Ngā mihi nui, ngā mihi mahana, ngā mihi aroha. Tēnā kotou katoa, Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Nisa bula vinaka, Taloha ni, Fakalofa lahi atu, Ni hao, Namaste and warm greetings.
This has been a busy month for many in our community, as individuals and organisations have taken time to engage with what may be the most important Auckland Council budget consultation since the amalgamation.
As the proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Tāmaki Makaurau, it takes a city. That includes Auckland Council, as an important connector and leader, setting directions and supporting people to come together to help shape a city where people want to live, work, raise families and establish businesses.
It was heartening, therefore, to see the level of engagement in the budget consultation, with well over 30,000 submissions received by the close-off on Tuesday evening. That’s an impressive level of civic participation, showing the high value that Aucklanders place on council’s role and on the many services and facilities that council provides and supports for our communities.
In our own submission, we raised our concerns that the proposed budget cuts could mean the end of many of the valuable organisations we work with in the community, with hundreds of highly skilled, connected people losing their jobs and thousands of families missing out on services they depend on. Specifically, we’ve asked that:
- The proposed funding cuts be reversed for community, social, arts, environmental and cultural services, including TSI/WI; libraries, museums and experience centres; Sustainable Schools; sports, arts and culture programmes and facilities; community services including CAB; cultural events; and Auckland Unlimited’s economic development activities.
- Auckland Council apply an equity lens when weighing up decisions on any budget cuts that may still be needed, to ensure that cuts that affect disadvantaged groups or communities are avoided or minimised.
Those who read our newsletter regularly may recall that council’s budget also included a plan to end funding for Te Hononga Akoranga COMET. In our submission we proposed a compromise position, with a managed transition away from our CCO role to become a fully independent charitable trust, and stepped funding over the next three years while we find other funding for our core innovation role.
I’m grateful to the many partners and stakeholders who made submissions on our behalf in support of this proposal.
Final decisions on the budget are made in June, and we will let you know the outcome on our own possible transition once we hear.
Meanwhile, we continue our work for equity and education and skills, with a number of exciting developments in our STEM, data and evidence and Mātauranga Māori campaigns, which you can read about in our latest newsletter.
Ngā mihi mahana,