Matariki atua ka eke mai i te rangi e roa, e. Whāngainga iho ki te mata o te tau e roa, e.
The Pleiades stars that herald the returning light, bringing new growth and new life.
Welcome to our Annual Plan for 2014/15. I am proud that we are one of the country’s first councils to agree our Annual Plan for the year ahead.
This year’s budget is about growing the economy, increasing our rating base, encouraging development, making the city more resilient to climate change and other disasters, protecting our built and natural heritage and improving transport choices.
We have committed ourselves to being an action-oriented Council that will respond to the issues facing Wellington City. This Annual Plan therefore includes changes that will assist developers and encourage the construction of better quality, environmentally-rated buildings, more earthquake-strengthening assistance and significantly more money for cycling improvements. We agreed these changes and maintained the delivery of all our other services, for an average rates rise of 2.49 percent – below our limit and less than forecast.
We have also agreed our future economic growth agenda 8 Big Ideas, which includes projects that will make a significant impact on our economy such as a film museum, a runway extension for Wellington International Airport, a tech precinct and convention and concert venues. Subject to business cases, these will be further progressed during the development of the 2015–25 Draft Long-term Plan later in the year. The Council is working closely with the Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce and we’re eager to advance the dialogue we progressed at the first Business Summit held earlier in 2014.
During the consultation process on this plan, we heard from more than 1000 Wellingtonians. Through this input, it was gratifying to see so many people warmly supporting the steps we are taking to lift the wages of our lowest paid staff. There was also a large number of submissions strongly supporting the increased funding for cycling improvements, emphasising the message that came through loud and clear during last year’s election.
I am pleased that the fundamental needs of the city are being well met – for example our $404 million of operational spending includes almost $100 million for stormwater, drinking water and sewage and almost $20 million for libraries. Our economic development funding, which includes events, city promotion and new projects, is significantly higher than four years ago. In 2014/15 our spending on events will be just over $6 million.
The Council is in good financial shape and we are getting on with the job. You said Wellington is a great place to live and let’s keep it that way. I am confident that this plan will ensure the Capital remains one of the world’s most liveable cities, while keeping borrowing and rates within limits set in the Council’s financial strategy.
MAYOR CELIA WADE-BROWN