Wellington City has enjoyed a good year; a year of events and investment that we’ll benefit from for generations to come.
The year 2012/13 can be characterised as a year of partnerships and creating the conditions for our new, diverse and innovative economy to thrive. The spectacle of the global premiere for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Royal Visit of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the inaugural AFL premiership match held outside Australia excited the Capital.
The year was also about resilience: city resilience through stronger buildings and robust emergency responses; community resilience through stronger partnerships with social agencies, schools, community groups and neighbourhoods; economic resilience through the continued diversification of the Wellington economy, fostering the development of our innovative companies and promoting the export of our ideas and products to the world.
Our planning and preparedness for unexpected natural events revealed their benefits only weeks after the Council year 2012/13 ended.
Emergency management: Recent events have confirmed the Council’s view that our priority must be on a strong, resilient city. In July 2012 the new regionally shared emergency management organisation (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office – WREMO) began operating, pulling together expertise from around our region’s councils. In conjunction with WREMO and GNS we undertook 26 seminars to better inform the public about earthquake risk and personal preparedness. Over 1400 people attended these sessions. Earthquake assessments for homes were made available and local products and services were showcased at the Wellington Rocks! expo.
City Housing: Our partnership with the Crown for the Housing Upgrade Project is the largest and most intensive social housing redevelopment project ever undertaken in New Zealand. We completed the upgrade of Central Park Apartments in August 2012 and Newtown Park Apartments, ahead of schedule in June 2013, a total of 395 units. The upgrades included seismic strengthening, new kitchens and bathrooms, thermal curtains, improved ventilation and insulation and the reconfiguring of some units. Further work on affordable housing is in progress.
Education: Our teams collaborated with 80 Victoria University students, to examine how we strengthen Cuba Street buildings while retaining their special heritage character, and signed up with Victoria University for an ongoing planting initiative on Te Ahumairangi Hill. The Wolf Pack safety campaign was developed by Massey University students, including a mobile app where users can keep connected to friends. A good example of our Smart Capital in action!
Mana whenua: We continued with many activities throughout the year – Matariki, Māori Language Week, and Waitangi Day celebrations. The public sector kapa haka concert Te Kōnohete was a huge success, drawing more than 800 of the Capital’s people together in performance and the spectacular Oruaiti Reserve was opened in November 2012.
This year was the first year of our Long-term Plan to implement the vision Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital. Here are some indicators from our four outcomes that show we’re on the right track:
Eco city: total waste to landfill per capita has decreased from last year by 0.02 tonnes per person; energy use has dropped from 6.9 MWh per person to 6.7 MWh; residential water consumption has decreased by six litres per person per day to 288 litres. The Home Energy Saver programme resulted in over 635 home energy assessments to Wellington households and 364 of these customers installed an energy efficiency measure on the spot (over 680 low energy light bulbs, 255 efficient shower heads and 154 draught-proof measures).
Connected city: 97 percent of residents now have access to broadband, and within the Wellington region there were 23,608,000 passenger trips on a bus and 11,355,000 on a train. Usage of our CBD Free wireless internet was up seven percent on the previous year, no doubt assisted by our golden run of weather.
Dynamic central city: We have 4500 smart businesses in the city and 12 percent of employees working in the smart business sector; 13,134 people reside in the central city, equating to 7.3 percent of the city’s population and 82 percent of residents feel a sense of pride in the look and feel of the central city. The Wellington region gained 5900 new jobs, according to Statistics NZ, higher than anywhere except Canterbury.
People-centred: Eighty eight percent of residents rate their quality of life as extremely good or good; and we feel safe – 98 percent feel safe in the central city during the day.
Although the earthquakes of 21 July 2013 and 16 August 2013 are outside the timeframe for this report they’re certainly on everyone’s minds – and we worked hard throughout the previous year to prepare for such events.
Strengthening work: Projects for the Begonia House, Rugby League Park Stand and the Colonial Cottage have been completed and the buildings are no longer earthquake prone. A total of 4239 pre-1976 buildings have been assessed since mid-2009. Six hundred and twelve have been declared earthquake prone of which 134 are heritage, and 757 are left to assess. We will complete this programme of assessments by June 2014.
Preparedness: Our people are prepared for an emergency more than anywhere in New Zealand. Seven out of 10 Wellington residents have water stored away for an emergency, 78 percent of residents have emergency items and 42 percent have plans at the ready.
Communication and engagement: This is always an important issue and our residents' survey indicated we could improve in this area, so it’s pleasing that the Council has launched its Draft Engagement Policy for your consideration this next year.
There are many community, business and Council achievements to celebrate, and many more planned for the year ahead.