Wellington Scoop

WREDA’s chief executive is leaving, after only two years

The chief executive of Wellington’s regional economic development agency has decided to resign, after only two years in the role.

His departure is not shown on WREDA’s website, but it is reported in the NZHerald, which says Lance Walker has decided to pursue “new opportunities outside of the local government sector.”

WREDA’s chair Tracey Bridges sent an email to stakeholders with the announcement this afternoon.

The Herald’s Georgina Campbell writes that the turnover of the organisation’s top brass has prompted calls for a review into what is going on within the organisation, and whether the investment of ratepayer money is worth it.

The previous chief executive resigned after less than two years in the job.

The Herald quotes Wellington City Council Associate Economic Development portfolio leader Nicola Young as saying the council gives $12.6m to the organisation annually, and she wants the city council to review its investment. “We need to think long and hard about its role and whether it’s working.”

Losing a chief executive every two years was expensive and unsettling, she said.

Media release from WREDA/WellingtonNZ
Lance Walker will leave his role as CEO of WellingtonNZ at the end of June.

Board chair Tracey Bridges said the board had regretfully accepted Mr Walker’s resignation.

She said that in his time as Chief Executive, Mr Walker had made a significant difference to the focus, culture and performance of WellingtonNZ, uniting the organisation in its mission to make the Wellington region wildly famous. Having made that contribution, Mr Walker has concluded that his skill set is better suited to a more commercial environment.

Mr Walker will remain in his role as CEO until the end of June to ensure a positive leadership transition and maintain the organisation’s momentum while the Board undertakes a recruitment process.

It’s expensive – doubling up at WREDA


  1. Gwynn Compton, 22. January 2020, 18:42

    Definitely time for a review of Wellington’s regional economic development organisation. On the ground in Kāpiti it’s been hard to know what value our district gets for the money from regional ratepayers spent by WREDA/WellingtonNZ. [via twitter]

  2. D.W., 22. January 2020, 20:52

    Axe it now.

  3. Curtis Nixon, 23. January 2020, 11:50

    WREDA is the most wasteful out of the various regional entities. Since that list includes Metlink and Wellington Water, that is saying something. What does WREDA even do?

    The current local government model is broken. Time to start from scratch. Getting rid of GWRC would be a good start. Then we need to bring essential infrastructure like venues, pipes and buses back in-house, and look at whether economic development is a useful and profitable use of ratepayer funds. I think not, personally.

  4. Brendan, 23. January 2020, 13:50

    Well said Curtis! WREDA commissions analysis reports from highly paid consultants and ????

  5. Chamfy, 23. January 2020, 16:32

    May be an unpopular thing to say in Wellington but: in my experience Wellington_NZ is a well-oiled machine that more of Wellington should use to their advantage. Much of the work they do is only visible outside Wellington (as it should be). [via twitter]

  6. Simon Swampy Marsh, 23. January 2020, 16:33

    Before jumping on WREDA, local government needs to look at itself and the way it hobbles the economic development agency from working efficiently. The successes of Creative HQ (part of WREDA) are sadly a well kept secret as are other positive impacts of the organisation. [via twitter]

  7. Aroha, 23. January 2020, 17:02

    Local Govt has no role or function to develop the economy – that is up to the private sector. It has privatised its core services so it’s off on a tangent chasing the dragons. And this is what has gone wrong, local govt takes ratepayer money (contracts, consultancy and assets) and gives them to its preferred private businesses. Also in local govt there is an apartheid system of “economic development”, where one race has privileges which other races don’t have.

  8. Marion Leader, 23. January 2020, 17:15

    Surely it is up to elected people to make certain that nothing is “sadly a well kept secret”.

  9. michael, 23. January 2020, 19:27

    Curtis, agree with you but can’t see the council bringing essential services back in-house as then they would have no one but themselves to blame when things go wrong.

  10. Guntao Stem, 23. January 2020, 21:22

    @Brendan – they also had lavish lunches. Time to call time on this out to lunch organisation.

  11. Hel, 23. January 2020, 22:38

    Well said Chamfy, WellingtonNZ does a fantastic job promoting the city and region.