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Chamber welcomes Mayor Lester

Wellington Chamber of Commerce
Media Statement
Saturday 8th October 2016
Chamber welcomes Mayor Lester

Wellington Chamber of Commerce welcomes the election of Justin Lester as the new Mayor of Wellington, says Chief Executive John Milford.

“Mr Lester has promised to lead ‘a bold, positive and successful Wellington that gets things done’. We expect him to follow through with that and we look forward to helping him achieve it.

“The Chamber would like to congratulate the unsuccessful candidates for mayor for fighting a good fight. For those who are now retiring from council, thank-you for your service. We would also like to congratulate all those who successfully stood for council in their communities. There are a lot of challenges ahead, and we are expecting big things.”

Mr Milford says Mr Lester made promises in his responses to the Chamber's questionnaire and the Chamber will be making sure they are kept. They include:

• Fiscal responsibility: will not support acquiring any more debt than is necessary.

• Infrastructural investment: unblock congestion at Basin by promoting a cut-and-cover solution, second tunnels at Mt Vic and The Terrace; move to fully electric buses; earthquake-strengthen Town Hall, and transport and water infrastructure; introduce integrated ticketing; improved case management for major building and resource consents; remove fees for outdoor dining; increase pedestrianisation; establish Chief Innovation Officer.

• Economic development and growth: backs airport extension (equally funded by councils, central government, and airport) to encourage business, education and freight growth; ensure Movie Museum and Convention Centre built; increase share of tourism market; encourage additional residential and hotel investment in CBD; introduce 20% local procurement criterion for WCC tenders for digital and technological services.

• Leadership: serve the community first and foremost for the benefit of others; more shared services between councils; will allocate councillor portfolios based on skills and experience.

“That’s a lot of promises, but like everyone else we are fully expecting him to deliver on each of them. We expect to see much more detail during the next 100 days and look forward to participating in that where we can.”

During the campaign, the Chamber issued policies it believes the city needs to adopt if it is to move forward, and Mr Milford says the Chamber will be promoting these through the coming term.

They are:

• Fiscal responsibility must be demonstrated through wiser spending, decreasing debt, and reducing the rates burden on business over time to match general rates, and capping all rates to the Local Government Cost Index. Transparency must be improved.

• Wellington requires urgent infrastructural investment, specifically on transport, which requires council’s focus. More work needs to be done on the city’s resilience and preparedness for any shocks and stresses.

• There needs to be an emphasis on economic development and growth, through the City Council, Regional Council and WREDA. Opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurship, a place for high-class education, employment, tourism and liveability must be promoted.

• Leadership must develop a coherent regional strategy with an emphasis on regional unity and a closer relationship with central government. Elected leaders need to get rid of the personality and patch-protection politics, locally and regionally.

“These policies are vital to taking the city forward. We’re not asking the impossible. We look forward to the new council picking these up and getting on with them.”

© Scoop Media

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