Overview


WE PLAN IN THREE-YEAR CYCLES

The Local Government Act 2002 requires us to plan in three-year cycles. Every three years, we consult the community on a draft long-term plan. This sets out our intentions for the decade ahead — what we’ll do, how we’ll do it, how much we’ll spend, who will pay, the levels of service we’ll provide, and how we’ll measure the quality and effectiveness of our work. Our last long-term plan was adopted in 2012; our next will be prepared in the coming year.

​In between these long-term plans, we take a fresh look each year at our work programme and consider whether any changes are needed. Change may be needed due to revisions to our budgets or new projects to help deal with issues or challenges facing the city. We publish a draft annual plan and listen to your feedback before publishing an annual plan — this document.

The Annual Plan

Our job is to look after Wellington, now and into the future

So, how do we decide what to do?

It’s a simple question with a complex answer. To develop the programme set out in this Annual Plan, we’ve considered a range of factors. We’ve sought to enhance Wellington and its people. We’ve taken into account community expectations, what we know about the state of the city and its services, what we know about future challenges the city is likely to face, and the aspirations we’ve signed up to as part of our economic growth agenda.

The need to meet all of our legal obligations, and ensure prudent management of the city’s finances and assets has also guided our decisions.

We’ve set in place clear goals

Our vision is of a Smart Capital, an inclusive city where talent wants to live. We aim to lift the quality of life on offer in the city by sustaining a culture that is open minded, enhancing the city centre, facilitating the provision of virtual and physical infrastructure, and bolstering the local economy for a lower-carbon future and greater prosperity.

Everything we do contributes to one or more of these outcomes:

See the 2014/15 Activity Programme for more detail.

We’re keeping a lid on costs…

This Annual Plan represents value for money. Take the rates of $2,281 on a $500,000 house. These are less than the average household pays for a single utility — power. Our entire services for the city cost around $2029 per resident per year.

This has been achieved by continuously reviewing the costs of our services. As an example, we have reviewed the governance structures for some of our council-controlled organisations. We have decided to bring the functions of Wellington Waterfront Ltd in-house and are combining Positively Wellington Tourism and Wellington Venues. We expect this to save around $500,000 per annum.

The overall budget sits within the targets that we have set in place in our Financial Strategy. This sees rates increases capped and sets out the levels of borrowing that are considered prudent. (See the Our Finances section for more details.)

… and we’re keeping the city running

This year’s plan sustains the high levels of service that are already in place. We have even increased the budget in some areas to meet cost increases or other pressures:

Our Capital Spaces: a framework to develop, promote and prioritise investment in the city’s open spaces and outdoor recreation facilities receives the following boost:

Storm damage: to undertake remedial works following the severe storm in June 2013, we have budgeted:

Libraries – children’s literacy and outreach: we have agreed to increase our libraries’ budget by $60,000 to reinstate our children’s literacy programmes, and for customer service and collection refreshment.

Newtown community hub: we will bring forward $40,000 in operating expenditure funding from 2016/17 to 2014/15 to start feasibility work on a community hub/centre for Newtown.

Rural road improvements: in response to a request from the Makara-Ohariu Community Board, we have agreed to allocate $100,000 in capital expenditure for minor safety initiatives on rural roads in Ohariu and Makara.

See the other changes noted in the ‘public feedback’ section (page 13).

We’ve also chosen to lift our performance in key areas

Cycling: the ease, reliability and affordability of a transport network are important to a city’s success.

Wellington on the whole does well in this regard – it has the highest public transport use in the country, more people cycling and walking, and a reducing reliance on cars for commuting – there is nevertheless room for improvement. A focus in the coming year will be on cycling.

The capital budget has been increased by $3 million to $4.3 million. The focus will be on safety and improving key routes.

Living wage rate: the Council has agreed to introduce a living wage rate ($18.40 per hour minimum) for its directly employed staff as part of a broader workforce development plan. An engaged workforce, after all, results in more effective service delivery.

Development contributions: a growing property market is good for the city. It stimulates investments, creates jobs, and adds to the city’s long-term viability. The way we regulate development can impact on the level of investment being made. We have made policy changes to encourage development of quality buildings, reduce compliance costs and improve the efficiency of our processes. (See the appendix for more details.)

Earthquake strengthening: the city has an extensive resilience programme. This covers everything from retaining walls to educational programmes, emergency preparedness, research programmes with the United Nations and local universities, and grants for heritage protection. From 1 July 2014, we will be widening the rates remission for buildings under construction and also introducing a further rates remission after seismic strengthening. These changes aim to encourage property owners to strengthen their buildings. The changes are contained in our amended Rates Remission Policy.

Growth centres: our goal is to direct growth along a spine from Johnsonville in the north, through the CBD, to Kilbirnie. This will result in population increases in those areas and demand for services. Additions this year include:

Johnsonville

Central city

Kilbirnie and east

We have also deferred or decided to no longer pursue some projects and plans.

Tawa artificial sportsfields: we had proposed to build an additional synthetic sportsfield in the Grenada North/Tawa area in 2014/15. However, a recently developed Wellington Regional Sportsfield Strategy recommended that this not proceed at this time. Consequently, the Council agreed to defer the construction of this turf (reducing our net capital expenditure by $1.046 million) noting that the Tawa Rugby Football Club has decided to construct an artificial sportsfield at Lyndhurst Park and we will upgrade the upper field at Redwood Park in Tawa with a sand-based surface.

Prince of Wales Reservoir: we had planned to construct a new 35 million litre reservoir above Prince of Wales Park in Mt Cook to serve Wellington Hospital’s emergency needs and service potential population growth in the inner-city. We have subsequently agreed to defer this project while we investigate alternative options, including the building of a second water pipe across the harbour. This reduced our capital expenditure by $3.1 million in 2014/15.

Southern Landfill extension: we are applying for resource consent to expand this significant waste management facility. However, we are not planning to do any physical works in 2014/15 as the existing landfill sites have enough capacity for the current volumes of refuse being deposited there. This reduced our capital expenditure by $6.5 million in 2014/15.

Regional Amenities Fund: this fund was established as a ‘top-up’ funding mechanism for entities that provide regional benefits, primarily in the arts, culture and environmental attractions and events sectors. The Council had budgeted a total contribution of $1,336,500 to this regional fund in 2014/15; an increase of $727,300. We have decided to reallocate this increase to support the volunteer graffiti eradication programme (see below) and provide the financial capacity to support Wellington-based projects through the Council’s Economic Development Fund, using similar criteria to the Regional Amenities Fund.

The plan has been influenced by public feedback

We received 633 written submissions, considered the views of 258 people who completed an on-line survey and 196 Our Capital Voice panel members. We also heard directly from 94 submitters as part of our hearings process.

The feedback has resulted in the confirmation of projects and changes. However, the work programme outlined in this document is not the same as the draft plan. Changes made by the Council after hearing from the community include: