Wellington Scoop

Spending $280m for resilience

There’s no agenda yet for next week’s meeting of the Wellington City Council’s long-term plan committee. But the mayor has got in early, telling us he wants the council to approve spending of $280million over the next ten years to make Wellington more resilient against earthquakes, climate change, and rising sea-levels.

It’s an amount that Justin Lester calls unprecedented.

But till the agenda papers for the meeting are published, we can’t assess the details of what he wants to be done.

His statement yesterday gives details of how less than a quarter of the “unprecedented” total is to be spent.

$32 million to complete the Prince of Wales/Omāroro Reservoir; $6.2 million to upgrade parts of the central city wastewater network to accommodate growth and improve resilience; $9 million to upgrade stormwater systems in flood-prone areas of Tawa and $10 million to upgrade the Miramar Peninsula’s stormwater systems. There’s also $300,000 for coastal erosion repairs at Worser Bay, Seatoun Beach and Evans Bay. And uncosted: infrastructure improvements to the Ngaio Gorge, Seatoun Tunnel, Northland Tunnel and the Kelburn Viaduct.

Ratepayers who’ve been concerned about the need for the council to focus more on the basics of the city’s infrastructure may well be pleased with the mayor’s plans, when they see all the details.

Other critics of the council may feel that the big spend will help rebalance the council’s focus on paying for less essential items, such as $150million for a new building to house Peter Jackson’s Movie Museum, with a conference centre on top. Councillors first voted for it – unanimously – in November 2015. Negotiations are now in their third year, without agreement being reached between the participants.

Let’s hope it doesn’t take three years to finalise the plans to make Wellington more resilient.

The meeting agenda is now online.

1 comment:

  1. Molly Higgins, 27. February 2018, 19:58

    There have to be serious concerns about this:
    1. With only $28million per year (average) allocated to so-called resilience? That makes no sense.
    2. It’s not the total that is “unprecedented,” (and it is not!), it is the power of the mayor in law which has become “unprecedented” since 2012 when the Act (Section 41A added) was amended to give the mayor the power to appoint a deputy and committee chairs (and portfolio leaders which are absent in the legislation)
    3. Then there is the myth that the budget is the mayor’s budget, when the law says only that the mayor should lead the budget.
    4. Which means councillors are unlikely to challenge (except to tinker around the edges).
    5. The fact that the public has yet to see the agenda for the meeting is also of concern.

    The long term plan sets the budget and plans for the next ten years, reviewed every 3 years. It should be an important document, written in plain English without spin, for the public to read and make comment. It should not be spun for political benefit.