LocalMatters       

Budget bonuses for youth

Posted at 3:47pm Tuesday 04 Jun, 2019

Hibiscus Coast youth are the big winners in Auckland Council's budget, which goes before the governing body for final sign off this month.

The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board was able to put its case for a one-off operational grant of $100,000 for the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre at a private meeting with Mayor Phil Goff on May 16.

The following week, this grant was included in the Mayor's budget proposal, which Council voted to adopt. In addition, Council is reviewing its financial support for Auckland's youth centres as a whole.

The youth centre, in Orewa, provides a wide range of support for young people, including mentoring and counselling – more than 600 youth and their families visit the centre every week.

Its chair, Hellen Wilkins, says the Council funds will give the organisation's board and executive the opportunity to effect a better plan to keep growing sustainably and investing in things such as staffing, promotion, new programme development and facility improvements.

Council's budget also enables the introduction of free public transport for those aged under 15 on weekends and public holidays.

Ferry fares have been integrated, so that the bus trip to and from the ferry will be included in the ferry fare – until now, ferry users had to pay a separate bus fare. So now for example, a ferry passenger travelling to the Gulf Harbour ferry terminal by bus from Manly would have that bus trip free, and if that passenger was catching the train or bus from Britomart to Newmarket, that trip would also be free. And the same on the return trip.

An average rates rise of 2.5 percent was agreed to, as well as an increase of $12.2 million in operational funding for Auckland Transport in 2019/2020 “to address the cost pressures resulting from higher than forecast growth in public transport patronage and additional costs driven by changes to the Employment Relations Act”.

On June 20, the Governing Body will be asked to adopt the Annual Budget 2019/2020 and Proposed Amendment to the 10-year Budget 2018-2028.

Provided it is adopted, the new initiatives come into force from September 1.

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