Eight Big Ideas for Economic Growth

27 January 2014

Here we introduce to you the City Council’s Growth Agenda. It includes (but is not limited to) 8 Big Ideas that aim to boost the local economy and make it more diverse.

For context and background to the 8 ideas covered below, see:
News - An Economic Growth Agenda to Transform the City - 28.01.14

Idea 1: Film museum

Wellington’s film sector thrills, inspires and amazes people here and around the world. In the past 20 years it has become a vital part of the city’s identity and its economy - attracting visitors, creating jobs and bringing wealth to the city. A film museum would celebrate the contribution Wellington’s film sector has made to the country’s economy and reputation and be a high-quality tourist attraction in the central city.

Idea 2: International air connections

The region’s economic prosperity depends on the strength of our connections with the rest of the world. At the moment, Wellington International Airport’s runway is too short to deal with large, long-haul aircraft. A runway up to 300 metres longer would allow planes to fly direct to and from Asia and raise the prospect of one-stop flights to and from other destinations. This would help to increase visitor numbers and strengthen education and business connections.

Idea 3: A tech precinct

One of the critical conditions for success in high-tech industries is the opportunity for people to connect with each other, sharing knowledge and ideas, investment and pathways to international markets. A CBD tech precinct would offer opportunities to foster growth in high-tech companies and encourage connections between creatives, business people, investors and the education sector. The objective of the precinct is to put in place the kind of environment that will give small start-ups the tools and networks to grow. Companies like Xero show the huge potential that exists in this space.

Idea 4: Conference and concert venues

Conventions bring people to the city to learn, discuss ideas and make connections. A covered concert venue would also attract headline acts and more visitors to the city. At the moment we have good convention and concert facilities - but none large enough to compete for the biggest conferences or the biggest entertainment acts. We need facilities able to cater for 2500 delegates or 12,000 music fans. Such facilities would help support the city’s famous hospitality industry.

Idea 5: A Miramar framework

Miramar, once the epitome of quiet and unassuming Kiwi suburbia, set against the backdrop of the coast and green open space is now home to Wellington’s international film industry. It employs more than 5000 people and contributes hugely to the region’s economy. The proposed runway extension and recent announcements around film tax breaks on the filming of Avatar means there are opportunities to enhance the area and its reputation as a centre of creative work by supporting the development of a film precinct and associated education facilities, and an enterprise zone.

Idea 6: Better transport

Over the next three years we have the chance to improve Wellington’s transport networks by reducing bottlenecks and encouraging people to leave their cars at home and instead cycle, walk or use public transport. Getting about the city and region can be made quicker and safer by developing cycleways between the suburbs and the CBD, completing highway upgrades in a manner that has minimal impact on surrounding neighbourhoods, and improving the reliability
and efficiency of public transport.

Idea 7: Let’s be open for business

Wellington can grow by becoming a city recognised as ‘open for business’. This means a City Council that aims to foster success - by ensuring that transactions are completed quickly and easily, regulatory rules are clear and fairly applied, information is readily available, red tape and costs are eliminated and a positive, ‘can do’ culture flourishes. Improvements and innovations in the Council’s services would allow business to do what it does best - make money and create jobs.

Idea 8: Liveable city

Wellington is a highly-educated, cosmopolitan, international city. When it comes to quality of life, the Capital City consistently ranks among the world’s top 20 cities. This is the result of deliberate investment over many years. Sustaining this will be important as we compete to attract people and resources. Being socially inclusive, open to differences and new ideas will be vital. Reducing harmful emissions will also be important as we continue to protect and enhance the environment and our biodiversity.

What happens next?

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Economic Growth and Arts Chair Councillor Coughlan and Councillors have committed to explore the 8 Big Ideas further.

Funding will only be recommended if business cases stack up. Some of the ideas will then be considered and consulted on as part of the 2015-25 Long-term Plan.

Over the next few weeks we will explore each of the 8 ideas in more detail.