Since I became Mayor in 2010, we’ve achieved a lot. Arts and events highlights include the Hobbit premiere, Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Anzac commemorations, the Capital’s 150th, the Tattoo and several royal visits. We’ve added LUX, CubaDupa, Africa Day and Korean Festival. Council increased support to the NZ Festival, NZSO, Orchestra Wellington, NZ Ballet, Circa and many others. This year we start strengthening the Town Hall as a world-class music hub.
Our economy is stronger. Our new Tech Hub/Collider on Tory Street is terrific, connecting entrepreneurs, students and mentors. We’ve created Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency to attract and grow tourism, business, international students, exports and the “weightless economy”. Flights via Canberra to Singapore start in September. GDP per capita is the highest in NZ and now population growth is 2% a year.
The Movie Museum and Convention Centre are progressing. I’ve strengthened ties with China, Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, resulting in more trade and cultural exchanges. Locally, Business Improvement Districts formed in Miramar, Khandallah, Kilbirnie and Tawa.
Significant resilience funding has strengthened reservoirs, pipes, retaining walls, sea-walls and tunnels. Since its inception in 2012, WREMO has led dozens of Community Response Plans.
Council assessed every pre-1976 buildings. We strengthened most Council facilities and helped many heritage building owners, including St Mary of the Angels and Star Boating Club. Heritage is crucial to Wellington’s sense of place. We said “no” to demolishing the Harcourts building.
Neighbours’ Day celebrations build social capital that’s good for every day safety as well as post-event survival.
100 Resilient Cities has given us a Chief Resilience Officer and access to $5 million services to prioritise responses to sea level rise, tsunami, earthquakes, economic deprivation and poor housing.
Wellington’s open space is marvellous. Zealandia is now on a solid financial foundation with international recognition and 100,000 visitors a year. Our Zoo became the first Carbon-Neutral zoo in the world and opened Meet The Locals and the Australian walk-through.
Our Botanic Gardens are superb, the new Leonard Cockayne centre’s open, the Children’s Garden begun and Truby King House now appropriately home to Conservation Volunteers.
The updated Town Belt Act protects precious landscape, recreation and biodiversity. Orua-iti Reserve is new. We’re ready to take on Watts Peninsula Heritage Park.
Together we’ve planted 1.4 million plants and partner with over a hundred volunteer groups to restore natural habitat and control predators. Community gardens have expanded dramatically in many suburbs, housing complexes and the inner city.
Council housing does an excellent job of supporting almost 4000 tenants. With HousingNZ we opened Berhampore Community Centre and now support 24 community centres. Our Local Hosts cooperate as street outreach with Police, DCM and others. We’ve increased support for the Night Shelter and many agencies to assist vulnerable people. I stand up for ethnic and gender diversity.
The Living Wage was introduced in a staged way now many lifeguards, librarians, parking wardens, cleaners and security earn more decent pay, creating more family time and stronger work loyalty.
To encourage healthy recreation, five artificial turfs have been laid since 2010. Karori artificial and a hockey turf are on their way. Because I’m passionate about children learning to swim, we’ve supported many school pools to stay open .We’ve begun the Basin Reserve upgrade and the Stadium revamp.
Transport and Urban Development shape our city’s health and economy. The airport runway extension resource consent has been notified. After the EPA turned down the flyover, new possibilities are emerging, with strong priority for public transport.
Cycling is progressing with the Tawa-Porirua and Kilbirnie shared pathways working well, lots more bike stands and friendly grates. Hutt Road will soon be safer. We’ll review Island Bay’s cycleway and look at how best to connect to the CBD. Unanimously we supported the Great Harbour Way; the section from Ngauranga to Petone is being designed now. We’ve funded Peak Flow in Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park and many other tracks, plus Bikes in Schools.
Several central city streets and laneways are brighter and safer for people on foot. We partnered with government to deliver Pukeahu Memorial Park and the upgraded Cenotaph Precinct. Shelly Bay and Erskine housing plans are exciting too.
Our Urban Development Agency will build greener affordable housing and catalyse redevelopment near transport and facilities. I look forward to the next three years in Wellington!