Wellington Businesses Lay Out Agenda for City

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has released the priorities for Wellington business ahead of the 2022 local election.

Representing the views of over 50 top Wellington businesses and their leaders, The Wellington Report: A Voice for Business was compiled by the Chamber and Iron Duke Partners, through a series of interviews and workshops, focused on what priorities business needs from the city.

"The Wellington Report offers a pragmatic and constructive policy platform for the city," says Simon Arcus, Chief Executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce. "It draws directly on the experience of businesses and outlines the priorities they need to help this city thrive."

Business leaders highlighted a lack of accountability to business for the rates they pay, along with a desire for focus on core city infrastructure, particularly pipes and transport reliability.

"Wellington businesses pay some of the highest rates in the country. They understand the need to make investments for the future, but there is a lack of accountability of how this money is spent, and how it benefits business," says Simon Arcus.

The Wellington Chamber will be hosting a mayoral debate on September 8th, which will focus on the report’s recommendations.

The full report can be found here.

List of Recommendations:

1.The first 100 days of the Council term should prioritise key infrastructure investment, with restraint shown toward new projects until existing challenges in water, transport and waste management are being remediated.

2.From the next rating review forward, Council should signal rates rises which are sustainable for businesses to offer them certainty around cost pressures.

3.Within the next term, Council should move to divest responsibility for transport infrastructure and operations from GWRC to a separate entity, whose mandate is to prioritise the reliability of transport.

4.Within its first 100 days, Council should outline a plan to prioritise and incentivise rapid CBD densification, in partnership with Central Government and industry. This should include rates rebates, targeted rates on underutilised properties, joint Government funding and the use of innovative funding mechanisms.

5.Within its first 100 days, Council should work with business to create a precinct plan for the city - linking the stadium, Lambton Quay, Waterfront, and Courtenay Entertainment Precinct.

6.Council should position Wellington as the national home of Māori and Pasifika business success and cultural celebration through a commitment to hosting events, showcasing performances, and partnering with Māori and Pasifika business groups.

7.Council should transition towards the phased amalgamation of public services and Wellington, Porirua, and Hutt Councils over time.

8.Council should clarify WellingtonNZ’s mandate by introducing KPIs based on economic growth and business success.

9.Council should establish a dedicated business representative that acts as the link between Council and business with the position funded directly out of commercial rates. To ensure independence and accountability, the business representative should be appointed by a wider business advisory council, comprised of leading members of the Wellington business community.

10.Council should report quarterly on the additional value received by business from the higher rates differential.

11.Council and Central Government should urgently address rampant homelessness and antisocial behaviour in Central Wellington. This should include an increased police presence in the central city, improved protections for CBD businesses and employees, and efforts to find appropriate, long-term accommodation for rough sleepers.

12.Council should provide incentives to develop derelict sites and underutilised properties in the CBD.

13.Council, in partnership with WellingtonNZ, should engage in a targeted campaign showcasing the wide range of careers that can be started and fostered in Wellington.

14.The Council should produce an independent "State of Business" report annually. This report should outline its progress against these recommendations and the city’s business growth.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Joseph Pagani | Senior Policy and External Relations Advisor, Business Central

Email: joseph.pagani@businesscentral.org.nz Mobile: 029 0203 6703