City Watch #10

The tenth, and very delayed round up of recent news and events around Wellington. Apologies if you’ve been missing your regular installments. We should be back to normal from now on! If you think we’ve missed anything or have any information please contact us. Thanks to those who have been sending things in.

Speaking at the Best Run Cities Forum in Singapore last week WCC CEO Kevin Lavery said Wellington is reorienting its focus to support the development of private enterprise in the city.

Candidate love ins continue with Labour Southern Ward councillor Paul Eagle and his Green Party competitor David Lee seemingly working together in an effort to purge the ward of Bryan Pepperell with the construction of a joint trailer bill board. Cute.

Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon deserves all the plaudits he’s getting with his decision to stand down and not seek reelection. More should follow his example. His reign is less than the 12-year average of current Wellington city councillors. More than half have spent more than three terms on the council. Scoop have a good story looking at his decision and the (in)decisions of other lingers.

Strathmore Park blog has a very interesting post about the airport and the death of Bridge Street.

The Government has appointed the board of inquiry to decide whether a flyover should be built next to Wellington’s Basin Reserve and is expected to make decision within nine months after Wellington City Council couldn’t reach a decision on where it stands on the contentious flyover.

It’s pre-election report releasing season. The Greater Wellington Regional Council have released theirs, as did Upper Hutt City Council and of course, Wellington City Council.

Responding to Wellington’s pre-election report which showed high levels of pride in the city (82%) but only 50% of residents saying they get value for money from Council services, Southern Ward councillor Paul Eagle says Council must put more focus on delivery of public services to meet the expectations of ratepayers.

Getting in on the pre-election activity, the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce issued policies it believes people standing for council in the local body elections need to adopt if they want to help grow the region’s economy.

The cost to Wellington from the recent spate of natural disasters is continuing to mount, with the bill for June’s storm alone reaching $4 million.

Incidents of poos and wees in Wellington pools must have dropped with most of city’s popular swimming spots provide safe swimming with 67 of the 85 sites monitored found to have ‘fair’ to ‘very good’ water quality.

John Morrison posted a nice photo on his Facebook of his lunch with almost-rumoured-might-have-been mayoral candidate Annette King and got “some excellent advice”. If only there was a microphone in the teapot.

Former RAM 2008 general election candidate and Wellington Hospital staff nurse Grant Brookes is standing for election to the Capital & Coast District Health Board on a “Health First” ticket.

Herp derp alert: Enterprise Miramar Peninsula is calling for the Wellington City Council to rename Weka Street, Weta Street.

Greater Wellington Regional Council dropped 1080 cereal pellet baits in the 15,000 hectare Akatarawa Forest to control possums and the area will now be off limits to dogs for the next six months.

Wellington is promising to ‘hit one out of the park’ after the Capital was allocated a Quarter Final and three Cricket World Cup Pool Games.

Don Day argues that the community hasn’t had much engagement in the local government debate and there’s a lack of strategic vision missing in current negotiations.

A independent report commissioned by Hutt City Council has conveniently found that Local authority amalgamation would have no benefits in the Wellington region and would not have enough benefits to make up for the loss of democracy and cost of amalgamation.

Councillors have started hearing around 270 oral submissions from the public on the Council’s draft Local Alcohol Policy, which will make changes to regulations about when and where alcohol can be sold. They’re also looking for members of the city’s new District Licensing Committees.

Nearly 2000 submissions were received, with the bulk of submitters saying proposals to curb opening hours for venues selling alcohol are too tough. Hospitality New Zealand has led the charge against the policy, criticising its “inappropriate and unnecessary” changes. Others aren’t convinced the council is listening.

Others said it would restrict new entrepreneurs taking risks. Victoria University’s Rainsforth Dix threw their students under bus, calling for a blanket 3am closing, saying they “linger as long as possible” and that they’re “opportunistic” when it comes promotions.

NZ Bus is promising Wellington bus users smoother, safer public transport services and reduced fuel emissions as a result of a $3million investment in driver training and new telematics technology to be installed across its GO Wellington and Valley Flyer fleets.

Fran Wilde has welcomed the climate change report by the Government’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman to the debate about the resilience of Wellington’s infrastructure.

There’s only a week or so left to make proposals about changing local government in Wellington.

Probably not the type of story Celia Wade-Brown wants, but the authenticity her reelection campaign photographs have been called in to question.

Without defining what would make them qualified, the Wellingtonian ask whether Wellington City councillors are they qualified to run the city.

It took three court challenges, but a Wellington man has won a minor victory over contentious parking tickets issued near his home and Wellington City Council have – at a judge’s urging – decided to repaint the lines on the road.

Labour candidates Mark Peck (Lambton) and Malcolm Aitken (Onslow-Western) say unelected council officials must not hogtie any new council over parking policy as officials gearing up to tender out new contracts for many of Wellingtons parking services in August.

Meanwhile their Labour colleague Paul Eagle hit out at a Council review of parking arguing it completely ignored motorists and city users by undertaking a narrow information gathering exercise with a focus on money, not people. John Morrison later came out in support of Eagles position. Eagle also believes the buy-back of city parking buildings should be also be looked at.

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