Message from Greater Wellington Chair
This Long Term Plan 2018-28 focuses on the need to continue making significant investment in our regional infrastructure. The package of projects and programmes we will be delivering over the next 10 years will be transformational for the region and will enable us to deliver on our vision of an extraordinary region which is connected, thriving and resilient.
Taking a leadership role across our region means we are never working alone – strengthening our partnerships is a key focus for Council as we look toward the future. We are working closer than ever before with Central Government and other key agencies as well as enabling our communities to play a larger part in the work, for example the Whaitua Committees dedicated to improving our water quality.
Focusing on what really matters to the people who live in our diverse communities is a key consideration for us. Ensuring that we are all connected through an excellent public transport network, having uninterrupted access to safe drinking water, reducing the threat of flooding, protecting and enhancing the environment, improving the quality of our fresh water, and planning well ahead for the potential impact of climate change across our region.
Each of these issues, and more, has been examined in detail, and the recommendations for improvement in the plan have been closely debated by the community, our officers and at the Council table to deliver a robust plan which will lead our region through the next decade.
We are still adapting to the ongoing impacts from the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016. These impacts heighten our awareness of what it is that we need to provide for a more resilient to ensure we have a robust future.
The benefits that will flow from the plan will, of course, come at some cost. We have worked hard to confine the rise in average residential rates for 2018/19 to 5.9 percent, or $3.17 per month on average for ratepayers. Over the next decade average rates are set to increase by 5 percent each year as the momentum of investment continues.
In flood protection, for example, we’re committing $121 million to RiverLink, a package of flood protection, regional transport and urban renewal which will safeguard and catalyse Lower Hutt’s economy, rightly focusing growth on its riverside CBD. A further $62 million will be invested in flood protection improvements in Wairarapa and Kapiti.
Public transport will take its next great leap forward with the full roll out of a new and simplified bus network and fleet. In 2018 we introduced 250 brand new buses on our Metlink public transport network, which will be supplemented by another 90 early in 2019, including high-capacity double-deckers and electric buses. We’ve also allocated $33 million to improve the Wairarapa Line and Capital Connection rail fleets over the next decade.
Add to that, we’ve also allocated funding to the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme and it’s clear we’re investing in a connected region that continues to lead the way in public transport in New Zealand.
We’ve also learned from the lessons of the recent past that resilience is vital to our quality of life, which is why we are committing significant funding to protecting water supplies. Key investment will go ahead in seismic strengthening of several reservoirs and in bulk water supply to Porirua. Two alternatives are being considered to maintain supply following an earthquake: $116 million is earmarked for a cross-harbour pipeline or sourcing water from aquifers beneath Wellington Harbour which, if viable, will be a much more cost-effective solution.
This is a comprehensive and ambitious plan driven in large part by what the community has asked of us and I invite you to read it. A clear direction has been set for the next decade. It only remains for me to thank the people of our extraordinary region for their part in its creation.