New 'Eco City' Plan to Secure Zealandia's Future

28 March 2012

Wellington City Council has voted to consult the public on a proposal to create a new Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to manage Zealandia, the Zoo, the Botanic Garden and Otari-Wilton Bush.

The Council's Strategy and Policy Committee considered a report by the Zealandia Working Group and agreed to consult on the working group's preferred option, which is to establish a new CCO (ECO-City) to manage the operations of the city's four main ecological assets, while maintaining their distinct identities.

Eco-City would be managed by a set of common trustees and one shared management team.

The working group, chaired by Wellington businessman and International Cricket Council vice president Alan Isaac, was established by the Strategy and Policy Committee on 15 December to review Zealandia's request for $950,000 a year for three years. The working group considered a range of options to address Zealandia's ongoing funding issues.

The committee's recommendation will be considered at the next full Council meeting 3 April. If adopted, it will go out for consultation as part of the Long-term Plan process. Wellington City's strategic vision includes a strong recognition of its unique urban ecology in the 'Eco City' pillar.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says today's vote, if endorsed by the Council and the public, will secure the future of Zealandia.

The individual identities and strengths of Zealandia, the Zoo, the Botanic Garden and Otari-Wilton Bush will be preserved and enhanced.

"This is all about enhancing and promoting Wellington's extraordinary biodiversity, conservation and education close to the heart of our smart capital," says the Mayor.

"The operations of Zealandia, the Zoo, Botanic Garden and Otari-Wilton Bush include scientific research and volunteer effort, and under a single governance structure we can maximise their potential.

"They can share services such as finance, IT systems and marketing and facilities management. There will also be better opportunities for destination marketing, membership systems and cross-selling to visitors and members - and it can all be promoted locally, regionally and internationally through the Council's marketing arm, Positively Wellington Tourism.

"Together these marvellous places tell Wellington's story of caring for the natural environment, understanding our impact on the planet and through enjoyable visitation, leading to greater harmony with other species' needs.

"I think this is the best way forward not only for Zealandia but the Zoo, the Botanic Garden and Otari-Wilton Bush. The preferred option provides a solid base to grow the revenue base of Zealandia and the Zoo while significantly reducing the cost to the Council and ratepayers.

"This proposal will allow Wellington to showcase its environmental assets and tell its ecological story.

"The Council is adamant that all of our possible options will be consulted on, from the minor change of Zealandia becoming a CCO to the full combination. This combination is one way of telling Wellington's story to ourselves and to the world."