Last October a refreshed, action-focussed Council was elected to serve the people of Wellington City. I am proud to lead that Council and report on the progress we have made.
Our finances are healthy and we met 12 of the 13 legislated financial prudence benchmarks.
Two of the biggest themes to come through in the election were the economy and transport. In response, within 90 days of the election, we:
We also contributed to the costs of the airport runway consent, worked with a developer on a new convention centre, brought the management of Wellington’s waterfront in-house and advanced plans for a film museum. I am delighted that our status as the country’s Events Capital has been confirmed with Wellington winning a majority of the 2014 New Zealand Association of Event Professionals Awards. That said, we will improve our Christmas and New Year programme in the coming year.
We put considerable energy into developing transport plans with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency, including agreement to progress the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit along our transport spine. We also completed the Tawa Valley Pathway – Ara Tawa, and modest cycle safety improvements. Clearly there is a need to do more since residents’ satisfaction with the safety and maintenance of cycle ways has dropped significantly, as interest in cycling grows.
Since we developed our current long-term plan, we have undertaken a significant programme to increase the resilience of our people, buildings, water and roading networks to a major earthquake. We have completed earthquake assessments on all the pre-1976 buildings. This work should provide us all with comfort that our city is well-prepared and that our programmes are more advanced than any other city in New Zealand.
As a Council, we will continue to address specific issues of importance to communities while also investing strategically to achieve our Towards Wellington 2040 Smart Capital vision. Wellington is in great shape as a city. Together we have the people and financial capacity to do more. I would like to acknowledge the work of elected members, staff and all our partners in taking the city forward over the last year. I look forward to working with you as we step up our investment in and commitment to our ambitious plan for sustainable and inclusive growth in our beautiful capital.