Wellington City councillors, with support from the region’s councils, hold the key to the city’s successful path forward, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford.
He was speaking after Wellington Mayor Andy Foster gave his first public presentation on his vision for the city to a sold-out Chamber event at the PwC Centre this morning.
“Mayor Foster laid out the path forward for the city – the challenges and the opportunities, and there are plenty of both – but there will be no progress on any of it without the support of his councillors.
“It’s one thing for him to be saying it but it’s quite another for his councillors to have the same visions for the city and the path to get there.
“The answers to the transport, resilience, infrastructure and events questions we need to really get the city pumping lie mostly in the hands of councillors.
“From what we heard today, the mayor gets it but if councillors are not on the same page in their desire to get this city really moving then it’s going to be another long three years.
“Business will be doing its best to ensure that’s not the case.
“Building a tunnel at the Basin Reserve at the same time as mass transit, a parking review, fixing congestion, a spacial plan, a movie museum, a war museum, bringing cruise ships into the city, an arts and events update, support for emerging businesses – they’re among the mayor’s vision and are what the city, and the region, urgently need but they will not be achieved without agreement on the way to achieve them.
“This is a city-region opportunity because, though Wellington is the engine room of the region, they rely on each other for their economic wellbeing. It was great to see the mayors of Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt at today’s event because their support is vital. I believe that’s the first time they have all attended a mayoral address organised by the Chamber, and that’s most encouraging.
“Like me, they’ll also be encouraged Mayor Foster confirmed he will be meeting the Transport Minister before the end of the year to discuss Let’s Get Wellington Moving and its timetable.
“That’s the big key to unlocking our growth potential, and I would like to think the Minister will see that.
“For example, business can’t see why the Basin fix can’t be done at the same time as mass transit solutions are worked on.
“The time is now for action to get Wellington really moving and everyone has to play their part.”