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Mixed feelings about Council's Progress

Chamber pleased with Council’s progress, but disappointed about 2.49% rates increase and living wage


Wellington City Council’s decision to increase rates is disappointing says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley.

“While we’re supportive of the progress and pace the Council has made producing the Annual Plan, we still caution council on its spending.

“This is not to say the Chamber is against future investment or consideration of future project expenditure. The council needs to ensure the city has what it needs, to generate business activity, to make our city regionally, nationally, and internationally attractive and vibrant.

“But we should be well informed and thoroughly convinced about adding to the city’s debt – with a plan on how we pay for it.

“With continued uncertainty about future liabilities such as earthquake strengthening of council buildings, legal action from leaky homes, and as the region awaits the outcome from the Local Government Commission’s reorganisation proposal, it is important that expenditure within the council’s operations is well considered.

“Council must continue to operate within financial prudence as the economic recovery begins to be cemented in.

“The council must be absolutely focused on growth – because it’s business and investment that are going to get the city humming. We’re pleased to see extra funding allocated to the economic development fund, but again we want to see further clarification about how this will be distributed.

“The Council’s focus should not be about growing the rate base – it’s about being a competitive city again.

“We are still concerned that the council’s is pursuing a living wage, in particular the method in which the council made this decision.

“The living wage incurs additional operating cost on the city and ratepayers which is not in the council’s mandate. Minimum wage and employee income subsidies are a central government issue for which individuals and business contribute through tax.

“As a business organisation we question whether the adoption of the living wage was a prudent business decision.”

For the Chamber’s submission on the draft annual plan see here:http://www.wecc.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/77546/WELLINGTON-EMPLOYERS-CHAMBER-OF-COMMERCE-SUBMISSION-ON-THE-WCC-DAP-2014-2015.pdf

Ends

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