Building Connected Communities

Building Connected Communities

  • A Council proactively pursuing more housing for all and not waiting for a government deal
  • Remove the unnecessary delays in completion of building consents
  • Appropriate intensification, respecting suburbs’ unique characters
  • Revitalise suburban centres through funding for community-led planning

Communities of place need homes, people, jobs, shops, services, transport and open space.

Increase Housing Supply

But we have a housing crisis. Put simply we need more homes. Supply has lagged far too long behind demand. Successive governments have not planned or dealt with the issue and everyone is now in catch up mode.

We know we will need to fit 50,000 to 80,000 more people in our city over the next 30 years. We need to find ways on how this can be done in a way that supports the growth of local communities and keeping people connected. It will involve a lot more intensification in the city (yes we have the technology and skills to build in areas where the earth moves and the sea is rising).

As a Council we need to make sure all Wellingtonians are provided for. Everyone deserves a warm dry home in a connected community. The current Council developed up a City Housing Strategy and to date has been focused on delivering emergency, supported living and social housing.

We now need to turn our attention to getting more homes built for rent or buy. There is land available within Wellington City to develop housing. The land however is only one component to getting homes built. We need to ensure there is a good supply of developers, trades, skilled Council regulatory staff and quality supplies. Otherwise we will fail to deliver (note the Bustrophe!).

Building Consents

We also need to make sure that Council can expertly and efficiently process and monitor building consents. This is an area we are currently lagging in. As Mayor, I will review our Housing Strategy, check progress and adjust for necessary improvements. The strategy needs some firm dates and measures put in place for progress. The number of building consents can be a useful indicator on progress but I want us to be focused on the number of new homes that actually get built that people can live in.

Not waiting for a government deal

The mention of the phrase “Property Developer” gets many people in a spin and pictures of ‘Devil” for some come to mind. As with any profession/industry you will get a few rogues and dishonest players. However many developers I have met are solid business people, long standing Wellingtonians and have the city at heart. We need to be astute with any partnership but we need to tap into this rich resource to get quality housing built now and not in 5-10 years through some unknown beast known as an “Urban Development Agency”.

We need to ensure there are clear rules on what can be built and where, open up more land for development, work with partners such as Housing New Zealand and iwi to develop and buil.. As we build, we need to do so in a way that keeps people connected, provide access to green space, and use sustainable methods that reduce our carbon footprint. I will, as Mayor, ensure there is a cohesive approach to getting this in place.

The Council is currently reviewing what changes it can make to its District Plan to enable more development and intensification. Most Wellingtonians accept intensification in some form but want to ensure its done well with respect to neighbouring properties and the unique characteristics of suburbs. Everyone has seen or has a story to tell of unsympathetic development or shoddy build.

If we want people to continue to invest their heart and soul into our city (and their homes), this requires mutual respect. To aid more infill, as Mayor I will champion the development of clear guidelines to speed up the process , provide clarity for all parties and ensure sight lines are not commonly breached.

Te Motu Kairangi Miramar Peninsula

One major housing development that has gone off the rails and become a focal point is the Shelly Bay development. It is a growing litany of errors, difficult relationships, poor judgement and lack of transparency. No-one is immune from criticism. At the heart of this is a piece of land that many want treasured and leveraged off it for its natural beauty and eco-system between the land and sea. More practical considerations involve the provision of walking, cycling and road access; and other infrastructure.

Whatever the outcome of the current Shelly Bay resource consent hearing (decision expected August/September 2019) is we need to ask ourselves what does this place mean to us and for future generations? what do we really want to see in this place? how do we show respect to everyone involved? how do we make the most of the opportunities the place provides and how do we see this fitting into the wider Te Motu Kairangi Miramar Peninsula master plan?

I have not been funded by any one player or have any conflicts of interest such as other Mayoral contenders, so I am well placed to walk between the different factions to get a way forward. The local community has started on this path by initiating their own survey of the community’s aspirations for the area. I will join with them and lead the way for the city.

The Council is a significant shareholder in Wellington Airport yet we seemingly have little influence in their future operations nor does it seem focused on what is best for our city. The land next door is currently a golf course which the Airport is in negotiations to purchase in part. Our city is well and truly over secret deals. Some of that land could be purchased for housing (by government or Council) and some of the proceeds transferred to enable consolidation of a golf course on the town belt in the Southern suburbs. It will take all parties working together (Wellington City Council, Wellington Airport, Golf Club and Housing NZ) to make this happen.

Suburban Upgrades

Wellington is also made up of smaller suburbs and local centres. Revitalisation of small centres like Northland have long been overlooked and we have no resources in place for rejuvenating their common spaces or planning for what happens in their “backyard”. As Mayor I will set up a programme, with funding ,for community led planning and a programme for suburban centre upgrades.

Planning to think regionally and act locally

We also should not lose sight of opportunities in our neighbouring cities and towns. The line between Wellington city and Porirua is only on a map. Many Wellingtonians will choose to live in many of the new suburbs out in the Porirua area but still choose to work, socialise and shop in Wellington city. We will need to “think more regionally and act locally”.

“By working collaboratively together we will bring more progress for our city”