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The mayoral proposal for Auckland’s 2023/2024 annual budget is not fit-for-purpose in a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, says Forest & Bird. 

The proposal includes cuts to stormwater management, public transport, local environmental efforts, and sustainable urban regeneration. 

These cutbacks are not consistent with Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri, Auckland’s Climate Plan, nor with Auckland Council’s responsibility to address climate change and urgently reduce emissions. 

“It’s shocking that this budget would slash funding for stormwater management. It’s the last thing Aucklanders need after enduring devastating floods,” says Carl Morgan, Forest & Bird’s Auckland Regional Conservation Manager.  

“To adapt to our ‘new normal’ in a changing climate, we need more investment in green infrastructure, not maintaining the status quo, which has failed Auckland and its people.” 

Forest & Bird is also deeply disappointed in the significant cuts proposed for community-led environmental efforts. This covers activities like weed and predator control, protecting taonga species, and restoring urban forests and wetlands that are valued for recreation, carbon storage, and flood protection. 

“Aucklanders care deeply about their environment and these cuts will severely impact their ability to deliver on-the-ground conservation for the betterment of our city,” says Morgan. “Investment into community services provides great value to Aucklanders: for every dollar that council invests, we get back many more volunteer hours.” 

Elsewhere, proposals related to public transport and delays to Eke Panuku will seriously hinder Auckland’s transition to a climate-resilient, livable city. “We need to be making it easier for Aucklanders to move around the city sustainably – not harder, slower and more expensive,” says Morgan. 

Forest & Bird is seeking further information on these cuts to conservation and climate-related activities via an official information request, including requesting any analysis of potential environmental outcomes provided to the mayor.

Impacts of the mayor’s proposal include: 

Public transport 

  • Increasing cost of public transport fares by 6.5%. 
  • Keeping current low levels of bus services. These were only meant to be introduced temporarily in response to driver shortages. 


  • Cutting support from Auckland Council to over 300 Enviroschools to operate sustainably. 
  • Reducing investment in programmes to educate Aucklanders about climate change. These programmes empower people to reduce emissions and build their resilience. Includes targeted climate interventions for Asian/Pacific communities, Māori-led responses by marae and rangatahi. 

Community-led projects 

  • Ending the regional environment and climate grant schemes for community groups. 
  • Reducing local board investment in local environmental projects by up to 50%. The impacts of this will be huge for on-the-ground conservation in Tāmaki Makaurau. Many boards like Kaipātiki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu invest a significant amount into support for local community conservation to protect taonga species (kauri) or landscapes (e.g. Pukaki Crater). 

Sustainable urban regeneration 

  • Delaying many development projects that Eke Panuku are building which are crucial to the goal of having a more compact, high-quality urban form that makes it easier for Aucklanders to get around on foot, by bike or public transport to the places they need to go. 

Stormwater management 

  • Reducing funding available for activities funded by the Natural Environment and Water Quality targeted rates in future years by using up the reserve for these funds. While the proposal purports that planned expenditure for 23/24 will be funded from existing reserves, these rates will need to be reinstated in full in 24/25 to ensure these essential programmes continue on track. 
  • Reduction in healthy waters maintenance is proposed since “Healthy Waters budgets are set at above average levels to cater for large storm events”.  

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