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Wellington Pre-election Report released

Wellington Pre-election Report released

Wellington City Council Chief Executive Kevin Lavery has released his 2019 Pre-election Report today, saying: “The Report is intended to stimulate discussion about key issues for Wellington ahead of this year’s local body elections.”

The Pre-election Report can be read here.

“It is aimed at both voters and candidates so both have the context in which to make their decisions to vote and/or stand. Successful candidates will understand the context in which they will assume their duties as a Mayor or Councillor for Wellington.

“It has been a busy three years and Wellington is thriving and growing,” said Mr Lavery.

“We are in a good position because of a lot of hard work. We have met and are still meeting challenges from the Kaikoura earthquake while continuing to deliver over 400 high-quality services to over 220,000 people every single day,” he said.

The report sets out the key challenges and opportunities facing Wellington and the Council over the coming three years and beyond, including: the operating constraints of a growth environment, resilience and climate change, transport and urban development, affordable and social housing and enhancing Wellington’s creative capital status. The report sets out a number of important decisions the new Council will need to make.

The report also sets out the Council’s financial position.

Mr Lavery said: “The Council’s financial position is strong. This is reflected in our AA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.”

As part of the 2018-28 Long-term Plan the Council agreed to a ten-year $2.3 billion capital expenditure programme. Of that funding:

- $1.2 billion will go to core transport and three waters infrastructure
- $1.2 billion will fund asset renewal
- $0.18 billion will be invested into responding to the city’s growth needs
- $0.93 billion will be allocated towards service-level improvements.

“At the same time, the city faces significant resilience issues arising out of the Kaikoura earthquake. Some $257 million in lost commercial rateable value, over $200 million of capital projects adding pressure to the rates line for seismic strengthening projects for the Town Hall and St James Theatre, contributions to the Unreinforced Masonry programme and water resilience, in addition to that has been $30 million for temporary solutions to the closure of the Central Library,” he said.

The Council’s debt position is conservative and ranges from 120 to 167% of annual income over the next 10 years, well below the Council’s 175% cap. Debt is used to fund the Council’s investment in long-term assets and is spread to share both the cost and the benefit across the life of the asset.

The Council’s starting borrowing position of $546 million equates to $2551 per person in Wellington. This is equivalent to a household earning $75,000 a year having a mortgage of just under $95,000 and an investment portfolio worth $85,200.

“We are in great shape, both as a city and as an organisation. There are challenges ahead, but there are opportunities ahead. The next three years will be pivotal to Wellington’s long-term future and to ensure we stay in great shape.

“However, there are constraints and this will likely impact the forthcoming 2021-31 Long-term Plan. There will need to be some reprioritisation and re-sequencing of the Council’s work with longer time-scales than those agreed in the 2018-28 Long-term Plan,” he said.

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