Alan Tristram reports that in an unprecedented intervention into the territory of other politicians, Kāpiti Mayor K. Gurunathan has called on Wellington politicians to ‘pull finger.’
He says: I’m making a public appeal to Wellington City’s mayor and councillors to pull finger
and sort their differences for the sake of the Wellington Region.
“I do this reluctantly
but the importance of the City’s economy to the rest of the region is so critical that
some regional concern at what’s happening must be signalled. I’m confident other
mayors in the region are equally concerned.
“The region, like the rest of the country is facing unprecedented challenges due to the
Covid-19 pandemic. The negative economic impact on local economies is huge and
we are in the midst of a growing global recession. We need Wellington City
politicians to be concentrating on providing leadership at this time. Instead the region
is hearing that an independent government commissioner may be called in to sort
out their political differences.
The regional councils have often been told that what’s good for Wellington is good
for the region. By extension, therefore, what’s bad for Wellington is bad for the region
With an asset value of $7.2 billion, an operational budget of $538m, and a capital
expenditure of $228m, Wellington City is undoubtedly the economic and cultural
engine of the region.
Of the 7,700 Kāpiti residents who commute out of the Kāpiti
district to work, 5,000 work in Wellington. So Kāpiti has a stake in the continued
prosperity of Wellington and the region.
I like to challenge Wellington City councillors to have early and meaningful
discussions on a regional response to a post Covid-19 world. For example, regional
transport and work patterns have changed. What do Wellington City politicians think
about the opportunity to decentralise Wellington given technology has enabled
thousands to stop commuting and instead work from home? Online employment
hubs in Kāpiti, and elsewhere in the region can continue these positive changes
reducing transport capacity and congestion problems.
These are only some of the challenges facing the region. We need to review,
complete and adopt the Wellington Regional Growth Framework and the spatial plan
this will create to enable the Wellington Region to work together. I appeal to our
Wellington City Council politicians to put aside differences and support the people of
the region during this time of crisis.