. You don’t have to fill your statements with facts and figures, it’s more important that they understand your overall thoughts on the ideas and principles used in this proposal. 

The following is information you may wish to consider in your response. 


  • COVID-19 has changed the world. As we rebuild, we have the opportunity to choose which paths we take, and what kind of world we want to create. How the council chooses to respond will affect the future of Auckland for all of us. 
  • The proposed cuts to Auckland Council are not the change I want. I do not believe that now is the time for cutting or deferring services that support our community, people and environment. 
  • A lot of what Auckland Council is proposing is old world, pre COVID-19 thinking. The world has changed, and we need to embrace new ways of thinking. 
  • I would like to see Auckland Council propose a bold vision to transform our city in a way we can all get behind. One which supports and invests in healthy communities, thriving nature, and a local economy that works for everyone. 
  • We should see this situation as an opportunity to create positive change, not push for a budget of austerity that will cut services and hit struggling families, businesses & our environment just when they need our support. 
  • Central government is investing in recovery. An austerity budget by Auckland Council undermines the work of central Government, and makes recovery harder and more expensive.

Climate Change

  • We cannot afford to stop programmes that build resilience to and help to fight climate change. 
  • Climate Change itself is not on hold or being deferred, so it is important to continue all programmes that support climate action and will help us face the challenge of Climate Change. 
  • Climate Change is currently at the bottom of the list of key consideration priorities in Auckland Council’s proposed emergency budget. 
  • We only get one shot at solving the climate crisis. The money required and current decision making is going to tie up capital and debt for decades. Christina Figueres, former head of UN Climate change response has said “Those 10 years that we thought we had have now been shrunk into basically anywhere between three to 18 months because by the end of those 18 months all the decisions, and in fact most of the allocations of the recovery packages, will have been made.” 
  • The council should not cut or defer funding to the following: 

○ Public transport services 

○ Cycle ways & walking paths 

○ Investment in electric vehicles & EV infrastructure 

○ Electric buses and related infrastructure 

○ Parking charges for Park & Ride 

○ Replacing gas boilers in council facilities like swimming pools and stadiums 

○ The Climate Change Response Fund 

○ Staffing in Auckland Council climate and resilience areas 

Poverty & Community Support

  • COVID-19 is having a huge impact on our communities. I believe it is important that our council continues to provide services to support everyone that lives in Auckland. 
  • Many of the cuts and deferrals proposed by Auckland Council will have negative impacts on services that people rely on. We already have a large number of families and people in Auckland living in poverty, needing regular food parcels and living in garages. That is only going to get worse. The Council needs to invest and partner with communities to address current and future needs, or we will deepen the poverty crisis and condemn another generation to survival living. 
  • I do not want the council to cut or defer funding to the following: 

○ Local boards discretionary spending (This is funding that the local boards provide to local community activities, community houses, environmental projects, grants programmes and support for community organisations and marae.) 

○ Safety improvements to roads and footpaths 

○ Regional community grants for environment and arts 

○ Library budgets 

○ Staffing in Auckland Council community support areas 

  • I am particularly concerned at how some of the proposed cuts will impact on our local groups, such as the proposal to have no regional grants for environment or arts next year. Social cohesion in times of economic stress and unemployment is important. Events such as Waitangi, Matariki, Movies & Music in Parks, Ambury Park Farm Day, and community arts, and libraries are essential for the connection and stress reduction they provide during times of hardship. Reducing these will hurt our community when it most needs support. 
  • We cannot afford to stop services that help support our people & communities. 
  • Auckland Council is a large employer. Staff cuts will directly increase unemployment in our communities, with flow-on effects of reduced spend in local businesses, thereby exacerbating Auckland’s economic hardships, and delaying our recovery. 

Environmental Management

  • Auckland is blessed by beautiful beaches, forests, maunga and harbours. I believe that a thriving environment with clean water and healthy parks is important to everyone. 
  • The majority of cuts & deferrals proposed are in environmental programmes. Stopping work on many of these now can mean we lose hard earnt ground and lessen our ability to support nature in the future. 
  • I do not want the council to cut or defer funding to the following: 

○ The Parks and Communities budget 

○ Healthy water programme 

○ Pest eradication 

○ Kauri dieback research 

○ Tree planting 

○ Track upgrades 

○ Environmental services staff 

○ Funding for park equipment like playgrounds 

○ Projects that address flooding and pollution on our beaches 

  • In particular I am concerned that if we stop or pause pest eradication programmes now it will give the pests time to recover, wasting all the previous money spent & community work on pest control. By the time the programmes are restarted we may be back where we started, or worse. 
  • With Kauri Dieback disease we are in a battle against time. The longer it takes us to discover a solution the further this disease spreads. Cutting funding to Kauri dieback research and track upgrades will take us a step closer to losing these trees forever. 
  • We cannot afford to stop looking after our natural environment. 

Financial Management

  • Increased Borrowing
    • Auckland Council needs to reconsider its policy around borrowing more money in the short term. 
    • We need to view our current financial situation in a global context. 
    • Council’s debt to revenue ratio is too conservative and does not allow us to invest in the future we want and need. 
    • Treasury has said local body borrowing could be increased without negative impacts on councils, potentially freeing up $2 billion for Auckland.  
    • Ways to underwrite higher borrowing should be investigated urgently by Auckland Council. 
  • Less Investment
    • Cutting or deferring investment spending is only going to slow our economy even further. 
    • Now is the time to invest in infrastructure for the future and supporting people to keep their heads above water. 
    • Central government is investing in recovery. An austerity budget by Auckland Council undermines the work of central Government, and makes recovery harder and more expensive. 
  • Savings and Service Reductions
    • I do not agree with the order of the key considerations priority list used by council. Climate Change should not be last on the list. 
    • Several cuts and deferrals proposed to programmes and services will not support our recovery. [Give examples from above, depending on your top priorities] 
    • Many of these temporary cuts will have negative impacts reaching far into the future and will make many projects & services more expensive if or when they are reinstated. 
  • Asset Recycling
    • It’s not clear why this “lever” appears in this proposal or is considered a lever at all. I fail to see how this policy will help save any costs in this budget. 
    • I am concerned that asset recycling is in fact a thinly disguised policy of asset sales, and that the money raised from selling these assets will not be used to invest in better and more suitable assets. 
    • I am concerned that some “low value currently unused land” will be sold now, when it is clear it will be highly valued by the community, potentially as green space or parkland in the future. 
    • The Local Boards need to have full participation in the decision making process to protect community interests. 
    • Now is not the time for fire-sales of land and buildings without carefully considering their future benefits. 
  • Central Government Assistance
    • This lever is potentially a game changer, however it is hardly mentioned in the council proposal. 
    • The situation we are facing will impact everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand. 
    • As Auckland is our largest city and a huge driver in the country’s economy, I believe there is an opportunity for stronger support by central Government to pay for Auckland being future fit. 
    • One way to assist Auckland would be for central Government to increase their funding of some of the larger infrastructure projects and sporting events of national importance in Auckland. One example would be the City Rail Link (CRL). Currently our council is committed to pay over $395 million towards the CRL. In contrast, recent rail infrastructure projects in other parts of the country have been 100% funded by central Government.