Skip to main content

Local fare: What’s on the menu for Auckland ahead of Budget 2024?

  • Investment in productivity didn’t play a role in the Budget and therefore, economic growth continues to rest on population growth, which is usually heavily weighted towards immigration into Auckland, which could add to Auckland’s infrastructure challenges
  • New funding for rail was confirmed for Auckland, as well as the Roads of National Significance - four of which are in Auckland
  • The regional infrastructure fund has the potential to support Auckland’s infrastructure agenda

Auckland is the economic engine of New Zealand. It’s a busy port, the gateway to Aotearoa for many overseas travellers and a cultural centre. It is home to the largest proportion of our population and it’s the hub for so many of our greatest business success stories. A successful Auckland means a successful New Zealand. Pre-Budget announcements have already been made by the coalition Government regarding education, law and order and tax changes - all of which impact the quality of Aucklanders' lives. Prime Minister Luxon has detailed the Government’s medium-term ambitions around productivity and growth, achieving emissions targets and an investment approach to social outcomes. These will all require investment and heavy lifting over the coming years. This Budget, which is anticipated to focus on savings, will likely not contain too many surprises, but there is plenty that a first Budget for a new Government can do to put the pieces in place now for a thriving future.

Investment in Auckland’s infrastructure

Transport is the issue that many Aucklanders are focused on, as it impacts so many aspects of life in the region. Tamaki Makaurau is New Zealand’s global city and the nation's financial engine. Aucklanders will be hoping to see continued investment in infrastructure to ensure the city is fit for now, and into the future as the population grows and development expands across the city. There have already been roading announcements and work by Auckland Council and the Government to resolve Auckland’s water challenges, but in Budget 2024, announcements around transport choice, housing and the digital infrastructure that is expected in world-class cities, would be welcomed. Connecting digital transformation in government and public services - and using technology to reduce costs of physical assets, could be a win-win for Auckland’s infrastructure needs.

A new relationship between local and central government

Local government funding, especially for infrastructure, remains undercooked and a lot of weight is being put on city and regional deals, and the Regional Infrastructure Fund to solve some of these challenges. Nothing major has been signalled around returning some GST to councils, which could offer part of the solution to these challenges. Further local government funding is key to addressing some of these concerns, otherwise some of the structural challenges in paying for developed country assets will remain.

A vision for enabling investment, and prosperity

The State of the City Report, released by Committee for Auckland, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited and Deloitte, that benchmarks Auckland’s progress against other comparable cities globally, highlights Auckland’s credentials regarding its natural beauty and assets. These natural features must be protected and enhanced to ensure our global position. Auckland Council can do a lot in this area, but overarching protection and investment does need to be nationally supported, particularly in relation to the protection of nature, conservation efforts and Hauraki Gulf protections.

The State of the City report also cites challenges around prosperity and opportunity, knowledge, and innovation. Auckland’s migrants and investors will be looking for positive signs from this Budget, and short-term pain is probably acceptable as the global economy still creaks. A future set up for sustainable growth and prosperity will be front of mind for investors who are exploring the options, and migrants who are considering making Auckland their home. We would hope to see signals from the Government that Auckland is worth staying for, and investing in. 

Māori aspiration should be top of mind too as the population grows. Little has been said in pre-Budget announcements thus far about how to achieve Māori outcomes. But recent trade missions and visits could provide leverage for Māori businesses and entrepreneurs, of which Auckland has many.

Auckland’s role in restructuring our economy

In terms of productivity and growth, announcements have been made regarding the Roads of National Significance and other roading infrastructure, but to supercharge productivity and achieve the coalition Government’s goal of doubling exports by 2040, digital and tech, and weightless exports must be part of the plan. Auckland has the ingredients to be a world-class tech hub, especially in HealthTech, FinTech, CreativeTech and CleanTech along with other tech sectors - Auckland’s economic development agency, Tataki Auckland Unlimited and the Chamber of Commerce have both recently called for this focus. Industry can do so much but government investment and championship will be key. 

Aucklanders are hoping for an investment-based Budget that will ease immediate cost of living pressure and set up Auckland and Aotearoa New Zealand for a more prosperous future. The hope for Tamaki Makaurau Auckland in regard to Budget 2024 is that the Budget commitments can catalyse private and public action to deliver on these opportunities. 

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey