Auckland awarded $100m for America's Cup hosting in Budget

Team New Zealand's defence of the America's Cup in 2021 was a big winner of today's Budget, with the government investing $100 million into a support package for the event.

Having defeated Oracle Team USA to reclaim the Auld Mug in Bermuda last year, Team New Zealand won the right to host the cup defence in 2021, with Auckland now confirmed as the host for the next challenge.

It was unclear exactly how much government funding would be awarded to aid Auckland's efforts, before Mayor Phil Goff revealed his delight at the $100m package.

“Confirmation of the Government’s $100 million towards America’s Cup 2021 will help ensure we create a vibrant event and lasting legacy for the city," he said in a statement.

"When Auckland does well, New Zealand does well. I look forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure that New Zealand's international city is world-class."

The Great Sound, Bermuda, 26th June 2017. Emirates Team New Zealand Helmsman Peter Burling and skipper Glenn Ashby hold aloft the America's Cup. Photo: Chris Cameron /
Emirates Team New Zealand Helmsman Peter Burling and skipper Glenn Ashby hold aloft the America's Cup. Source: Photosport

Budget aims to transform NZ's economy to be 'sustainable, productive and inclusive' - Grant Robertson

Finance Minister Grant Robertson today laid out the framework of what he said would be the government's plan for transformation. 

"A transformation of our economy, a transformation of our public services, and a transformation of the way we work together to improve the lives of all New Zealanders," he began his speech in parliament today after the release of Budget 2018. 

"We are committed to being responsible, not just fiscally, but socially and environmentally."

"This government does things a little differently," he said. "And that will be reflected in future Budgets."

"A strong economy is important, but we must not lose sight of why it is important, and it is most important for allowing us all to have better lives."

"We will work with New Zealanders to create a sustainable, productive and inclusive economy, environment and society."

Budget 2018 focused on health and education primarily, with housing (including the KiwiBuild package announced in last year's mini-Budget) also given a nod. 

"Our priorities are different from the previous government. We are determined to turn the page on the ideology of individualism and a hands-off approach to our economy that has left too many behind."

Mr Robertson mentioned the policy changes that have already been taken by the government, including extending paid parental leave, the Healthy Homes Act and fees-free tertiary education. 

He said the outlook for the economy "is positive". 

The Government side of their house rose to applaud the Finance Minister after he presented his first Budget today. Source: 1 NEWS

"The Treasury forecasts economic growth of about three per cent per annum on average over the next four years.

"Wages are forecast to rise by an average of 3.1 per cent... unemployment is expected to fall 4.1 per cent in late 2019."

Mr Robertson spoke of the $4 billion injection into health, the $1.6b boost into education, and the Budget's $1 billion increase to housing

"I am announcing that this government is taking serious action to increase the supply of public housing by investing $234.4m in operating funding for Housing NZ and Community housing Providers."

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch says there was no lolly scramble in Wellington today. Source: 1 NEWS

"This will provide more than 6000 homes over the next four years," Mr Robertson said.

Biosecurity is to be strengthened using $9.3m "to better manage risks". 

The new Green Investment Fund gets $100m "in assets and technology to reduce carbon emissions", Mr Robertson said. 

This starts with making sure Kiwis have access to high quality public services, says the Finance Minister while delivering the Labour-led Government's first Budget. Source: 1 NEWS

"This government wants to be a world leader on climate change in urgently reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases."

"We will introduce a legally binding emissions redaction target and emissions budgets to keep NZ on track."

Mr Roberston also spoke of Maori development and supporting the teaching of te reo in schools. 

"The Budget provides $11.4m of new funding over the next four years for initiatives to provide more teachers with the necessary training and resources."


Auckland activist Penny Bright resolves her rates bill after a decade of refusing to pay up

Auckland activist Penny Bright has resolved her outstanding rates bill and the council is stopping its forced sale of her home in the suburb of Kingsland.

It's not clear how the outstanding rates bill, totalling some $69,000, has been resolved.

Auckland Council told 1 NEWS it's a private matter and that it can't provide any further details.

A supporter of Penny Bright told 1 NEWS that the council accepted an application for a rates postponement.

A rates postponement means people who meet certain criteria and have enough equity in their property can postpone all or part of their rates payment.

Until now, Ms Bright has been refusing to pay her rates for more than a decade, arguing that the council must be more accountable.

She headed to the High Court to try to stop the forced sale of her home, but the court told her this week that nobody is above the law.

Ms Bright recently revealed she has terminal ovarian cancer and blamed it on the stress from her rates battle.

Auckland Council said in a statement this afternoon it was pleased to confirm that Bright has resolved her outstanding rates bill.

The council gave no details on how this has been done.

"We can now all move on and allow Ms Bright to focus on more important matters," council chief financial officer Matthew Walker said in the statement.

Ms Bright has told 1 NEWS that it all feels like a bit of an "anticlimax", however says she will be able to focus her time on her battle with cancer.

When asked how long the outstanding rates bill will be postponed for, she said she would continue to apply for the postponement each year. 

Bright's home is being sold as she has refused to pay rates for over a decade. Source: 1 NEWS

Penny Bright on the deck of her Auckland home. Source: 1 NEWS

The council were going to sell her home to get back unpaid rates. Source: 1 NEWS