News | 15 July 2022
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Creating a thriving economy for Pōneke

This is the third of five major challenges facing the capital, as laid out in Wellington City Council’s Pre-Election Report for 2022. This report is produced every three years before the local body elections to provide information and promote public discussion about the issues facing the local authority.

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Pōneke has an important role to play in supporting the greater Wellington region’s economy to recover from COVID-19 and enable businesses and residents to thrive. 

The city represents New Zealand’s most creative, productive and carbon efficient economic environment – in 2020, two square kilometres of our central city produced 6.4 percent of New Zealand’s GDP.

The past three years have been challenging for the city, its businesses and Wellingtonians. While the city has broadly dealt well with the impacts of COVID-19, it is important to quickly enable businesses and residents to thrive.


  • 61 percent of Wellingtonians had their economic situation impacted by COVID-19 (QoL, ‘20)
  • 67 percent of Wellingtonians can work from home (QoL, ‘20)
  • 72 of those who can work from home expect to work from home more than they did in the past (QoL, '20)
  • 71 percent of European/Pakeha residents owned their own homes in Wellington, compared to 41 percent of Pacific people and 50 percent of Māori (Census 2018)
  • 47 percent of Wellingtonians agree that Wellington is lively and attractive, a significant decline from 69 percent in 2020 (RMS ‘21)
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Activity planned for the next three years

The Council’s challenge will be supporting the economy to recover from COVID-19, enabling businesses and residents to thrive in a vibrant city. This includes understanding and managing related challenges, such as supply chain and resilience issues, that are affecting communities and businesses, and may affect the delivery of the Council’s own work programmes. When costs increase, the Council may need to re-prioritise or re-phase projects. 

Find out what is being done to support the economy below.

Supporting our city to transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Attracting and delivering events.
  • Addressing city safety concerns, with a focus on increasing the central city’s vibrancy.
  • Collaborating with businesses, central government and education providers to attract and retain talent and facilitate city growth.
  • Collaborating with local and central government, mana whenua, social sector organisations, and businesses to address inequalities.

Speed-up the transition to a zero-carbon and zero-waste circular economy

  • Partnerships with central government, businesses, communities and mana whenua to deliver on Te Atakura – First to Zero.
  • Supporting and working with local businesses to create solutions and pathways forward when responding to the climate emergency.

Continue delivering placemaking projects
Placemaking is an important part of enabling city vibrancy. To support our city vibrancy and its economic benefits, the Council will need to consider investment in placemaking, especially in places like the Golden Mile and Courtenay Place. Activity includes:

  • Street cleanliness.
  • Urban art and laneways developments.
  • Green spaces to rest, work and play.
  • Outdoor dining spaces.
  • Activations such as street entertainment.

Activate the central city to support retail and hospitality
Retail and hospitality are a core component of our vibrant city. The Council will need to identify and implement ways to enable our diverse local cultures to shine through events, festivals, and supporting hospitality and retail to be creative in delivering uniquely Wellington experiences.

Continue housing and homelessness programmes
Making sure Wellingtonians have safe, affordable housing is a necessity. The Council is currently developing a new, collaborative approach to identifying and creating new ways for mana whenua and Māori, the broader community, businesses, and the Council to work together to re-define how we address homelessness in Wellington. Activity confirmed will include:

  • Establishment of a cohesive platform for mana whenua and Māori, social services agencies, and other community stakeholders to work together to reduce homelessness.
  • Continued development of Te Kāinga affordable rental units.

Read the full Pre-Election Report