I will help build a stronger economy – a place where we and our children want to live and can find the career opportunities that keep them here.
Our economy is in good heart. More people work in Wellington than ever before. Wellington City employment grew 22.6% between 2000 and 2014 (from 124,800 to 153,100), and another 3,000 jobs were added last year. Central City Employment grew from 58,000 in 1996 to 80,000 in 2013. Retail and office vacancy levels are very low at 2 and 3% respectively. Our economy is re-modelling. Creative jobs – IT, film, arts, events, tourism and tertiary education are crucial and growing strengths of our economy. We have a world leading public sector.
Our role is to create an environment where business can thrive and create jobs. This means :
- Ensuring provision of the necessary physical and social infrastructure. It means consistent, coherent long term planning to provide for housing, commercial accommodation and social and government services.
- Ensuring a fantastic lifestyle. I have spoken to many many business people and talented professional people who choose to live in Wellington because of the lifestyle opportunities.
- Building and maintaining strong relationships with Government, business and education.
- Passionate, intelligent, consistent promotion of our city.
- Direct support of economic investment where it makes strategic and financial sense.
I Will :
- Build closer relationships with the business community including through regular events with business and community leaders.
- Build the film museum and convention centre.
- Decide on the airport runway extension. Resource consent is being sought now. We must approach this major investment positively, but as the Chamber of Commerce has made clear, the decision must be made on hard evidence. It needs to be clear that there is sufficient economic benefit, airline commitment, and funding support. There needs to be a suitable investment vehicle to justify the proposal. Any extension will be an asset on the books of the investors, not the airport company.
- Take a more customer focused, open for business approach. This will include quarterly reporting on ‘open for business’ initiatives and making that a KPI for the Chief Executive.
- Work with the Education sector including on student accommodation, campus environment, supporting holiday internship opportunities, and the link from education to employment. I have been talking with businesses about some very exciting business concepts in this space.
- Work with business and investors to support a venture capital fund to help connect creative startup businesses with the funds they need to grow while spreading risks for investors. With interest rates low many investors would welcome the chance to invest in a diversified portfolio of emerging businesses, while many such businesses need access to capital. Spreading the risk by investing in a portfolio rather than a single business is good investment practice. Some businesses will undoubtedly fail but others will be spectacular successes. We all know about the ‘back yard’ businesses that have become giants. Trade Me and Xero are examples.
- Continue to expand our events programme focusing especially on events that cannot be poached from Wellington. Two likely candidates are Matariki and an exciting Harbour based event concept.
- Continue to support our wonderful Arts and Culture sector. Let’s celebrate emerging talent from Whitirea and VUW by encouraging student performances in Civic Square and Te Aro Park. I want to see more public art – let’s create a real sense of fun around our city and suburbs. We can have more pop up – container arts workshops on the waterfront.
- Continue to support and enhance our museums and galleries
- Work to make all New Zealanders proud of their Capital City. Let’s build on the 150 year celebrations and open days. Make Wellington a place all Kiwis love to come to better understand and celebrate our nationhood.
- Encourage more activities and events on our magnificent harbour.
- Continue to work with other Councils around the Country. We need a New Zealand Inc approach to benefit all communities around our country. I have developed very good relationships across the local government ‘family’ and will build on these as Mayor.