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Consultation On Wellington’s 10-year Plan And Budget Open From 12 April To 12 May

Published: Thu 11 Apr 2024 12:15 PM
Formal consultation on Wellington City Council’s 2024-34 Long-term Plan - the city’s 10-year plan and budget - starts tomorrow (12 April) and will continue until 12 May.
Key proposals include increased spending on fixing water pipes, introducing Council wheelie bins for rubbish and for organics to reduce waste going to landfill, and better managing insurance and investment risk by divesting the Council’s minority shareholdings in Wellington Airport into a green and ethical Perpetual Investment Fund.
“We want Pōneke to be a vibrant and creative capital where people and nature thrive. The decisions we make now will help us make this future a reality,” says Mayor Tory Whanau.
“We can continue to invest in Wellington – in priorities like infrastructure, climate action and resilience – but we need to balance the pace of our investment with what we can afford. I want to acknowledge that this Long-term Plan process has required everyone around the council table to dig deep and work to reprioritise funding. Now it is time for the community to have your say about what to prioritise.”
Feedback is being sought on three major decisions:
· How much do we spend on fixing the pipes? Wellington’s water pipes are old and in poor condition. We’re proposing to spend more than ever before on fixing them. This is expensive and will increase rates and debt, so we need to decide how much we can afford to spend.
· Do we introduce Council wheelie bins for rubbish and organics to reduce landfill waste? We need to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. We could do this by introducing new Council wheelie bins for rubbish (collected fortnightly) and food scraps and garden waste (collected weekly). We’d introduce a new targeted rate to pay for this.
· Do we sell our airport shares to help manage insurance and investment risk? We need to better manage our insurance and investment risks. Insurance is becoming more difficult to secure, and the Council’s assets – like buildings, roads and pipes – creating potentially billions of dollars of risk. This means we’re exposed if there’s a natural disaster, and our biggest investment assets, including our shares in Wellington Airport and ground leases, are poorly diversified and exposed to the same risks. We’re proposing to sell our minority shares in the airport and some ground leases to set up a new investment fund as a form of self-insurance. Diversifying our investments in this way will provide us with funds to help with recovery in the event of an earthquake or other disaster.
Feedback is also being sought on proposals to help manage increasing costs and rates levels while also creating positive transformation for our city.
"I believe this plan has struck the right balance of delivering for our communities within our challenging financial environment. Inflation, interest rates and insurance costs have climbed, while historic underinvestment in infrastructure is really starting to bite,” says Mayor Whanau.
“Water is a priority for the council in this Long-term Plan. We have significantly increased our funding in water and over the 10 years of this proposal one in every four dollars we spend on capital will go to the three waters.
“But it’s important to ensure that funding water should not be coming at the expense of delivering better transport options, revitalisation of our city, housing and climate initiatives.
“These are the key priorities, and history has taught us that if we don’t invest in these pressing issues now, they will become a bigger problem down the track. It is possible to invest in both within our constraints.
“We have a pressing issue with a huge insurance shortfall caused by our vulnerability to climate induced natural disasters. It’s really important to me that we hear from Wellingtonians about our proposal to sell a minority stake in Wellington Airport and transfer that into a green and ethical Perpetual Investment Fund to create a stronger and more resilient public asset.”
To continue doing everything the Council is doing, as well as spending more on water, would mean an average rates rise of 26% for the coming financial year. Incorporating the reductions in expenditure, the plan proposes an average rates rise of 16.4%.This excludes a new levy to pay for the sludge minimisation plant at Moa Point, which will be about 1.6%.
Councillor Rebecca Matthews, Chair of the Kōrau Tōtōpū | Long-term Plan, Finance, and Performance Committee, says Councillors want to hear from as many people as possible. “Providing feedback on the Long-term Plan is an important way for Wellingtonians to have their say on the future of our city.
“Community feedback has played a critical role in shaping the draft plan so far. Over 3000 people told us their top priorities for the city when engagement opened last year, and our innovative Citizens’ Assembly provided us with considered collective advice. Now, it’s time for people to tell us what they think about these formal proposals so we can make final decisions.”
The 2024-34 Long-term Plan will come into effect on 1 July 2024.
How to have your say
· Submissions can be made via the Council’s website at wcc.nz/ltp from 12 April. All information, including the consultation document and supporting materials, will be available at that link.
· Copies of the consultation document and submission form will also be available at Arapaki Service Centre and at libraries.

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