Press Release – Wellington Chamber Of Commerce
The Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce congratulates Celia Wade-Brown on her re-election as the Mayor of Wellington, says CEO Raewyn Bleakley.
“Mrs Wade-Brown has promised to renew her efforts to take the city forward, and we look forward to working with her to achieve that.
“Despite a number of criticisms levelled at the council over the past three years, ratepayers have decided she deserves another term, and the Chamber will continue to work with her to ensure the city puts its best foot forward.
“We also congratulate the successful candidates for council. There is a good mix of experience which I’m sure will serve the city well. There are a lot of challenges ahead for the city, and we are expecting big things of them.”
Raewyn Bleakley said Mrs Wade-Brown had promised a lot during the election campaign, and the Chamber intended to hold her to those promises.
“She talked about attracting high-value jobs and skilled migrants, direct long-haul Asian destination flights, securing a convention centre and an interactive film museum, working with tertiary institutions for a bigger performance arts school, and liaising with production, web and advertising businesses to create jobs for graduates.
“She also talked about debate on allocation of council resources, faster action and fewer council meetings, continuing an inclusive approach, holding all councillors accountable, and working on a strategic issues-based approach between council, Local Government NZ and central government.
“Achieving all this would certainly help drive the Wellington economy in the right direction. It’ll require a lot of work, first rate leadership and cohesion within the council. We’re eager to see progress. The business leaders will be watching.”
During the campaign, the Chamber issued policies it believes the city needs to adopt if it is to progress, and Raewyn Bleakley said she would be keen to discuss them with Mrs Wade-Brown and her councillors when the opportunity arose.
Spending – Must be reviewed to find efficiencies and reduce the council footprint and rates take. Councils must cease activities that fall outside core business.
Rating policy – Must be adjusted to ensure costs better lie where they fall.
Amalgamation – A single council for the region must be pursued.
Central government relationship – it is imperative this is enhanced. We must take solutions and innovative proposals to central government not expect hand-outs. Not engaging is not an option!
Economic development – There should be a concentration on economic infrastructure and reducing barriers to business.
Being business friendly – A business-friendly culture should be pursued inside the council, and initiatives must aim to make the city an easy and appealing place to live and do business.
Asset ownership and trading activities – Council should look at divesting some of its assets and reinvesting the proceeds in improved infrastructure.
Transport infrastructure – The role of commuter trains versus buses needs to be reviewed.
Local government review – This should include looking at multiple candidacies, single transferable voting, and direct election of regional council chairs.
Raewyn Bleakley says none of this is too hard.
“These policies are vital to taking the city forward. We are not asking for the impossible. If Wellington and other councils in the region adopt these recommendations, then things will be moving in no time. We’ll see business confidence lift and tangible evidence of economic growth including more jobs.
She thanked Mrs Wade-Brown’s closest rival, John Morrison, for his tireless work over many years on the council.
“Mr Morrison has been a stalwart on the council for 15 years, during which time he served on many committees. He used his experience to lead the sports portfolio with great distinction and his many contacts to bring valuable new business to the city. His work for the city has been invaluable.
“Thanks also to the other four unsuccessful mayoral candidates for conducting clean and positive campaigns, and to the unsuccessful council candidates.”
Click here to access the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Manifesto in full
News release from Business Central
Business Central congratulates the mayors and councillors in the central region who have been elected. Business Central Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley says her organisation looks forward to working with councils in the region, which stretches from Wellington up to New Plymouth and Napier and south to Nelson.
“We are keen to work with them where necessary to help achieve business-friendly policies. Businesses of all sizes are, along with farming, are the lifeblood of these communities, and if they are robust and successful, then local economies will be, too. And that means more jobs and more to spend on social issues. That’s why it’s essential that councils pursue business-centric policies.”
Business Central believes there are some standard policies that would stand any council in good stead. They include:
Spending – Incoming councils should urgently undertake a review of all spending programmes with a view to finding efficiencies and reducing the overall council footprint and rates take. Rates could be tightly controlled until this has occurred. Spending targets should be set so expenditure does not exceed the combined rate of inflation and population growth per year. Councils must cease activities that fall outside core business.
Rating policy – Councils should adjust rating policies to ensure costs better lie where they fall. Councils must be more transparent in how their rates are determined.
Economic development – Councils should concentrate on economic infrastructure and reducing barriers to business, and economic development agencies should have clear key performance indicators and be held to account.
Being business friendly – Councils must work towards developing a business-friendly culture internally. Initiatives must aim to make their towns and cities easy and appealing places to live and do business.
Asset ownership and trading activities – Councils should look at divesting some of their assets and investments, and reinvesting the proceeds in improved infrastructure.
Amalgamation – Rationalisation and efficiencies must be explored.
“These policies are not difficult to achieve and would make a huge difference to communities of all sizes. Business Central is ready and willing to assist councils with advice on these and other matters, and looks forward to hearing from them.”