Submission by Heart of the City: Long Term Plan 2015-2025
Long Term Plan 2015-2025
–Submission from Heart of the City
Heart of the City (HOTCity) represents property owners and businesses in the central city, and is
committed to championing and fostering a successful City Centre that all Aucklander’s are proud of,
is a thriving place to do business, is accessible, vibrant and a great place to be.
Thank you for your opportunity to submit to the Auckland Council Long Term Plan (LTP) 2015-2025.
SUMMARY OF OUR SUBMISSION:
Business Property Rates: We support the ongoing business rates differential policy and the
proposed gradual reduction of business property rates as proposed.
City Centre Targeted Rate (CCTR): We support the ongoing collection of the City Centre Targeted
Rate. Its contribution to the transformation of the City Centre has been dramatic. We note the
importance that this is seen as one of the funding streams supporting the transformation rather
than the only funding stream for the City Centre.
City Centre Upgrade Programme: We are supportive of the ongoing transformation of the City
Centre, and the vision and aspirations set out for the City Centre in the Auckland Plan and the City
Centre Masterplan. A number of city centre projects are listed in the LTP. We have not yet seen a
comprehensive programme that takes into consideration the overall aspirations sought for the City
Centre, the interdependencies of all projects including transport projects, and importantly how the
city will ‘keep moving’ throughout the ten year period of planned construction, including the City
Rail Link (CRL). We are therefore unable to provide any detailed commentary on what specific
projects we support for implementation, particularly over the next three years.
Transport Funding and Priorities: We support a ten year programme of work that will improve
access into the City Centre, across all modes of transport, including road, public transport, cycling
and walking. We believe that the ‘Basic Transport Network’ as proposed by Council will not deliver a
transport network that will meet the demands of a growing city. However we are not in a position to
support the ‘Auckland Plan Transport Network’, as we are not convinced that this is an affordable
option for Auckland. We challenge Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to review the proposed
programme to ensure that the projected growth of the region is catered for in the best possible way
over the next ten years, without the need to raise significant additional funding.
It is our position that the fairest and most equitable way of raising any additional funding required is
by petrol taxes but we ask that this is ‘de-linked’ from an additional rates increase, as currently
Light Rail: We have been advocates for the development of ‘enhanced public transport’ options and
we support the principle to improve the city’s transport infrastructure to allow for increased
capacity, reduced environmental impact and increased access. We wish to ensure that the most cost
effective option with the best flexibility for future growth is chosen and is fully integrated with the
existing transport plans for the city.
Waterfront and Port: We request the opportunity to be involved in the development of the terms of
reference for the wider, longer term ‘Stage two’ Port study, and that funding and a timeframe for its
development is confirmed immediately. We highlight the urgency of the study being completed. A
number of decisions have already been made that are incrementally changing the nature and form
of our harbour. It is critical that there is a long term strategic view that guides and informs any
further decision making, including the future of Quay Street and the Central Wharves.
Street Trading and Events Charges: We oppose the proposed fee increases for outdoor dining in the
City Centre, citing that it is inequitable and contrary to meeting Council’s own aspirations for the City
Centre. We ask that Council reduce or maintain the outdoor dining rental charges at their current
Public Nuisance Bylaw & Safety: Safety is one of the single most important areas of concern for
HOTCity Members. We are grateful for Auckland Council’s ongoing implementation of the CityWatch
Security programme in the City Centre. The team work tirelessly to improve the perceptions of
safety, and are responsible for enforcing the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw. Over the summer of
2014/2015 we have seen a significant improvement in the street environment, owing to increased
resource being allocated to the programme. This has allowed the CityWatch guards to be present at
the most critical times of the day and at hotspot areas. Given the level of public and private
investment being made into the City Centre, and the aspirations that we all have for its future, it is
vital that this service continues for the foreseeable future. We would encourage that any
opportunity to maintain it at the recent “summer levels” across the year, and/or expand or grow the
service also be explored.
We support the ongoing, gradual reduction of business property rates to bring the overall
proportion of rates that the business community pay to be better balanced with the residential
We acknowledge the need and support Council’s intent to slow down the reduction, reaching the
planned 25.8% in 2025/2026 – a change from 2022/2023, noting this will offset an unintended
additional 5% average residential rates increase.
