Press Statement by Kāpiti Mayor K. Gurunathan 30 April 2020
I'm making a public appeal to Wellington City's mayor and councillors to pull finger and sort their differences for the
sake of the Wellington Region. I do this reluctantly but the importance of the City's economy to the rest of the region
is so critical that some regional concern at what's happening must be signalled. I'm confident other mayors in the
region are equally concerned.
The region, like the rest of the country is facing unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The negative
economic impact on local economies is huge and we are in the midst of a growing global recession. We need Wellington
City politicians to be concentrating on providing leadership at this time. Instead the region is hearing that an
independent government commissioner may be called in to sort out their political differences.
The regional councils have often been told that what's good for Wellington is good for the region. By extension,
therefore, what's bad for Wellington is bad for the region
With an asset value of $7.2 billion, an operational budget of $538m, and a capital expenditure of $228m, Wellington City
is undoubtedly the economic and cultural engine of the region. Of the 7,700 Kāpiti residents who commute out of the
Kāpiti district to work, 5,000 work in Wellington. So Kāpiti has a stake in the continued prosperity of Wellington and
I like to challenge Wellington City councillors to have early and meaningful discussions on a regional response to a
post Covid-19 world. For example, regional transport and work patterns have changed. What do Wellington City politicians
think about the opportunity to decentralise Wellington given technology has enabled thousands to stop commuting and
instead work from home? Online employment hubs in Kāpiti, and elsewhere in the region can continue these positive
changes reducing transport capacity and congestion problems.
These are only some of the challenges facing the region. We need to review, complete and adopt the Wellington Regional
Growth Framework and the spatial plan this will create to enable the Wellington Region to work together. I appeal to our
Wellington City Council politicians to put aside differences and support the people of the region during this time of