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Recycling Our City’s Assets And Project Partnering Is The Right Thing To Do For Future Generations

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce supports the new proposals presented to Wellington City Council this morning, which will support more manageable funding of the significant investment needed for Wellington.

The proposals include recycling of the Council’s asset portfolio and the use of alternative funding tools, such as partnering with businesses to strengthen and rebuild Civic Square, to fund what Wellington needs as part of the Wellington City Council’s Ten Year Long Term Plan.

"Recycling our city’s assets and project partnering is the right thing to do. With Wellington City Council’s current draft plans being well beyond the Council’s debt ceiling, blowing it out from 175% debt-to-income to 225% debt-to-income, it is both a fiscal and moral imperative that Councillors pursue alternative funding tools," says Jo Healey, Wellington Chamber of Commerce President.

"As the Mayor acknowledged in his introductory comments, the Commercial sector, particularly Wellington’s services sector, has been hit hard by Covid-19. Council has to make decisions that will support businesses to invest, employ, and grow, rather than decisions that exacerbate or add to the current delicate financial situation of many.

"This is also about intergenerational equity and sustainability. Having Wellington City Council’s borrowings blow out to two-hundred-and-twenty-five per cent of the council’s income is consigning future generations to a mountain of debt, as well as leaving future Councils with no headroom to mitigate for future shocks.

"We all know Wellington has massive challenges - a housing supply crisis, creaking water management system, roading and public transport infrastructure at capacity, and resilience issues ever prevalent. The Chamber has long been on the record about many of these issues.

"Wellington’s problems are all knotted tightly together and we’re all pulling at different parts of the knot’s strings. What it’ll take is strong leadership from our city officials, firm decisions, and action - and what’s been proposed is a step towards that.

"As the Chamber said during the recent library consultation, there was strong interest from local property developers to work with Wellington City Council and the opportunity for a sale and lease option to progress. A shared ownership model would have significant benefit for the city and give the council the ability to fund more elsewhere instead of picking the most expensive option to simply maintain the status quo. Revisiting this decision, given the situation, is the right call.

"We need to think creatively, Council must consider these alternative sensible and prudent ways to fund what’s needed, and consider all funding options to lessen the financial impact on the ratepayer."

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