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Source: Auckland Council – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Aucklanders invited to calculate own city budget

Auckland Council has today launched an online budget calculator that gives Aucklanders a go at setting their own 10-year budget for the region.

The interactive tool allows users to save money or spend money depending on what they see as a priority for the city. The choices they make affect levels of household rates and the council’s debt – making them rise or fall.

Matthew Walker, General Manager Financial Planning, says the calculator is an educational tool designed to give Aucklanders a greater understanding of the council’s budget.
“The budget calculator is all about giving Aucklanders a chance to sit in the driver’s seat and experiment with the budget. It demonstrates how and where the council spends money as well as the trade-offs you make when you decide to spend less or more,” he says.

The budget calculator, which is set at the proposed levels of spending in the council’s 10-year budget, looks at five spending areas of Auckland Council including transport, parks, community and lifestyle, economy tourism events and culture, Auckland development, and environment and regulatory.

On finishing, the budget calculator produces three graphs that show the impact of each user’s spend on debt, assets and rates across the 10-year period.

Public consultation on the council’s 10-year budget runs until 16 March 2015. There are a number of ways to give feedback including an online feedback form, a hard copy form (found in the council libraries, service centres and local board offices), using social media and at the ‘have your say’ events.

Auckland Council is also hosting a live online chat today (Thursday 5 March from 7pm to 9pm) that will cover the key issues included in the 10-year budget. Those who wish to take part can post comments and feedback in advance now or join the discussion on the night.

Feedback from the live chat will count as feedback for the 10-year budget consultation.