Wellington Scoop

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.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. Traveller, 12. May 2019, 19:58

    I’ll vote for removing cars from the Golden Mile …

  2. Heidi P, 13. May 2019, 5:31

    Focusing on homelessness as an election promise? The Ministry of Social Development Ministry and the Housing Ministry need to develop a plan. That plan is called doing their jobs providing for the needs of people they serve.
    The WCC’s agenda complete with building an unneeded convention center ….well it’s got nothing to do with re homing the homeless.

  3. Norbert Hausberg, 13. May 2019, 8:06

    Enough of party driven city politics. The problems facing us are too big for political parties and their supported councillors.
    I will be standing for mayor in this election. Carbon free in 2022 is the best and only way to go. There is not much room and time. We have to act decisively to facilitate the change necessary. Our countries and cities plan for 2050 is too little too late. We are betrayed by our politicians and they do not reflect the proclaimed nuclear moment for this generation. If we dont act, what will our mokopuna say?

  4. Alf the Aspirational Apteryx, 13. May 2019, 8:13

    The Convention Centre is top of his list? Unbelievable. And the Shelly Bay SHA fiasco? The traffic chaos in the Eastern Ward after 3pm each weekday? A kiwi in every back yard?

  5. BHS, 13. May 2019, 8:40

    I’ll vote for removing diesel buses from the golden mile. They are far noisier and polluting than a hybrid car or even a petrol car. And the diesel buses often have no passengers on them! Bring back the trolley bus I say.

  6. Marion Leader, 13. May 2019, 8:53

    Why no mention of the buses?

  7. michael, 13. May 2019, 9:37

    All very well and good Justin but no mention of keeping our spiraling rates down. And, as we are not the Ministry of Social Development responsible for remedying the homeless, mental health and addiction problems etc, will they be funding these initiatives or will it be the ratepayers?

  8. greenwelly, 13. May 2019, 10:19

    “Let’s Get Wellington Moving plans will be released to the public before the end of May.” Why does this suspiciously sound like the start of more “consultation.” While LGWM could do with many things “released to the public,” what it really needs is “decisions made.”

  9. Tony Jansen, 13. May 2019, 10:51

    Sorry to say but much of the mayor’s tick list is puffery and often outside the Council’s jurisdiction, achieved by another agency. And yet there is the Convention Centre at the top of the pile. The white elephant that no one wants. No mention of the dubious shenanigans with TWC/Shelly Bay, but continued support for the indefensible runway extension. No mention of the Council’s long running and expensive legal disputes with its own citizens.
    I am totally underwhelmed by this mayor and his many slights of hand.
    Unfortunately political life is increasingly about chasing the money and ignoring the people. In this regard, Labour or National, blue or red or green matter not a jot. I will struggle to summon the energy to vote for any of these “candidates”. What difference will it really make?

  10. Save the Basin, 13. May 2019, 11:41

    Encouraging to hear Mayor @justin_lester say on RNZ’s Morning Report that new let’sgetwellymoving proposals will be “like chalk and cheese” compared to the defeated, discredited Basin Reserve flyover project.
    As the Beatles said, we’d all love to see the plans! [via twitter]

  11. Benny, 13. May 2019, 11:43

    It’s fascinating that the three promises Mr Lester is putting forward come before multi-hundred million dollar projects that he is also supporting. Tackling homelessness, CBD and refugees are difficult to disagree with, but the runway extension, the convention centre and Shelly Bay will have a severe impact on people’s lives and our debt. So let’s mostly discuss the car free CBD (which is great by the way. I wonder how much of LGWM is backing it).

    I also note the sudden flurry of “give us your opinion” surveys, as if they mattered: LTP 2018 clearly said Wellingtonians want a focus on the environment, and yet, the council budget still gives priority to vanity projects. I also wonder how the convention centre project will be impacted by the library: with a reconstruction price tag likely to be in the same area as the convention centre, Mr Lester should be telling us how he intends to tweak his budget to deliver what he says is his highest priority.

    @Marion: in 2016, Mr Lester said he would be “moving to a fully electric bus fleet and buses with higher capacity”, but he now have realised that the WCC does not manage the buses.

  12. Max Rashbrooke, 13. May 2019, 12:12

    Worth noting that Justin Lester is talking about housing the 50-70 people rough sleeping in Wellington, rather than the 3400 people technically homeless – without a proper place to live – as at the 2013 Census. [via twitter]

  13. Marion Leader, 13. May 2019, 12:28

    Benny, what I expect from the mayor is that he advocates for Wellingtonians regarding the buses. It is the chief problem affecting many of us.

  14. Ruz, 14. May 2019, 18:50

    I will vote for someone other than Lester. Not interested in his promises but what he has done. Not impressed so he has to be replaced.

  15. John Locke, 15. May 2019, 10:56

    Disappointing, but not surprising – as usual not much mention of actually helping the common citizen who is burdened with rates that are increasing at double the rate of inflation.
    Instead, we get a convention center that one suspects will magically double in budget by the time it’s done (to the developers’ delight).
    Suspect the LGWM plan will include hugely expensive white elephant projects that will end up costing twice what they should, won’t be well used, and will take 20 years to implement.
    Well done for again not actually representing the interests of the majority who live and work here.