Chamber congratulates Foster: the time for action is now
Wellington Chamber of Commerce congratulates Andy Foster on the final confirmation of his election as Mayor of Wellington, says Chief Executive John Milford.
"Now that we have seen Judge Kevin Kelly issue this ruling, that there is no evidence to support a recount and decline the application, the time for action is now.
"Mayor Foster promised strong, experienced, capable leadership to take the city forward, so we’re expecting big things and look forward to helping him achieve them.
"He has set out a six-year programme for transport, urban development, economic, social, cultural, and environment, and the Chamber will hold him to it.
"We look forward to hearing from Mayor Foster directly at our upcoming Chamber event, where he will give the State of the City address.
"Earlier this year he told the Chamber’s Mayoral Debate that one of the first things he would do if he became mayor would be to talk to the region’s mayors and then go and talk to Transport Minister Phil Twyford about Let’s Get Wellington Moving, to advance a tunnel at the Basin and Mt Vic duplication.
"I note the Minister says he will meet Mr Foster, so we wait for that to happen sooner rather than later.
"Business is also looking forward to seeing what he will do about rates.
"He said in our debate the city was looking at a rates rise of 52% over the next 10 years, and when 20% is added for Let’s Get Wellington Moving and the Civic Square fixes that adds up to a rise of 70-80%. He said: ‘We should be cutting that in half and I have a plan to do that.’
"That’s a big call so we’re very keen to see his plan. I note he’s promising a rates taskforce, as well as a budgetary taskforce to assess the budget line by line. They are welcome moves, and business would expect to be at the table for them."
Among his other promises were:
- A strategy for the next three years and a timetable for delivering on it.
- More use of non-rates funding tools, including legislative capability to adopt long-stay parking levies and congestion pricing.
- Support targeted rating.
- Establish an urban development agency or an urban development relationship with the Government.
- Consult on a new spatial plan.
- Support recycling of assets (‘depending on the return’).
- Accelerate bus priority on key routes, work with regional council to fix buses.
- Restore free Sunday parking.
- Speed up consents.
- Find international projects and encourage them to come to the city.
"That's a lot of promises. Many of them align with what business believes the city needs to take it forward, but right now they are just promises.
"If we are to move forward and get Wellington actually moving we need courageous leadership to turn them into action.
"We also need to cut through the bureaucracy and red tape handbrakes on the city’s growth and progress.
"It’s vital the Mayor is supported by councillors to put the city and its residents, businesses, and the region first ahead of political positioning."