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Mayor’s campaign to focus on homelessness, CBD, and refugees

Press Release – Justin Lester
Mayoral candidate Justin Lester yesterday launched his campaign and introduced his Labour team for the October local government elections. The campaign will focus on addressing homelessness, creating a people-focused CBD and a Welcome Home package for refugees.

In front of a large crowd at Wellington’s Wharewaka, Lester outlined his Council’s achievements so far.

“When I was elected Mayor three years ago, the Councillor relationships were considered toxic and many people felt the city lacked a clear plan,” he said. “Over the last two years Wellington has been recognised as the World’s Most Liveable City and this council has delivered our entire triennium programme”

“Issues are no longer put in the too hard basket and the Council is making necessary decisions to drive Wellington’s future.

“We’ve had unanimous votes on the vast majority of major decisions including the Convention Centre construction, a vast array of housing projects, Omāroro Reservoir and the strengthening of both the Town Hall and St James.

“Our Central Library needs to be repaired and our transport system requires modernisation, and that’s what we’re working towards. We’ll have decisions on both soon.”

Lester said he was determined that over the next three years, homelessness would become an exception on Wellington streets.

“Three years ago, one of my campaign platforms was dealing with the homeless situation and I’ve focused much attention on that area, to the point where major housing developments in Wellington now include a significant number dedicated to supported living. This emphasis on our most vulnerable citizens is a step change.

“Our aim is to deliver enough supported living units to get our homeless population off the streets and into a home.”

He said he wanted to help transform Wellington into a people-focused CBD.

“We aim to transform the way people travel around our city and particularly in the Eastern and Southern suburbs, we’ll upgrade our laneways, remove private vehicles from the Golden Mile, have more parking for electric vehicles, motorbikes, scooters and bikes and prioritise people when designing our city’s spaces”.

Lester said that in the wake of the March terror attacks there would be an emphasis on building inclusive, diverse and strong communities.

“We will introduce Welcome Home, a comprehensive package of initiatives designed to integrate refugees and their families when they settle into Wellington. It will include free entry to Council-provided services, including swimming pools, swimming lessons, visitor attractions, library services and recreation facilities. The Welcome Home package will dovetail with our Leisure Card programme, which will provide affordable access to Council services for those on low incomes.”

He said that over the past three years he had worked hard to make necessary decisions and get things done. “I’m seeking a second term so I can implement what we’ve started and ensure Wellington is positioned strongly for the future.”

Getting Things Done Campaign Pledges from 2016 and current status

Pledge Status
Build a Wellington convention centre Plans finalised and project underway. Construction to start in the third quarter of 2019.
Create a one-stop shop for building consents Online portal completed and rolled out to more than 25 Councils. Case management system being trialled and rolled out.
Remove outdoor dining fees Done
Work toward becoming the world’s first Predator Free City 5000 households on board, Predator Free Wellington established, Capital Kiwi underway and first initiative to remove all predators from Miramar Peninsula underway.
Transform Wellington transport by investing in new infrastructure to improve congestion at the Basin Reserve and deliver mass transit for Eastern and Southern suburbs Let’s Get Wellington Moving plans will be released to the public before the end of May.
Work with GWRC to introduce student concessions fares and off-peak discount fares. Done
Work with GWRC to retain fares at current prices. Retained for two years.
Accelerate electric vehicle infrastructure to assist growth in EVs CBD and suburban networks completed and continuing.
Commitment to maintaining and increasing over time investment in libraries, pools and parks. Done
Free entry for under 5s and guardians at swimming pools Done
Retain Jack Ilott Green as public space Done
Put Culture and Creativity at the heart of city Aho-tini strategy completed and significant increase by $1m+ per annum for arts.
Help grow Wellington-based events like WoW, CubaDupa, Homegrown, Beervana and Wellington on a Plate. Done
Create a community-based Matariki Festival Done
Ensure all WCC staff on Living Wage Done
Work toward all WCC contractors on Living Wage Done
WCC to become an accredited Living Wage Employer Done
Provide a $5000 rates rebate for first time home owners in a newly constructed dwelling Done
Invest in and grow Wellington social housing WCC Te Kopahou and Te Mara initiatives completed. Partnerships for new social and affordable housing with Housing NZ and private partnerships for apartment conversions. Program for 750 new dwellings underway.
Work towards New Zealand’s first wet house Terminology refined to ‘supported living units’. Three separate projects underway to create 95 supported living units in Wellington.
Create Build Wellington within WCC to be focused on affordable and social housing delivery. Done and will work alongside Government’s proposed new Urban Development Authority to progress Wellington projects.
Support an extension of Wellington Airport Project went to the Supreme Court. Now being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority and resource consent to be re-submitted.

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