Wellington Scoop

John Milford wants councillors to unite behind mayoral vision

Press Release – Business Central – Wellington
Wellington city councillors, with support from the region’s councils, hold the key to the city’s successful path forward, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford.

He was speaking after a sold-out Chamber event at the PwC Centre this morning, where Wellington Mayor Andy Foster gave his first public presentation on his vision for the city.

“Mayor Foster laid out the path forward for the city – the challenges and the opportunities, and there are plenty of both – but there will be no progress on any of it without the support of his councillors.

“It’s one thing for him to be saying it but it’s quite another for his councillors to have the same visions for the city and the path to get there.

“The answers to the transport, resilience, infrastructure and events questions we need to really get the city pumping lie mostly in the hands of councillors.

“From what we heard today, the mayor gets it but if councillors are not on the same page in their desire to get this city really moving then it’s going to be another long three years. Business will be doing its best to ensure that’s not the case.

“Building a tunnel at the Basin Reserve at the same time as mass transit, a parking review, fixing congestion, a spacial plan, a movie museum, a war museum, bringing cruise ships into the city, an arts and events update, support for emerging businesses – they’re among the mayor’s vision and are what the city, and the region, urgently need but they will not be achieved without agreement on the way to achieve them.

“This is a city-region opportunity because, though Wellington is the engine room of the region, they rely on each other for their economic wellbeing. It was great to see the mayors of Porirua, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt at today’s event because their support is vital. I believe that’s the first time they have all attended a mayoral address organised by the Chamber, and that’s most encouraging.

“Like me, they’ll also be encouraged Mayor Foster confirmed he will be meeting the Transport Minister before the end of the year to discuss Let’s Get Wellington Moving and its timetable.

“That’s the big key to unlocking our growth potential, and I would like to think the Minister will see that.

“For example, business can’t see why the Basin fix can’t be done at the same time as mass transit solutions are worked on.

“The time is now for action to get Wellington really moving and everyone has to play their part.”

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  1. Dave B, 26. November 2019, 19:15

    But Mr Milford, the mayor’s vision is to prioritize building another road tunnel ahead of any mass transit option. Any serious alternative to more roads will just get pushed further away into the dim and distant future. How does this fit with LGWM’s goal of “moving more people with fewer vehicles”?
    So why should councilors unite behind the mayoral vision if they believe it is misguided?

  2. Tim Jones, 26. November 2019, 20:17

    Well said, Dave B! Andy Foster was among those Councillors who voted to declare a climate and ecological emergency. Now he’s Mayor, he appears to have conveniently forgotten that. I hope his Council colleagues will remind him that Wellington City has committed to sharply reducing its carbon emissions over the next 10 years. Building more road capacity for more cars will just cause further increases in emissions, and directly contradicts that LGWM objective.

  3. Doug Ads, 27. November 2019, 8:51

    I would love to hear more about this Spacial Plan, and how it’s essential to business in Wellington. May I suggest that the portal could link into the convention centre, bringing much needed visitors from other galaxies to see the wonderful trinkets of Wellywood, and facilitating business growth and investment. I struggle to think How have we coped without it this far. I trust that it will it be developed by Willis Bond, and Mr Milford and his Ilk will take charge of Ark B, in pioneering the development of the outer planetary suburbs for the rest of us.

  4. michael, 27. November 2019, 9:15

    Unless all groups (including the councillors) reach some form of reasonable compromise, Wellington will not get a reliable and efficient transport system, and people will continue to resort to using cars, but not necessarily out of choice. Yes we have a climate emergency, yes we have too many cars on the road, but for public transport to work properly – maybe we do need a second tunnel? – maybe we will need to compromise on other aspects as well? But regardless we DO NEED to agree now! and get moving now! We are quick to condemn councillors, but really . . . are we (the public) blameless in all of this?

  5. John Rankin, 27. November 2019, 10:47

    An upvote for @DaveB’s comment.

    @Michael: before the recent elections, our representatives (Cabinet, GWRC and WCC) agreed LGWM’s goal is “moving more people with fewer vehicles” and therefore put public and active transport projects first. Our newly-elected mayor has since changed his mind, no doubt for good reasons. The mayor has not explained how increasing road capacity and delaying mass rapid transit will “move more people with fewer vehicles”. Perhaps he has a different goal; we don’t know, he hasn’t said.

    As @Michael says “we do need to agree now! and get moving now!” We had a goal; we had agreement; we were moving; the mayor wants to change direction. If anything, LGWM’s plan moves too slowly. If we are serious about relieving congestion at the Basin, we need mass rapid transit to the eastern suburbs and airport far sooner than the 2035 or later currently planned. And that, Mr Milford, is the reason we need to plan the mass rapid transit solution before we commit to changes at the Basin.

  6. Dave B, 27. November 2019, 11:18

    Yes Michael, we definitely do need a second tunnel, just not another road tunnel. The “missing mode” in this area of Wellington is rail, and that is what any new tunnel should be designed for.
    By so doing, this currently rail-less southern corner of the region could catch up with what greatly helps keeps the rest of the region moving. (Hint: It’s not just more roads).