City Watch #7

Our seventh round up of recent news and events around Wellington. If you think we’ve missed anything or have any information please contact us. Thanks to those who have been sending things in.

With Porirua City Council being the most recent to call for a binding referendum to provide a final stamp of approval from the region’s voters on amalgamation, Brett Sangster argues that there are far better alternatives that provide opportunities for communities to engage on an issue and have their say in a meaningful way rather than binding referendums.

There is strong interest in the cutting rights the Greater Wellington Regional Council are flogging off. The 5430-hectare estate consists of nine blocks in the Wellington “metro” area and three in the Wairarapa. They are valued at $28.5 million and the council hopes to sell all the rights to one buyer.

The seventh annual Garden Bird Survey has kicked of, with last year’s results showing that the house sparrow is still the most prolific species. In total, 156,977 birds were counted in last year’s survey, of which 23,900 were tallied in Wellington.

Power was finally restored to all houses one week after a storm battered the city.

Wellington City Council will not prosecute the owners of two greyhounds that attacked and killed a young dog, unless the dog’s owner lays a complaint.

Labour’s Onslow-Western Ward candidate Malcolm Aitken believes (as you would expect) that Wellington City Council is ignoring Karori after the Council recommended to fund a Karori Events Centre to the tune of $260,000 is a fraction of the $2 million required.

An extra six months of funding have been granted to Urban Dream Brokerage who assist with the revitalisation of Wellington city through brokering the use of vacant shops and commercial spaces by artists for public art and creative businesses.

Southern Ward candidate Will Moore is starting to pick up his latest campaign with planning meetings with supporters and says he will see you soon, on the streets or in the bush.

A regional fund set up to help pay for big events and attractions will have its budget cut after failing to get enough support from councils. Wellington’s decision to cut its contribution allowed it to meet its self imposed average rates increase of 2.5%. The move once again disappointed the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

As we reported here earlier, Sarah Free is now confirmed as the Green Party’s Eastern Ward candidate.

Regional rates and public transport fares are set to rise, but councillors have praised the efforts of staff in avoiding a much bigger increase. You don’t know how lucky you have it, rate payers!

A census of birds by the regional council and Department of Conservation at Lake Wairarapa has revealed some good news with the numbers of black-billed gulls, a nationally endangered species, shooting up from 51 birds in 2011 to 216 – the highest count to date.

An extra $3 million will be pumped into economic development through the Wellington Economic Initiatives Development Fund following a unanimous Wellington City Council vote. In a bid to help drive economic growth in the city it will build on the existing events fund, taking the total pool to $6m.

Wellingtonians have voted the statue of Fritz the dog and Mr Plimmer the city’s favourite public artwork.

Verizon’s latest commercial, which features people running through Wellington streets with white and red sparklers has been release. The commercial was shot after the Council voted to close a number of city streets for filming.

Massey’s Dr Andy Asquith argues that the deep-seated rivalry between Wellington and Auckland means that many in the Windy City would baulk at the thought of imitating anything Auckland does. But it would save everyone in Wellington a lot of time and effort if they accepted the inexorable march towards a single authority for their region. I just loved the guy’s red suit jacket.

To celebrate the school road patrols and road safety around their schools, more than 1450 children – representing over half of Wellington’s primary schools – will march through the city in the annual Orange Day street parade this Friday.

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association slammed the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s recently released draft fare structure as a spectacular failure of vision that does nothing to help tertiary students in Wellington struggling with transport costs.

More shit has leaked into Wellingotn Harbour, this time near Petone.

Octogenarian Kapiti residents led the first blockade of the National Government’s planned motorway through their communities on a piece of land that the New Zealand Transport Agency is forcing the owner to sell for the proposed Expressway.

Kapiti Coast District Council face an estimated $250,000 in costs defending the first case against their arbitrary lines on 1800 LIM reports, and there are 1799 cases to go according to mayoral candidate, Jackie Elliott.

Wellington City Council is consulting on its draft Local Alcohol Policy, which would give communities greater control over when, where and how alcohol is sold, and a draft Alcohol Management Strategy to deal with the wider issues relating to alcohol use in the city. But is it a all sham? Ian Apperley thinks so.

The loss of 163 jobs at NZ Post’s Wellington processing centre will be a blow to both the families involved and to the local economy. But Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace is hoping the site left empty in Petone will be used for something that brings jobs and life to the area.

Tipped of by a rival candidate, Onslow-Western Ward candidate Hayley Robinson thinks that carpooling is under-used and under-publicised. However, she might struggle to find people to fill her car if this tweet is anything to go by :-).

Newtown residents and police are joining forces to crack down on legal synthetic cannabis. Business owners, residents and police said they were sick of locals being harassed by a group of people for money to buy legal highs.

Department of Conservation Director-General Al Morrison writes that recent storms have given us first-hand lesson in the value of native natural capital, or the value of planting native trees.

Wellington City Council is on the hunt for experienced artists to work on two mural projects in the Capital’s southern suburbs, which will involve work with young people from two local primary schools.

The Wellington Library Coalition is asking why libraries are being targeted with significant decreases in funding when other areas of council spending clearly show a significant increase in investment. They’ve come armed with stats and tables.

Picture 7

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6 responses to “City Watch #7

  1. Thank you for bringing the tweet of political horror to my attention (as it was not tweeted at me, this is my first clue regarding the matter). I have replied. In my defence I would like to point out that one negative tweet after driving my giant name around for over a month is probably not too bad statistically.

  2. Does anyone know what’s with all the street lights that are out all over the place? I’ve noticed it in Karori and Newtown.

  3. Richard: do you know about http://fixmystreet.org.nz/home

    For things like this that aren’t emergencies its a great reporting device. A lot of people I’ve talked to haven’t been reporting these medium-sized non-emergency issues, because they felt the Council had bigger things to work on after the storm, but it is worth notifying WCC.

  4. Isn’t that funny. This is the work that Citi-ops used to do but they have been disbanded by the council in their wisdom. They will have to hire a contractor to look out these problems now. I wonder who will pay for that, and how much? Sounds like a council out of control to me!

  5. My understanding, as of yesterday, is that the faults have to be dealt with by Wellington Electricity, so it is effectively out of the Council’s hands, but they are aware of it and are communicating with Wellington Electricity. It does appear to be storm related. But yes Mark, it was horribly ironic that Citi-ops staff were made redundant right as this storm was happening; I’ve heard that they were brought back temporarily to help with the damage – does anyone know if this is true? If so it those gentlemen deserve medals for their patience towards their former employers and their total dedication to their city. I hope they get snapped up by another employer.

    Hayley Robinson
    Onslow-Western Ward candidate

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