‘Invest to Grow’ 10-Year Plan gets strong community backing

26 May 2015

Formal deliberations on Wellington City Council’s 10-Year Plan began today – and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says she welcomes the strong public support for the ‘Invest to Grow’ theme of the 2015-25 plan.

Mayor Wade-Brown says 71 percent of people who used the Council’s new purpose-built consultation website support the overall 10-Year Plan and, importantly, a statistically-valid survey shows a similar level of support.

“Wellingtonians have told us that they like the idea of big proposals at the centre of our plan to stimulate growth in the city’s and region’s economy - like an airport runway extension, convention centre, museums and other initiatives.

“Wellingtonians appreciate the strategic direction and our commitment to ‘no cuts to services’.”

The Mayor and Councillors will spend the next two or three days debating the details of the 10-Year Plan and considering the initiatives raised by submitters.

The website was set up to communicate and engage with residents was a huge success with unparalleled traffic throughout the consultation period.

“The number of people who visited the website, compared with the 2012 LTP process, more than doubled. On the whole, the feedback we received is very supportive of the direction we are heading and our economic growth agenda.”

There was a 400% increase in the number of people submitting feedback via the web, which attracted 12,872 visits from 7568 people. Pages on the website were looked at 54,195 times.

Last week Wellington City Council won the Best Use of Social Media or App Award at the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) Web & Digital Awards for its use of social media to encourage people to have their say over its draft Long Term Plan.

Portfolio Leader for Community Engagement, Councillor Simon Woolf, says the Council wanted to get feedback from as many people as possible during the consultation period and succeeded.

“The team at Wellington City Council hosted two 'virtual wards' where people could use #askWCC on Twitter or Facebook to ask questions or provide feedback on the plan. The 'virtual wards' were popular with Wellingtonians and especially their elected representatives. The judges especially liked that the process gave us an opportunity to collaborate across all levels of council.”

The Council also had around 170 people speak at the Long Term Plan’s oral hearings. They were part of a total 1017 submissions received, including 597 emails, 232 online submissions and 188 written submissions in the post.

When asked in an online questionnaire if they support the Council’s broad approach to invest for growth - in addition to providing current levels of service - 70% said yes. Only 10% were opposed. This is consistent with research late last year that showed a representative sample of Wellingtonians agreed with its economic growth agenda. The research also found 75% supported an average rates increase of 3.9% over 10 years to invest in growth projects rather than a 3.1% increase to deliver business as usual.

Samples of the feedback on specific projects in the LTP include:

  • Investing in the tech sector – 70% support, 8% opposed 
  • New concert venue – 50% support, 21% opposed
  • Improving international air connections – 51% support, 34% opposed
  • Support for the film industry – 61% support, 6% opposed
  • Revamp of Civic Square – 78% support, 10% opposed
  • Investing more in events – 74% support, 9% opposed
  • Regenerating inner city precincts – 76% support, 7% opposed
  • Improving public spaces such as laneways – 72% support, 6% opposed
  • Optimising infrastructure to realise savings – 83% support, 3% opposed
  • The most submissions Council received on an issue was cycling. It received 500 submissions with 493 supporting the plan to invest in a cycle path network.

Deliberations finish this Friday and the LTP will be adopted on June 24.