Review Aims to Maintain Capital's Momentum

6 May 2011

Significant changes in New Zealand over the past year - including the economic and political impacts of the Christchurch earthquakes and the formation of the Auckland 'supercity' - have prompted Wellington City Council to start a planning and prioritisation process designed to maintain the momentum of the capital city.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, supported by Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon, today received unanimous backing from the Council's Strategy and Policy Committee for a process that will prioritise key initiatives to ensure the city continues to grow and develop over the next three years - to 2015.

The committee - on which the Mayor and all Councillors sit - has agreed that a workshop be held to ensure that the key city challenges and priorities to 2015 are identified. The workshop will be held later this month.

Mayor Wade-Brown says there is a degree of urgency to the process in light of the impact of national events of the past few months. "I want the Council to come up with a range of initiatives that will maintain the great momentum of Wellington's development over the past couple of decades.

"The 2012/15 Long-Term Plan is where all ratepayers can have a say in the long-term future of their city - and I want to ensure that potential key choices to be made are identified, costed and transparently presented so that real decisions can be made."

Mayor Wade-Brown is working with other metropolitan mayors from Auckland to Dunedin in a collaborative way to build the economic success of New Zealand.

She says this month is an opportune time for the workshop. "Our thinking on the 2011/12 Annual Plan is out for feedback, and it's time to think slightly more long-term.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the intention is to review the Council's current priorities and come up with fresh ideas.

"Everything will be considered - including whether the Council's events and arts policies and initiatives should be boosted, or go in a different direction. We can also look at our infrastructure priorities and also the general economic direction of the city and region."

Cr McKinnon says the Council will not conduct the short-term review in isolation - "we obviously intend to call on and listen to the expertise of Wellingtonians in how to meet the new realities.

"We have to confront the issues raised by the formation of the Auckland Council - Auckland is now a real force and we have to be ready to respond to its political and economic power, plus the changing economic profile of Wellington itself.

"We also have to respond to the fact that Christchurch - and rightly - has a huge call on the country's resources as it starts its recovery."