Ambitious investment plan to grow Capital

11 December 2014

An ambitious investment plan to propel the Capital’s economy forward for the next decade has been introduced by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown to overwhelming support from Wellington City Councillors.

In February, full public consultation will begin for Wellington City’s Long Term Plan (LTP) 2015-2025, which the Mayor says will set an exciting path toward sustained growth for the Capital.

“Next year, Wellingtonians will have a great opportunity to stamp their mark on the future of the Capital. The draft plan and financial strategy that Council endorsed today will guide this conversation.”

Mayor Wade-Brown says the plan provides capacity to unlock the city’s growth potential through investments in an international film museum, an indoor music arena, an airport runway extension, a convention centre, a tech hub, and a screen industry enterprise zone.

The plan also aims to transform the inner city and key transport spines such as Adelaide Road into vibrant, mixed use areas with shops, offices, cafes and apartments.

An exciting proposition to strengthen the Town Hall, revitalise Civic Square and develop a National Music Centre in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington and Victoria University’s School of Music is a key feature of the LTP.

Two broad options underpin the Long Term Plan discussions, says Mayor Wade-Brown. The first invests in projects that will expand the city’s economy and grow the rating base, and will cost a modest 3.9 percent rates increase on average over 10 years. The second is a flatline approach that will mean a 3.1 percent on average rates increase over the 10-year LTP.

“The 2015-2025 LTP is a visionary plan coupled with sound economic management to deliver jobs and sustainable prosperity,” says Mayor Wade-Brown. “The plan requires investment and that’s the question we’re asking Wellingtonians.

“Our stark choice is to invest in our quality of life and economic growth projects, or to watch the city stagnate and manage a decline in its vibrancy. I really look forward to hearing from people and organisations whether we have the mix of projects right and whether they consider the plan good value for money.

“This plan continues to support libraries, biodiversity, mountain-biking facilities and promotion, sports facilities and promotion of the capital as a great education, tourism and business destination. All of this, without cuts to existing services and without trade-offs, can be delivered for about $6 a day.”

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, chair of the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee, says that in coming years the Wellington City will continue to focus on strong, resilient infrastructure and maintain services at current high levels.

“Under the invest-to-grow option, Wellington City Council will establish a $200 million fund to support major economic and urban development projects in partnership with the private sector, the government and others in the region,” said Cr Lester.

“Around $150 million is also for transport and urban design to offer real transformation of Wellington’s city spaces and our economy – creating jobs and enhancing our quality of life for a modest increase in the average rates bill over ten years,” he said.

Now that the Wellington City Council has agreed to the overall financial strategy, a more detailed Draft Long Term Plan will be presented next year for public consultation to commence in March / April 2015. The Long Term Plan 2015-2025 will take effect July 1, 2015.

For more information, see Long-term Plan 2015 - 25

Overview of LTP details 2015/16 to 2025/26

The overall operational expenditure outlined in the provision plan:

Environment: $1.8 billion 2015/16 to 2025/26

Water, wastewater & stormwater; waste management; urban agriculture, gardens and reserves management; Zealandia & Wellington Zoo.

Social & recreation: $1.18 billion

Social housing; libraries; community centres/halls; sport & recreation facilities, community grants and access subsidies; public health & safety.

Transport: $707 million

Streets & roads; cycleways & walkways; bus priority lanes; road safety; parking; network planning & control.

Urban development: $415 million

Development of waterfront & public spaces; urban planning; heritage; building & development control (including consents); managing earthquake-prone buildings

Economic development: $515 million

Tourism & city promotion; events; venues; regional & external relations; grants fund.

Cultural and arts: $215 million

Galleries & museums; festivals; grants; arts partnerships; community arts; cultural attractions (Te Papa & Carter Observatory)

Governance: $173 million

Local elections; informing & engaging with residents; managing service requests; research, relationships with mana whenua; City Archives.

Invest for growth

The proposal provides capacity for us to invest with others in a range of initiatives to stimulate economic growth in the city:

  • A 300 metre extension to the Wellington International Airport runway, bringing extra visitors students and economic benefits.
  • A new international film museum, to showcase talent and attract and encourage visitors to stay in the city for longer.
  • A tech hub, supporting ICT start-ups to get established, collaborate with other businesses, and become successful exporters.
  • Exploring a screen industry precinct, supporting the city’s screen sector to create more film & TV productions.
  • A large scale performance arena to fill a gap in our current offering and draw in more large concerts and more visitors.
  • In addition we aim to stimulate economic growth through:
  • An urban development agency, to support the creation of vibrant, mixed use inner city neighbourhoods.
  • Major urban regeneration projects to stimulate the supply of housing.  The northern part of Adelaide Rd and the blocks along Kent and Cambridge Tce in Te Aro are priorities.
  • An expansion of our arts and events programme including the International Festival of Arts.
  • Contribution to a WW1 commemorative exhibition as with a view to a permanent museum space being created.

Expansions and smart projects

The invest to grow programme also has provision for a number of discretionary projects:

  • Expansion of the City to Sea Museum adding to its appeal as one of the Top 50 museums in the world.
  • Upgrade of Frank Kitts Park with the inclusion of Chinese Garden and renewed playground.
  • Funding for the creation of Ocean Exploration Centre on the south coast subject to matching funding from third parties.
  • An urban activation fund that will see pop-up events making use of the existing open spaces around the city.
  • A brand new library in Johnsonville to serve the growing northern area.
  • A hydraulic model of the city to guide our planning and future investment decisions around climate change adaptation.
  • A real time stormwater modelling system to improve the performance of the network and quality of our waterways.
  • A new hockey turf at the National Stadium and rejuvenation of the Basin Reserve.
  • Uptake of new LED lights to lower energy use and costs of lights and signals.
  • A $1m annual heritage building strengthening fund for three years.
  • A development scheme to strengthen the Town Hall and Civic Square and create a prime NZ music hub.
  • Te Motu Kairangi Heritage Park.