Having Your Say: Why Your Voice Matters

Auckland’s 10 year budget details how $56.9 billion will be spent across Auckland over the next 10 years on transport, parks, libraries and more. That equates to a massive $38,000 for each and every one of us who lives in our city. Like it or not, how this money is spent is going to affect you—which is why you need to stand up, be heard and have your say on what you want to see.

Why your voice matters!

Each and every one of us has different values, beliefs and experiences. This means that we all have unique ideas about what we want to see happen in our world. Auckland has been plagued for too long with ideas that don’t work and are holding us back in the last century. To help make this a fantastic city to live in, we need to share our new ideas and our new solutions to fix Auckland’s problems. This is a great opportunity to be the change and have your say.

At the latest update, only 5% of views heard were from people aged under 24 years old, compared to the 20% of people who are in this age group. This means that not enough youth are voicing their opinions. If we choose not to be heard, then the issues that matter to us (like public transport, affordable housing and the environment) won’t get the attention they deserve.

When we as the youth of Auckland have our say, it sends the signal that we care about what the future of Auckland—and New Zealand—look like. Too often the assumption is made that young people don’t care about what happens in New Zealand. We need to make sure that we are heard loud and clear: that we care and we want to play a part in shaping how New Zealand looks in the future.

What are some budget issues that I can have my say on?

Transport – It often seems that transport in Auckland is a nightmare. From over-congested roads to public transport with busses running 20 minutes late, problems are everywhere. The questionnaire asks us whether we want to invest in an advanced transport programme or whether we will just accept a basic network (which costs less but has worse outcomes). If you want to see an improvement in transport, you need to have your say to make sure investment happens. This also offers you a chance to tell Council what else you want, whether it be better busses, more frequent ferries or a rail line out to Howick.

Libraries, Pools and Gyms – Do you like to read books at the library? What about swimming and using the gym at Lloyd Elsmore? The budget proposes a reduction in library hours, meaning less late nights. It also proposes increased fees and charges at council’s pools and gyms. If you don’t want to see this happen, then this is your chance to make sure they hear it.

Finances and Rates – Everything that the council provides must be paid by someone. The budget contains important questions about how rates should rise and what a fair share is for everyone to pay. It also asks about alternate methods of funding, including fuel taxes or motorway toll charges. While we might not need to pay for these now as students, we will be paying rates in the future.

Other Issues – This is a brief overview of some of the other important issues covered in the budget. You can read more here: http://shapeauckland.co.nz/media/1256/long-term-plan-consultation-document.pdf

How can you have your say?

You can visit the website www.shapeauckland.co.nz and have your say by submitting feedback using the online form. Or you can share your views on Twitter by using either @aklcouncil or #LTP2015 and you can visit the Auckland Council facebook page – www.facebook.com/aklcouncil using #LTP2015.

What if the budget doesn’t interest me?

Even though the 10-Year Budget is vitally important to Auckland, this still might not seem like a very interesting topic. What is important though, is that you look for opportunities in your life to be the change and make your voice heard on issues you care about. Whether it is an activity you love, or an idea you want to see happen, you should be the positive change to make our world a better place.

Written by Zachary Wong; edited by Saffron Huang.

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