City Watch #14

The fourteenth 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.

Bus fares are increasing again today, this time by an average of 2%. This will result in increases in the cost of Snapper and Mana card fares by 3.8% for Zone 1 fares and approximately 2.5% in most other fare zones. On average, fares have risen by 8% over the past three years. Labour Regional Councillor Daran Ponter explains why they should have gone down.

A new Otaki River bridge proposed for the Kapiti Expressway could become a sieve, snagging debris and clogging the waterway, a consent hearing has been told.

Election hoardings too close to intersections, blocking access routes or pinned to lamp-posts have all prompted complaints to the region’s councils.

Wellington’s 7.1 percent unemployment rate is one of the highest for cities in New Zealand and well above the national average of 6.7 percent, says mayoral candidate John Morrison.

The curtain may have fallen, but Downstage Theatre played host to one last act when Wellington’s mayoral candidates were put on the spot about their plans for the arts. At the theatre yesterday, Wellington City’s six contenders tied the future of arts to the need to boost the economy – though details of exactly how were sparse.

Prominent Wellingtonian Hilary Beaton is welcomed today to Zealandia by the Karori Sanctuary Trust Board. Ms Beaton has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive, which she will take up in late October.

Porirua voters appear to be more engaged in local body elections this year, with voting paper returns 79 per cent higher than at the equivalent date in 2010.

The Dominion Post put the spotlight on Wellington’s mayoral candidates to find out their views on the big issues facing the capital – and what they will do to get the city moving.

InterContinental Wellington is about to undergo a major refurbishment, delivering even further on its promise of authentic luxury in the heart of New Zealand’s capital city.

Dave Armstrong laments the confusing world out there for voters.

The Dominion Post asked the mayoral candidates: The council has been criticised for lack of unity and lack of a relationship with central government. How would you improve those two areas?

Hundreds of Victoria University students turned out to hear from the Wellington mayoral candidates yesterday, but the biggest cheers were saved for the university cleaners. Salient also covered the event in detail.

Kapiti council hopefuls have been warned not to take sides in the fluoride debate – at least not until after the election.

With bills to pay and a baby on the way, Wellington parking warden Esau Taniela tackles a 68-hour working week to bring home $719, while his pregnant partner works three jobs. The 22-year-old Parkwise worker is one of hundreds of council staff who stand to benefit from a Wellington City Council commitment to a living wage.

Wellington City Mayoral candidate Jack Yan says letters sent to constituents by an opponent reflect a divide in thinking.

A mayoral candidate complained this week that there’s been “plenty of talk but not enough action” for Wellington cyclists. Which was a mystery, as the complaint came from John Morrison who is leader of the council’s sports portfolio – he’s in charge of almost everything that’s done by the council for city cyclists.

A local government expert doesn’t think online voting will increase voter participation in local elections.

Eleven attractions that help make the Wellington region a great play to live, work and play are in line for a financial boost, following the latest meeting of the Wellington Regional Amenities Fund (WRAF).

The Green Party’s Eastern Ward candidate Sarah Free wants to plan for growth, space and success.

A framework to trigger economic growth over the next decade, titled Tourism 2025 – Growing Value , is being launched today to around 300 tourism industry leaders at the 2013 TIA Summit in Wellington.

Wellington has extended its lead as New Zealand’s most upbeat region, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms which says confidence has surged to an 11-year high.

A chopper, monsoon bucket and four fire trucks will converge on the site of one of Wellington’s most spectacular rural fires tomorrow to launch the region’s new merged rural fire service.

Offending has decreased 13.6 per cent in the Wellington District according to the latest crime statistics released today by Statistics New Zealand. This result is almost double the reduction in the national crime rate of 7.4% and builds on a 6.5% drop from the previous year.

Youth organisation Generation Zero released scorecards communicating information on candidate stances on important local issues, which it has gathered from conducting interviews around the country.

After butting heads repeatedly over the last year, Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett says he does not want his deputy Liz Kelly back on the council.

Kerry Wood is predicting Wellington’s public transport spine will be light rail.

Brent Efford argues that the Regional Council’s Public Transport Spine Study has little credibility technically, and if it is implemented it will leave the greater Wellington public transport system permanently crippled with its current broken spine.

Generation Zero created a graphic to summarise the arguments for light rail and against buses as submission closed controversial Public Transport Spine proposal.

Hayley Robinson has hit out at – the “dinosaur attitude” of a council media advisor.

An aspect of the recent print advertising for Wellington Airport has been disingenuous. The airport’s take-off graph of passenger numbers is far too steep, because the ‘runway’ – the horizontal axis – has been foreshortened, giving the same ‘distance’ between 2020 and 2030 as that for 2010 and 2015, when it should in fact be double the distance.

Lower Hutt’s mayor is promising a multimillion-dollar conference centre for the central city in the next three years. Ray Wallace said he wanted the centre to target the overseas conference market, with medical conferences from Australia expected to be especially lucrative

Wellington City Council is reviewing its parking ticketing systems after claims it’s ‘double-dipping’ in order to make more money.

Wellington specialist public law firm Franks & Ogilvie will pay rewards and prizes for whistle-blowers to establish the scale of the local election booklet botch-up.

Mayors throughout New Zealand will gain important new powers under law changes which will come into operation following the current local authority elections.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle was used as a ‘‘battering ram’’ to smash down local body election hoardings in a Wellington suburb.

The Upper Hutt City Council is taking a stand against illegal dumping of household waste in an effort to preserve the cleanliness of public places and reduce the cost and risks of maintaining them.

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