Green Party: Auckland Council’s proposed COVID budget cuts are regressive and dangerous for climate

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party says Auckland Council’s proposed COVID budget cuts are regressive and dangerous for the climate.

Green Party Local Government spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said today:

“Councils have a responsibility to invest in ways that serve their communities, both now and in the longer-term. I know that there are Councillors around that table who do not want to slash critical support at a critical time for our city and our country. They need the mandate to keep Auckland on the path to a sustainable future.

“COVID hasn’t changed the fact that we are living in world increasingly threatened by climate change. Leaders cannot use the pandemic as an excuse to cut spending in this space and it’s rather frightening that our country’s largest Council is proposing to do just that.

“Auckland Council’s proposal delays key climate, environment and community spending in favour of unsustainable and short-sighted roading projects. Instead of electric buses, better libraries and clean waterways – we get more roads. Only a few months ago, we had one of the largest protests Queen Street has ever seen, with young people leading the demand on urgent climate action. Their echoes cannot be ignored.

“The proposed budget cuts put pest-eradication and Kauri dieback research up for the chop. Local boards will lose discretionary funding, community support jobs will evaporate and our libraries will lose operational capacity.

“All of this goes against the Government’s recovery strategy, and digs a much deeper hole for future generations to climb out of.

“Treasury advice released under the Official Information Act suggests Auckland Council could sustainably borrow more to get through this uncertainty. So too, the Greens have long called for Government and Councils to collaborate in diversifying funding, which in Aotearoa currently resources our local governments among the lowest in the OECD. There’s ample opportunity to get creative here, and to lead with vision, as the last few months have rewritten the rules of politics.”

The Green Party is calling on the public to make submissions to Auckland Council, to support a sustainable future, by this Friday 19 June and has created a submission guide at https://www.greens.org.nz/auckland_emergency_budget.

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