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Chamber’s report wants councils to make ‘hard calls'

Wellington City and the greater region are facing some very real challenges that local government leaders must address - that’s the message from Wellington Chamber’s pre-election report that has been released today.

The report details the issues Wellington is facing from a business point of view and makes calls on how they should be addressed by the incoming city and regional councils.

Chief among the issues is infrastructure: "Most importantly, the need for investment in infrastructure to ensure Wellington is resilient and to meet current, as well as future, growth demands."

The report says the city’s resilience and preparedness for shocks and stresses must be improved as a matter of urgency, including water, electricity and roads.

It calls for the full Let’s Get Welly Moving package, including two tunnels; a public transport network fit for purpose; continuing investment and prioritisation of the three waters assets; a cross-harbour water pipeline; improved road and rail access to the port and support growth of long-haul air connections; a convention centre and indoor arena.

It also wants more emphasis on economic development, rates rises to come down and be capped, council spending to be more transparent, more events attraction, and support for business to achieve carbon zero sustainability.

It says if the city is to tackle the infrastructure issues it needs councils that are prepared to do something different.

"Instead of making some hard calls, the councils have simply increased everyone’s rates. We need leaders who see and understand the bigger picture. Households and business are facing mounting cost increases, some of which are directly linked to the fact we’re based in Wellington. They just can’t keep paying more in rates. We need to look at other options."

It suggests the councils must seriously look at alternate funding mechanisms.

"They need to look at recycling and renewing assets to pay for new infrastructure. If we are going to invest in new assets, why not recycle our ownership in other assets to pay for it?"

Chamber Chief Executive John Milford says the report is designed to make it clear what business expects from the incoming council if they are to push the city and region ahead.

"Wellington has got massive projects with large price tags coming down the pipeline. What does Wellington do if we can’t afford it, when we can’t afford not to?"

Read the full report on the Chamber’s website.

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