PRIORITY AREA TWO: RATES – CITY CENTRE TARGETED RATE
The City Centre Targeted Rate (CCTR) was established in 2004 as a way of advancing the
transformation of the City Centre, without having to solely rely on general rates funding. It has been
responsible for shaping the City Centre that we are so proud of today, by partially or solely funding a
number of successful transformational projects including Queen Street, the shared space
programme and St Patrick’s Square.
HOTCity has been heavily involved in the oversight of the expenditure of the programme to date, as
well as the design of the CCRT, through our role on the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board
We welcome, and thank Council for, the introduction of the new CCTR policy, which sees the funding
stream no longer paying operational expenditure (opex) and depreciation. This ensures that the
money will be invested in the upfront capital expenditure (capex) and planning for projects, and
recognises that the CCTR is just one funding stream that contributes to major projects within the City
It is important that the CCTR is not used for capex that should be covered by general rates. Other
centres get investment funded by the general rate, and it is important that the City Centre does as
The importance of the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (ACCAB) in overseeing the expenditure
and use of the CCRT cannot be undervalued - given the level of funding generated by the CCTR, and
the reliance that Council have on this income stream to deliver the vision set out for the City Centre.
We support the ongoing collection of the CCTR over the period of the Long Term Plan,
central city specific projects to be funded by and receive benefit from money from the area”, HOTCity
PRIORITY AREA: CITY CENTRE UPGRADE PROGRAMME
We are supportive of the ongoing transformation of the City Centre, and the vision and aspirations
set out for the City Centre in the Auckland and City Centre Masterplan. The investment to date has
brought demonstrable benefit to the City Centre and to the wider region. Having a focused
programme of transformation does not come without its challenges, particularly the impact that
construction has on businesses, access and enjoyment of the city centre. Planning for and mitigating
these impacts will be critical with the planned work programme for the coming ten years, especially
A number of City Centre projects are included in the draft Long Term Plan, including projects such as
the Victoria Linear Park, Lower Hobson Street, Nelson Street off ramp, Emily Place, Queen’s Wharf
redevelopment, Britomart precinct streetscapes, High Street, Federal Street (Mayoral to Fanshawe
St), Freyberg Square and Civic Corner in addition to a number of Auckland Transport projects,
including the CRL and a number of possible bus improvement projects.
However it is difficult to provide detailed commentary around the priority of projects for funding
and implementation, without a complete programme of projects being presented. This programme
will need to take into consideration the potential introduction of light rail, additional projects that
could be funded through alternative funding mechanisms, the transport projects identified for the
City Centre, as well as projects identified within the Central Wharves Strategy, the Aotea and
Downtown Frameworks. It will also need to demonstrate the relative interdependencies of projects.
Critical to this will be overlaying the principle of ‘keeping the City Centre working’. We have not yet
seen a draft programme that has taken into account all of these issues and therefore are unable to
provide any detailed commentary on what specific projects we support for implementation,
particularly over the next three years.
Specifically, however, we do wish to comment on several projects currently included in the Long
High Street Precinct: We support budget being allocated to the High Street District. However, we ask
that this is integrated with the planned Freyberg Square and Ellen Melville Hall upgrade. We note
that the overall idea and principle needs further testing with the immediate community before this
project is confirmed for implementation. We will be working in partnership with Auckland Council
and City Centre Integration on this.
Quay Street Boulevard & Central Wharves Strategy: We note that the Quay Street Boulevard
Upgrade project is identified for inclusion in a ten year programme as part of the “Auckland Plan
Transport Network”. We would ask Council to ensure that the future of Quay Street and the
planned Central Wharves Study is planned in conjunction with the wider strategy for the waterfront,
including the future of the port which will be informed by the full “Stage two” study.
Aotea Framework: We support the work that Council is carrying out on developing the Aotea
Framework. Investment will need to be made in this area to truly deliver on the aspiration to make it
the arts and cultural hub of the City Centre.
