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Wellington City Council Committee Makes Major Long-term Plan Decisions

At today’s Koraū Tōtōpū Long-term Plan, Finance and Performance Committee meeting Mayor Tory Whanau and Wellington City Councillors made major decisions in the steps to confirming its 2024-34 Long-term Plan. Final votes on the decisions will be held at a full Council meeting at the end of June.

Key outcomes were:

  • A provisional rates increase of 17% will be finalised following decisions today
  • A record $1.8 billion to fix water infrastructure
  • A new green, ethical Perpetual Investment Fund using the proceeds of selling the Council’s minority airport shares
  • Improved transport with new bus lanes and cycle lanes to connect our city and suburbs
  • Climate change action by transforming our waste system, decarbonising our pools, and funding the Green Network Plan to bring nature into the city
  • More city centre revitalisation, by completing Te Matapihi Central Library, supporting the arts sector and boosting funding for city safety.

Mayor Whanau says, “The decisions we made today deliver the investment needed to help Pōneke continue to be a city where people and nature thrive, while balancing our economic constraints.

“A tough economic environment has made this a difficult plan to put together. Like other councils around the country, we are facing external pressures from inflation, rising interest rates, rampant insurance costs and aging water infrastructure.

“I have made it clear that water is a priority for the Council in this LTP. We have significantly increased our funding in water - over the 10 years of this LTP one in every four dollars we spend on capital will go to the three waters.

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“The addition to the LTP of an initiative to decarbonise our pool network will save the Council an estimated $10 million, helping to offset the cost of new initiatives to boost funding for city safety and the Capital Kiwi programme. It will also reduce our carbon emissions by the equivalent of removing 1300 cars off our roads every day.

“We have had to make some hard decisions about how we fix some longstanding problems and how we responsibly fund this while being mindful of the pressure on rates and on our borrowing.

“It’s important we make the necessary investment in our city now, to ensure it flourishes for our communities and future generations to come. This includes delivering better public transport, housing, revitalising our city, fixing essential infrastructure, and tackling climate change.

“By transferring our minority holding in airport shares, we will be able to mitigate our large insurance gap and save ourselves from having to cut potentially hundreds of millions from our capital expenditure.

“In getting rates to where they are we have already done away with all the low hanging fruit. What is left is our transformational actions which we have already started to deliver.

“To me, the choice was either sell our shares in one asset, to create a better more resilient asset, or make such big cuts to our core services that our city would essentially be running on bare bones.

“Wellington’s future can be thriving and exciting. Our communities deserve to have access to warm, dry and safe homes, with transport that gets them across the city where they can enjoy our world class arts and culture scene where everyone is celebrated.

“I am proud of where we landed today and thank Wellingtonians for helping to guide us on this huge decision for our city,” says Mayor Whanau.

Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon welcomed the decision to introduce a household organic waste collection service and other changes to reduce emissions and thousands of tonnes of waste going to landfill. 

“This decision sets us on a path to transform Wellington’s waste system, delivering a better service to households, reducing our emissions and avoiding the need to build a larger landfill,” says Deputy Mayor Foon.

Committee Chair Rebecca Matthews says, “I would like to acknowledge councillors, community, and staff for their contribution to the on-going development of this Long-term Plan.

“We have worked hard throughout this process to contain rates increases, while still being able to deliver transformational change for Wellington to keep it thriving,” says Councillor Matthews.

The Council has been developing the 2024-34 Long-term Plan over the past two years, including working with the community to identify key outcomes and priorities for the city, such as water infrastructure resilience and climate change adaptation, and holding a Citizens’ Assembly, whose advice included investigating alternative revenue streams and reviewing capital expenditure.

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