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Wellington's ten year plan

31 March 2006

Public transport, parks, flood protection and water supply investment focus of ten year plan

How to pay for investment in the region’s passenger rail system, parks, flood defences and water supply are the key issues in Greater Wellington Regional Council’s proposed ten year plan, being released for consultation this weekend.

“Outside our focus on these key issues we have taken a business as usual approach to the rest of our work,” said Council Chairman Ian Buchanan. “As a result of this approach we have been able to keep the overall regional rate increase proposed for next year to 6.32%. Elsewhere in our budget we’ve kept costs down. We aren’t proposing any major new activities and our focus is on doing what we do well. For example the levy on water supply remains unchanged this year.”

Ian Buchanan said that the proposed major investments in key infrastructure were important issues for the region.

“We think our proposed investments are essential to the future economic, social and environmental health of the regional community cannot be put off any longer,” said Mr Buchanan. “In particular our proposal to improve the region’s passenger transport system through new and refurbished trains and better bus services marks the end of 20 years of underinvestment in this service.”

“Last year Greater Wellington sought the community’s views on proposals to undertake major investment in the region’s public transport network – particularly with regard to the rail network. The response was that we should go ahead with new investment and therefore they are included in this plan, and are the main reason for increased transport rates in 2006/7.”

Ian Buchanan said that Greater Wellington proposed to share the cost of these improvements between regional ratepayers, rail users and central government.
“Central government and ratepayers are both contributing toward improving the region’s passenger transport system, and from July this year we are asking that rail users contribute through a 15% rise in fares. The fare increases will be the first in four years.”
Mr Buchanan said that the other key issues Greater Wellington was seeking feedback on include:
Should we speed up the building of flood protection works in the Hutt Valley, and start new projects in the Wairarapa? This will mean increased costs for the communities who directly benefit, as well as for ratepayers across the region.

Should Greater Wellington expand its network of regional parks? Or, should we have additional facilities and services in our current parks?

With water use in Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington increasing, should we promote water conservation or should we investigate constructing a major new water source, potentially costing up to $102 million?

A Sustainable Region, a summary of Greater Wellington’s ten-year plan, will be distributed to all households from this weekend (1-2 April). Submissions are due by 4 May 2006.

ENDS

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