We ask that:
Heart of the City, in our capacity as key stakeholders in the City Centre as well as a member of
the ACCAB, work with City Centre Integration over the coming months to discuss and review a
proposed programme of projects, including those to be funded from the City Centre Targeted
PRIORITY AREA: LIGHT RAIL
We have been advocates for the development of ‘enhanced public transport’ options, and have
been involved in the PNAP (Personal Exposure to Noise and Air Pollution) study which identified that
air pollution in many parts of the City Centre is close to exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO)
limits, attributed to nitrogen dioxide released from diesel buses. We support the principle to
improve the city’s transport infrastructure to allow for increased capacity, increased access and
importantly reduce the environmental impact. We wish to ensure that the most cost effective option
with the best flexibility for future growth is chosen and is presented as part of a business case in a
public environment. It is disappointing that initial plans for light rail have not been developed as part
of the wider Transport Programme for Auckland and consulted on as part of the RLTP and Auckland
We ask that:
Any plans for light rail are fully integrated in the wider transport plan for the city. Auckland
Transport must be prepared to review existing plans before light rail is considered as a better
option for Auckland.
The cost/benefit of such a project is thoroughly considered and that Auckland has the
opportunity to be consulted on with the proposal.
This is funded by budget reallocation, or the private sector, not through an increase in rates.
The consideration of place is paramount. There is great potential for infrastructure like this (a la
Melbourne) to bring considerable enhancement to the city, and to support and encourage
pedestrian activity and business growth. Equally, there are poor examples where the
infrastructure takes too much prominence and the wider environment is impacted.
We are directly engaged on the further development of light rail, given its direct impact and
significant on the City Centre, particularly in Queen Street and surrounding environs.
PRIORITY AREA: TRANSPORT FUNDING AND PRIORITIES
We support a ten year programme of work that will improve access into the City Centre, across all
modes of transport, including road, public transport, cycling and walking. We continue to support
The City Centre is the centre of the region’s economy, with over 10,000 businesses, and at last
census 80,000 students, 91,200 workers and 26,300 residents.
It is anticipated to grow to an expected 140,000 workers and 45,000 residents by 2032, with an
increasing number of businesses choosing to locate here.
Since 2001, the number of people entering the City Centre by private vehicle during the morning
peak (7am -9am) has remained static, whereas the numbers of people arriving by public transport
has increased, as illustrated by the graph below. There has been substantial annual growth rates in
person trips entering the City Centre, since 2001, particularly via rail and the northern bus way.
There is limited capacity to accommodate growth of private vehicles in the City Centre, including the
relatively static number of carparks to accommodate them when they get here.
We have a strong interest in getting Auckland’s transport ‘right’ as we are under no illusion that the
City Centre will continue to experience and create significant pressures on the city’s transport
infrastructure given the projected residential and commercial growth within and into the area.
It is vital to ensure that investment is made in areas of transport that will cater for this projected
increase in people needing to come into the City Centre, as well as ensuring that the transport
network will adequately cater to service businesses.
The ‘Basic Transport Network’, as is proposed, will not sufficiently address the challenges that
Auckland is facing, and meet the needs of a growing city. There is across the board recognition that
we need to do more to fix and improve Auckland’s transport network.
The views of our membership is mixed when it comes to asking Auckland to spend additional money
towards fixing Auckland’s transport challenges.
We are therefore not in a position to support the ‘Auckland Plan Transport Network’ as proposed,
and are not convinced that this is an affordable option for Auckland.
We ask that:
Auckland Council and Auckland Transport review the proposed programme to ensure that this
has been prioritised for affordability, whilst still ensuring that the projected growth of the region
is catered for in the best possible way over the next ten years. In Council’s own words there
needs to be a “balance with progress and affordability’’.
It is our position that the fairest and most equitable way of raising any additional funds is by petrol
taxes alone. We would ask that this option is de-linked from a proposed rates increase. It is our view
that motorway tolling unfairly penalises those people who have ‘no choice’ but to use the
motorway, and will have the unintended consequence of people using local roads to avoid charges.
HOTCity continue to support the CRL, acknowledging that it will increase access to and through the
City Centre, which has clear economic benefit and return for business.
PRIORITY AREA: WATERFRONT, INCLUDING THE PORT
The Waitemata is one of Auckland’s defining assets.
