The recent Council election saw significant change. You elected a refreshed, action-focused Council to serve the people of Wellington City.
Secondly, new Mayoral powers, granted through recent changes to legislation, came into effect. These include leading the development of annual and long-term plans for consideration by members of this Council.
My vision is for a progressive, creative and prosperous Smart Capital with good jobs, good homes, welcoming communities, real transport choices and a healthy environment.
Since the election, as a Council we have had productive discussions on the need for this Council to deliver progress and respond to issues raised during the campaign.
There was widespread concern about the health of Wellington’s economy and people’s employment prospects. Other issues that were consistently raised included cycling, public transport, natural disaster resilience, growing inequality and affordability.
Wellingtonians remain passionate about our heritage and sense of place, libraries, the importance of the arts and a healthy environment. This Council also needs to be more responsive and ‘open for business’.
This draft plan maintains our services at the high level Wellingtonians expect, takes action in priority areas and keeps rates at an affordable level for our business and residential ratepayers. It is consistent with our Financial Strategy – part of our Long-term Plan – and builds on the work we did last term to save money. Consequently, we are not proposing significant increases in fees nor reductions in service levels.
The draft plan adds to the quality of life Wellington has to offer and enables the Council to pay its own staff ‘a living wage’ in line with commitments we made last year. It improves transportation choices, streamlines processes to encourage development, and provides better governance for our organisations focused on growing the economy and increasing our rating base.
It is my pleasure to introduce this 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan. It is an action-focused programme that delivers on commitments we made to our communities during the recent elections, and also meets our obligations to serve the wider interests of our wonderful city. The recommended programmes and projects continue progress towards a prosperous and inclusive Smart Capital.
I look forward to hearing your views on the actions in this plan.
MAYOR CELIA WADE-BROWN