A 13.5% rates increase has been decided by Wellington City councillors, who met last week to decide the funding options for its Long-Term Plan 2021-2031
The plan addresses water infrastructure, supports a vibrant economy, invests in greater iwi representation, enhances city safety and makes civic buildings more resilient.
Strong public participation in the consultation also informed council funding decisions for the Pōneke Promise central city safety campaign and greater access to our performance venues in line with Aho-Tini 2030 Arts and Culture Strategy.
In the seven focus areas that were consulted on, the following decisions were made:
- $2.4b invested over 10 years to improve the Council’s three-waters infrastructure – drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
- Council to take ownership of the wastewater laterals (the pipes connecting property to the water main underneath the road corridor) between a property boundary and the sewerage main underneath the road corridor.
- $226m for the accelerated delivery of cycle network infrastructure.
- $29.9m invested over 10 years in climate change, fully funding the Te Atakura action plan to reduce our emissions over the next decade.
- The Municipal Office Building and Civic Administration Building (both currently empty) in Te Ngākau Civic Square will be demolished. The site will be developed through a long term ground lease (subject to resource consent) – $10.9m for demolition and $750k for resource consent.
- $197.8m to fund the repair and upgrade of the Central Library, temporarily exceeding the council’s debt limit
- Invest in the existing wastewater treatment plant at Moa Point to reduce the city’s dependence on pumping sludge across to the Southern Landfill. It will be funded through the Infrastructure Funding and Finance Act. This means that the project is not funded by Council debt.
- Frank Kitts Park upgrade: reinstate the $6.5m for the Frank Kitts Garden park development, known as the Garden of Beneficence.
- Pōneke Promise: funding for the Community Harm Reduction Programme, Take 10, rental and fitout of a community space and streetscape improvements.
- Aho Tini 2030, Arts, Culture and Creativity Strategy projects: $1,075,000 annually, with $545,000 of that in the first year for venues support (funded through the City Recovery Fund).
- City Housing upgrade programme: agreed to include $446m over 10 years including Healthy Homes and general renewals.
- Skate Parks: $1.5m investment over 10 years to upgrade skate parks.
- Funding for youth hub/spaces and improving youth engagement.
“This ten-year budget is focussed on core infrastructure and addressing climate change, the rate increase is unfortunately high but necessary,” explains Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons.
Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says future generations can’t afford for us not to be bold. This investment is needed to meet present and future challenges – to have a great city fit for the future.
The draft Long-term Plan will go to Audit NZ for review in June and be adopted on 30 June.