We support the development of the promised full scope ‘Stage two’ study, that will look to take a
broad, long term view of the Ports of Auckland. The Mayor has confirmed that the terms of
reference for the study will be developed in consultation with Councillors and the wider
stakeholders. We cannot highlight the urgency with which these need to be developed. A number of
decisions have already been made that are incrementally changing the nature and form of our
Harbour. It is critical that there is a long term strategic view that guides and informs any further
We ask that:
HOTCity is involved in the development of the terms of reference for the wider, longer term
‘Stage two’ Port study
Funding and a timeframe for its development is confirmed immediately, and acknowledged in
PRIORITY AREA: STREET TRADING AND EVENTS IN PUBLIC PLACES CHARGES
Street Trading - Outdoor Dining and Drinking Charges
The draft LTP proposes to increase outdoor trading rentals in the CBD from an existing $70/m2 to
$140/m2. Other areas, such as Ponsonby and Newmarket, are proposed to rise to $85/m2.
We do not support this proposed increase. We do not support the proposed fees and want to see
these fees reduced or maintained at current levels to ensure greater equity.
We believe that what is proposed unfairly penalises city centre businesses.
We support the need to charge for the privilege of using outdoor public space for commercial gain,
and to ensure that there is cost recovery of the administrative costs associated with issuing licences.
However we are extremely concerned that this does not appear equitable nor support the
aspirations of creating a vibrant, business friendly city centre. In addition it doesn’t meet Outcome
three of the City Centre Master Plan to become a “a globally significant centre for business – the
engine room of the Auckland economic powerhouse with a vibrant and vital retail and commercial
core”. One of the targets for meeting this outcome is “Number of cafes in city centre increases”, and
Auckland Council has been actively encouraging businesses to place outdoor dining in recently
Businesses in the City Centre are paying for the overall improvements of the City Centre via the
CCTR. They are also paying for Council to meet their own aspirations and targets for the City Centre.
The recently completed O’Connell Street shared space is a good case study for showcasing the value
of encouraging outdoor dining as a key activity, ensuring the ongoing success of the street.
O’Connell Street with no outdoor dining.
O’Connell Street showing outdoor dining – actively encouraged by Auckland Council to contribute to a
successful street, and sense of place.
Increasing the cost of outdoor dining rentals will act as an deterrent to outdoor dining in the city,
and risks Council not meeting their desired targets.
As one HOTCity member put it:
“Contrary to popular belief, cafe and restaurant [sic] are not getting rich. We work very hard for very
little. The council already clip the ticket on food licences, liquor licenses, rates, not to mention the
thousands of dollars on building and resource consents when we first open. Yes, there maybe more
people in the CBD, but there are also considerably more eateries. Proportionately, the CBD is no
different commercially to Ponsonby, Parnell, or any other suburb of Auckland. The fact that they
want to charge higher rates in the CBD is completely non-sensical and outright absurd. I have a
business in Ponsonby and CBD, so I am completely justified in my opinion”
Arriving at the right charge for the area
Auckland Council’s methodology for adjusting the fees for outdoor dining rentals is based on the
relative average land values in respective areas.
The city has been split into three distinctive tiers, of which Tier one is only for the City Centre. The
City Centre should be reviewed as a special area. Within the City Centre there are wildly different
areas and land values, and we ask that this should be reviewed.
We ask that
The overall approach and methodology for applying rates to the City Centre needs to be
reviewed. There could be the possibility of introducing different tiers within different parts of
the City Centre. There is too much disparity to justifiably charge the same /sqm2 rate in areas
like Queen Street as opposed to the outer areas of the city centre.
That the overall rate as proposed needs to be reviewed and reduced ensuring greater equity for
Street Performance Charges
We support Council’s proposal not to charge for street performance licences, agreeing that ‘busking’
adds to the city’s vibrancy.
We recognise the need for Auckland Council to charge for event permits covering the cost of
administrating the use of public space, and we are comfortable with the rationale of developing a
matrix of fees that are based on whether it is a commercial/private event or community event as
well as the level of impact (for example number of attendees).
It is our understanding that the majority of events that Business Associations, like ourselves, carry
out will be considered community events and we believe that the proposed fees are acceptable and
achievable for most.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment
Centre Manager, Heart of the City