It's Time to Get Welly Moving
The message from business to Council to get things moving couldn’t be clearer following today’s ‘Wellington Summit’ says the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
"While the Chamber shares the Mayor and Council’s optimism for the city, we’ve got to start seeing things happen," says John Milford, Chief Executive.
"Businesses need reassurance that progress is imminent on some of our most pressing transport infrastructure issues, on a plan for the waterfront and the ferry terminals and on housing projects in the city and suburbs.
"Currently, congestion on our roads and on public transport is getting worse and key infrastructure is still not ready for the ‘big one'.
"Our contribution to the discussion was that the resilience in our infrastructure and buildings should be the number one concern for Council in terms of earthquake strengthening.
"Wellington is facing a unique set of challenges. In the last year, the commercial sector has had to bear earthquake strengthening costs, higher rental costs on strengthened buildings, significantly higher insurance costs, and higher fire levy costs. There are also, greater costs pressures to ensure wages and wellbeing are paramount, and ever increasing compliance imposts.
"We also heard stories from property developers and business owners on the time and financial costs in terms of new builds. If the city is going to grow to fit 50,000 to 80,000 people as the Council expects, they are going to have to ensure that time and money spent on compliance is at a much more reasonable level.
"To add to this, it’s proposed that rates will go up, and the business rates multiplier will increase. All the while much needed projects just aren’t progressing. We’re all paying more, but it sure doesn’t feel like we’re getting more.
"Businesses are rightly asking why they are being squeezed so hard by the Council when congestion on our roads is getting worse and key infrastructure projects have stalled.
"The council is also having to borrow more, and pay more to service its loans. No doubt we need to improve the city’s assets, so we need to have a mature conversation about recycling them.
"After more than a decade of delay, we've got to get Welly moving. And as someone said today, the best time to do something was 30 years ago, the next best time to do something is right now."