Going for Growth: Our Long-term Plan

23 September 2014

We have it good in Wellington. 

Wellington at night.

We enjoy better health, are more affluent and benefit from higher levels of education than other city-dwellers around the country (Source: Quality of Life Survey 2012 (4MB PDF). Our city already ranks among the world’s top 20 in international surveys, and Wellingtonians know it: the 2014 Residents Survey reveals that 89% of us think this is a great place to live. But why settle for great when we could have amazing?

We are in the early stages of developing our plan and budget for 2015–2025 in consultation with Wellingtonians. This is also known as the Long-term Plan (LTP). All councils are required by law to set a 10-year plan and review it every 3 years. The LTP covers everything we do and how we pay for it. This includes services like looking after our roads and footpaths, maintaining our parks and recreation facilities, upgrading our stormwater systems and enhancing our central business district (CBD).

Our aim is to create a long-term plan that achieves a balance between the right level of investment in our city’s future and keeping debt and rates affordable for all Wellingtonians.

We have a clear steer on prioritising our work – we are about maintaining our city in the most cost effective way while simultaneously taking our city towards its ‘smart capital’ vision – a smarter, greener, more dynamic city. Our role is to support and provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, workers and residents. We can do both and we will. In a snapshot, our long-term plan outlines how we will:

Deliver the basics well

We have been looking carefully at the condition of our water and roading infrastructure. The early work shows it’s in better shape than we thought, which allows us to reprioritise our capital expenditure. This also means we can encourage growth in parts of the city where infrastructure is already in place.

Invest in selected projects

Our focus is on projects that increase the value of our city (our rating base) while providing economic returns. Our plan involves using the Council’s strong financial position to invest in projects that will provide the impetus for business and population growth. We have been engaging with the business community to identify projects where we can actively partner with others to generate more business activity, more visitors and ideally more jobs for Wellingtonians.

Our eight big ideas include the airport runway extension, a new convention centre, a new film museum, a central-city tech precinct and a film precinct in Miramar.

Prepare for the future

So how do we make sure our city can cope with this growth? We already know that Wellington City’s population is expected to grow from the current 200,000 to approximately 250,000 over the next 30 years.

Our draft Urban Growth Plan ensures that as the city’s population increases, new houses, infrastructure and services are developed sustainably and in areas that benefit the city the most so that residents continue to enjoy a world-class quality of life. The plan is action-focused and builds on, updates and replaces our existing urban development and transport strategies. It seeks to preserve the city’s character, keep it compact and connected to nature, and ensures we have an efficient, sustainable and accessible transport network.

Our draft Urban Growth Plan includes plans to regenerate Victoria Street, stimulate residential development on the edge of the central city, and build partnerships to deliver the double tunnelling of Mount Victoria and the Terrace Tunnel and improved access to the airport. You can view the draft Urban Growth Plan. We encourage you to read the full document and tell us what you think by 13 October 2014.

Encourage participation

We have invested a lot into the city’s social and recreation infrastructure in recent years, and are proud to provide more libraries, pools, galleries and museums per capita than Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. We’ll focus now on how we can get more value from these facilities. We will also be looking at how we can better showcase our current offerings and refresh our programmes so they remain relevant in the coming years.

Connect strategy to money

We need our financial strategy to show how we pay for the things we plan to do. We have identified significant savings through shared services and modernisation but we have room to borrow more without it having a negative impact on our strong credit rating. This will be balanced against the need for some rate increases in the early years of the LTP at around 1% above inflation.

So what do you think?

We are at the early stages of our planning and would like your input.

You are welcome to attend a public meeting to hear more about and give feedback on our approach to the 2015–25 Long-term Plan. This is being held on:

  • 5.30–7.30pm, 24 September Committee Room 1, Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street

You can RSVP for this meeting, or provide your thoughts to us, by emailing longtermplan@wcc.govt.nz or by phoning Marissa Cairncross on (04) 803 8683).

You can also provide feedback through your local Councillor.

This will not be your only opportunity to comment on the plan. The Council will be developing the plan in greater detail over the next six months after which there will be a period of formal consultation (March to April 2015). During this time you will able to comment on our expenditure on services and investment in key projects.

If you would like to receive information about this formal consultation period, please let us know.