Wellington Next - Where To From Here?
Wellington Chamber of Commerce President, Jo Healey, was pleased with the conversation from this morning’s Wellington Next Forum, but asks - where to from here?
"We’ve always known that Wellingtonians are passionate about the future of their city and that spirit certainly showed this morning," says Jo Healey, President of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
"We hope that this really is the start of a new economic strategy for the city. The signs are encouraging, but our question is - How are we going to turn a good discussion into good, proactive action?
"I am looking forward to seeing what the Council’s next steps are and what their main takeaways from this morning’s conversation were.
"The expert panel highlighted a number of future-focused economic, social, and environmental issues our city is currently facing. But with all these issues, it is up to Wellingtonians to turn these into opportunities for the city to grow.
"The growth mindset is there from our businesspeople and it’s great to hear the panel talk about Wellington as a global city and one that is digitally connected to the rest of the world.
"Wellington has ambitions of being a ‘smart city’ and the panel’s conversation around addressing the digital divide is an important one. We need Wellington’s digital infrastructure and connectivity to improve, not only to benefit businesses and our next generation of start-ups, but also to benefit our next generation.
"It’s clear to me, our digital literacy and infrastructure is not up-to-scratch for where our ambitions lie, and that needs to be one of the first places we start.
"Covid-19 has also made a huge impact on businesses in the city and how they operate. Clients and customers both here and overseas are more hesitant with their money, Wellington’s summer will look very different without the usual cruise ship tourists and visitors, and our businesses have not been able to grow overseas as easily due to the travel restrictions.
"Wellington also has serious problems with a red-hot housing market, creaking water management system, roading and public transport infrastructure at capacity, and resilience issues ever prevalent. We risk losing Wellington’s appeal to students, young professionals, new start-ups, and growing businesses.
"Any new economic strategy will have to go hand-in-hand with our spatial plan, Let’s Get Wellington Moving, and the city’s Long-Term Plan to make sure it is both achievable but ambitious enough to spur the city on."