Residents Happy with Council's Performance

1 September 2011

Wellington City Council's 2010/11 Annual Report shows the Council has scored highly on the key issues of service efficiency and overall performance.

The Council's 2011 Residents' Satisfaction Survey found the Council generally met, and in many cases exceeded, service expectations.

The survey also found 97 percent of residents rated Wellington as a great place to live.

Of the 600 residents surveyed, 77 percent of Wellingtonians were satisfied or very satisfied with the Council's performance in the last year with 72 percent believing Council services offered value for money.

The Annual Report was formally approved and adopted at last night's Council meeting.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington residents continue to enjoy a relatively stable economy and an outstanding quality of life despite the challenges of a slowing New Zealand economy.

"Even in turbulent times, the foundations of Wellington's success as the 'coolest little capital in the world' remain unchanged," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

"Our people are as friendly and creative as ever, our communities as strong, our arts and entertainment scene as vibrant, and our environment as beautiful and dramatic. We remain a cosmopolitan and compact city with a wild edge."

Highlights in the Annual Report include a number of key projects completed or undertaken in the last year:

  • The release in June of Toward 2040: A Smart Green Wellington, the Council's strategic vision for the city's development over the next 30 years.
  • Transport improvements along the Golden Mile, providing a quicker, more reliable public transport route through the city centre.
  • Three new artificial sportsfields.
  • Opening of the new ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie.
  • Opening of Te Raukura (the Wharewaka), built in partnership with Te Wharewaka O Poneke Charitable Trust.
  • Introduction of an improved recycling system.
  • Refurbishment of Midland and Cobblestone Parks and opening of new public toilets on the waterfront and in Courtenay Place.
  • Pedestrian improvements along Waterloo Quay, adjacent to the Westpac Stadium.
  • Introduction of free wifi on the waterfront and CBD.

Prudent financial management in tough year

The Council posted a net surplus of $16 million in 2010/11, although this was less than forecasted due to an increase in the provision for the leaky homes Financial Assistance Package.

The budgeted surplus for the year had been $49 million, but the Council increased its provision for leaky homes claims by $34 million.

The Council's Governance Portfolio Leader and Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Subcommittee, Councillor Ian McKinnon, hopes Wellingtonians will find the time to read the report as it gives an insight into the governance and management of the city.  The report not only covers the financial statements but also the performance of the Council in all its activity areas.

Cr McKinnon says the surplus has been spent on specific capital projects and cannot be used to offset rates. The Local Government Act stipulates that councils must run balanced budgets.

The Council's net borrowings increased to $31 million during the year but Cr McKinnon says overall debt "remains well within prudent levels".

During the year, the Council also received a credit rating of AA+ from Standard and Poor's. "This is a tremendous outcome for the Council and will provide greater access to debt markets and improved pricing," says Cr McKinnon.

"The challenging environment this year has highlighted the importance of strong stewardship of the city's environment, facilities and finances.

"We also maintained rates at levels that are moderate by national standards despite significant cost pressures."

The Annual Report shows the Council's net worth at the end of the year was $6.2 billion - a $263 million increase from the previous year. The Council received a total income of $416 million for the year, which included $226 million in rates, and spending totalled $400 million. The biggest spending ticket item was the environment ($126 million), which includes maintaining and protecting parks, botanic gardens, coastlines and open spaces, the city's water supply, stormwater, sewerage networks and landfills. The second biggest spending item was social and recreation ($88 million) which includes libraries, swimming pools, recreation centres, spotsfields, playgrounds and housing.