What a difference a year makes

13 November 2014

The Wellington City Council has made significant progress on the vision and projects to propel the Capital forward, said Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown today.

Silhouettes against sunset harbourside.

On the one year anniversary of the first Council meeting since the 2013 local body elections, the Mayor said Council members and the Wellington City Council are demonstrating our collective commitment to making Wellington a better place to live, a better place to do business, and an even more resilient city.

“We set a brisk pace and we’ve continued to deliver for Wellington City,” said Mayor Wade-Brown. “Our first year demonstrates we have both the will and capability of providing excellent service to Wellingtonians, all for an average  of$5.85 a day per resident.

“I congratulate Council members, Wellington City Council staff and our community and business partners for delivering on a broad range of environmental, economic, social and community initiatives,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.

“We’ve delivered new incentives to boost the building sector, became the first Council to implement a living wage and trebled the cycling budget.

“We’re growing the economy, the rating base and jobs through projects like the Wellington Convention Centre and reducing costs for new building projects to stimulate growth.

“We’re protecting our sense of place through the Wellington Town Belt Bill being approved for Parliament, and increasing assistance for earthquake strengthening for heritage buildings.

“We’re working hard for Wellingtonians and contributing to a high quality of life, where 89 percent of Wellingtonians report a “good” or better quality of life, which is the highest in New Zealand.

“And we’re transforming our city with ‘tactical urbanism’, through rapid but relatively low-cost pop-up projects.

“I’m pleased with what we’ve already achieved over the past year. This is a council focussed on action and we’re in great shape to engage citizens and push on with our next 10-year budget,” she said.

Highlights of achievements

  • A no cuts, no surprises 2014/15 Annual Plan, before any other local authority.
  • Consensus on a growth package, including 8 Big Ideas:
    • Better international air connections, including longer runway
    • Tech precinct
    • Film Museum
    • Conference and concert venues
    • Miramar Framework
    • ‘Open for Business’ culture
    • Improvements to transport network
    • Investing in our ‘Liveable City’
  • Implemented a $3m Economic Initiatives Development Fund (109KB PDF) and $2m in the Destination Wellington programme.
  • Halved Development Contributions to stimulate construction and encourage green-star developments.
  • Approved a partnership to establish the Wellington Convention Centre and five star Hilton hotel to fill a significant gap in Wellington’s urban fabric and contribute hundreds of jobs.
  • Led the formation of WREDA, a single regional economic development agency.
  • Set up Wellington Water for the region’s metropolitan area, and we are developing a regional approach to the provision of IT infrastructure.
  • Upgrading several streets and lanes in the CBD.
  • Partnered with Central Government for Wellington Housing Accord, aiming for an additional 7000 homes over five years through streamlined consent process and land availability.
  • Strengthening international relations: including closer relationships with Sydney and San Francisco, signing an education MOU with sister city Sakai in Japan, a successful business and education delegation to China and Japan, and the Mayor joining the executive for Mayors for Peace.
  • Signed MOC agreement with technology giant NEC, to enable the company and the Council to test and refine a range of technologies to make Wellington a Smart Capital.
  • City Housing upgrades: $48 million Newtown Park Apartments upgrade completed by November 2013, Berkeley Dallard and Etona Apartments complexes upgrades completed, and the $7.4 million transformation of the Kotuku Apartments, in Kemp Street, Kilbirnie has recently begun.
  • Begun Johnsonville Triangle works, including widening the State Highway 1 off-ramp, changes to some intersections and constructing a new bridge with cycle lanes, as part of the Johnsonville Town Centre plan.
  • Agreed $11million upgrade project to transform Victoria Street. Plans for the area, include several new apartment complexes and a proposed new Whitireia and WelTec campus for more than 1000 students on the Farmers/Deka site which fronts Cuba, Dixon and Victoria streets.
  • International Association of Public Participation (IAP2):  The Council’s City Housing unit received two Highly Commended awards for tenant involvement in the Housing Upgrade Programme, and the Town Belt Planning team.
  • Cycle ways: Tawa Shared Pathway Ara Tawa completed. Cycling budget trebled to $4.3 million. Planning commenced for Island Bay Strategic Cycling Network and work with cycle advocates on a better network across the city.
  • Local Hosts reaching into suburban centres.
  • Unanimously agreed to advance the Wellington Town Belt Bill for consideration by Parliament.
  • Agreed an MOU on the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor with NZTA and GWRC, working closely to solve Basin and Bus Rapid Transit issues.

All this contributes to improving the quality of life for Wellingtonians and visitors. Recent Quality of Life survey results show 89 percent of Wellingtonians report a “good” or better quality of life, the highest in NZ, compared to the average of 82%.

Thirty-three percent perceive their quality of life has improved in the last year, compared with the average of 27 percent.