Capital City connects to its strategic future

2 June 2016

The agreement of Wellington City Council’s budget for 2016/17, enacting Year 2 of its Long-term Plan 2015-2025, implements its strategic vision Wellington 2040: Smart Capital, says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

At the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee yesterday, Councillors concluded deliberations on the Annual Plan 2016/17. A range of new initiatives were recommended, and the after-growth rates increase, recommended to the Council on 29 June, will remain within the target of 3.6 percent.

Mayor Wade-Brown says that while the new initiatives captured a good deal of attention in this year’s Annual Plan consultation, it’s the commitment to the Council’s Wellington 2040 strategic vision and fundamentally improving the Capital’s resilience that really tell the story.

She says many areas of new spending implement the Council’s Wellington 2040: Smart Capital vision, which has a foundation of four pillars: People-centred City, Connected City, Eco-City and Dynamic Central City.

“In the budget for the next financial year, we’ve continued our commitment to the programmes and activities that make Wellington a great place to live,” says the Mayor.

“Our increase of $500,000 overall of new money in 2016/17 to more broadly implement a living wage underscores our commitment to a people-centred city, as it provides an income to enable more workers and their families to participate in society.

“We’re investing in laneways, safer walking and cycling networks and the airport runway extension to better connect our Capital.

“Our environmental commitment includes the Low Carbon Capital Plan, and the purchase of the Zealandia visitor centre allows the Karori Wildlife Trust the long term financial stability it needs to continue world-leading urban ecology and tourism.

“The investment of $200,000 into the outdoor events series introduced by Cr Ray Ahipene-Mercer will enliven our dynamic central city,” says the Mayor.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, chair of the Governance, Finance and Planning Committee, says it was pleasing to have responded to so many of the public initiatives while keeping the rates increase to a modest 3.6 percent increase.

“When the Council committed to the Invest-to-Grow programme in the Long-term Plan 2015-2025, we wanted to keep the rates increases to a manageable 3.9 percent across the 10 years of the plan. We’ve kept to that commitment,” he says.

“Our Annual Plan and year two of the Long-term Plan continues our investment in our communities, our economy and the drivers of our great quality of life.”

The Council will meet on 29 June to finalise the Annual Plan 2016/17 and set the rates and budget for the next financial year, beginning 1 July.

Among the total spend of about $86 million for transport (capex and opex), the Council unanimously agreed almost $9 million for cycling planning and infrastructure, with two thirds of this money coming from central government funding. 

An urban development agency was agreed, which will focus on housing affordability, packaging of land and encouraging better quality urban design.

Some fees were dropped, including charges for under-5 swimmers and late burials.

This coming financial year, the Council will start strengthening the Town Hall and, subject to Council approval, start building the Movie Museum and Convention Centre.

In addition, recommendations include support for:

  • Lyall Bay Foreshore Resilience Plan
  • Toitu Poneke Sports Hub
  • Ngauranga to Airport transport corridor, minor capital improvements
  • Tawa Town Centre upgrade
  • Improving pedestrian and cycling safety on Middleton Road
  • Increases to community grants
  • Newtown Festival
  • Artificial playing surface at former Terawhiti Bowling Club in Karori
  • New water fountains for the central city
  • Warm Up Wellington.

Table of main expenditure (rounded to nearest million)

 Activity  Operational expenditure   Capital expenditure 
 Governance  $18m  $116 000
 Environment  $159m
 $38m 
 Economic Development  $42m  $7m
 Cultural Wellbeing  $20m  $9m
 Social and Recreation  $109m  $42m
 Urban Development  $28m  $14m
 Transport  $65m  $41m