News | 28 February 2023
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Wellington City Councillors approve draft annual plan budget

Wellington City Council has approved its draft budget for 2023/24, which includes a proposed 12.3% rates rise.

Birdseye view of Wharewaka and Te Papa area on waterfront

This works out to an average of $8 per household per week and would apply from 1 July 2023.

The budget prioritises continued investment in essential infrastructure, resilience and climate action – areas Wellingtonians said were most important in the city’s 10-year plan – and ensuring the city is ready for forecast growth of 50-80,000 new residents by 2050.

Key programmes for the year include continuing to fix water leaks and upgrade pipes; addressing safety concerns in central Wellington; increasing affordable housing supply; continuing to deliver improvements for bus, bike, and pedestrian access in the central city; seismic strengthening of public buildings including the central library; arts and events funding; and initiatives to reduce waste.

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau says it’s unfair to expect future generations to bear the brunt of climate change and under-investment in infrastructure.

I know things are really tough with the cost of living, climate impacts, and the world economy – but we must invest to build a resilient city.

“We had a healthy debate around the Council table, everyone was heard and while there were different views, it’s clear we all care deeply about Wellington.”

Chair of the committee, Councillor Rebecca Matthews, says there was extensive discussion about how to best balance the need to invest for the future, while keeping costs affordable for Wellingtonians.

“The Council debated a number of proposals today. However, some of those suggestions would have delayed major projects that Wellingtonians have told us are important.

“There’s a lot of stuff in the city that needs fixing as well as the drastic need for climate action. If we delay essential works, it just pushes the problem onto our tamariki to deal with.”

The 2023/24 budget is impacted by major cost pressures including increased inflation, borrowing, depreciation, and insurance costs that, without intervention, would have led to an increase of 16.5%. Recognising that similar cost pressures are faced by households and businesses, the Council took steps to bring the rates increase down.

These include deferring decisions around some new additional funding to next year, delaying debt repayments for Covid-related borrowing costs, using some surplus funds accumulated in prior years, and increasing some user fees and charges. Organisational savings of $4.5 million have been made, on top of $30 million saved over the past three years.

The public can have its say on the draft annual plan throughout April. It will then be debated and adopted by the Council in June.


  • The 12.3% and 16.5% figures are after growth (the increase in the number of ratepayers).
  • Decisions made at today’s meeting include increasing funding for Council Controlled Organisations by $342,000.
  • The 2023/24 Annual Plan is year three of the 2021-31 Long-term Plan. The Long-term Plan sets the Council’s direction for the next 10 years, outlining what it will be investing in, how much it may cost and how this will be funded. It is revised every three years. Initial community engagement on the 2024-34 Long-term Plan will start in April and aims to set the direction and priorities for the next ten years.