Open for Business and the Arts

Open for Business and the Arts

  • Better partnering with Business for the benefit of all Wellingtonians
  • Dial back the last increase on business rates for a fairer rating system
  • 3 hours free parking on a Sunday
  • Local and ethical Council purchasing, using Council’s buying power for good
  • A Convention Centre for a growing and events focused Wellington
  • More use of Council  venues and services to support local artists and performers
  • Nurture the creativity of children- enhance and bring back Capital E to Te Ngākau Civic square


We need our local businesses to provide us with a good range of jobs for Wellingtonians, add to the life and the vibrancy of our city and play their part in supporting our city to deliver a good level of social services. Despite all the promises, Wellington’s economy is not humming. We use to lead New Zealand’s growth, now we are middle of the pack.

The business community’s contribution has been more and more taken for granted at a time they need support to grow in the current environment of a weakening national economy. Council has levers to use to help our local economy but we are not just not doing it a cohesive way and in partnership with businesses. Rightly so the business community are demanding better value from the rates they pay.

I want this city to be “Open for Business”. I will set up an economic taskforce of city, business and iwi leaders to develop a plan to build stronger business in the city – this will include a review of regulatory processes, the role and funding of WREDA, council venue facilities, events, funding and rating. I will also dial back the business rate multiplier to make the rating system fairer to all businesses and citizens.

Weekend Parking

Weekend parking charges have had mixed success in freeing up parks for more shoppers and increasing Council’s revenue (to reduce burden on rates). It’s still hard to find a park on Saturday but often on a Sunday there are now plenty available. As Mayor, I will review the weekend parking regime and provide 3 hours of free parking on a Sunday as a start.

Local and ethical Council purchasing

Council itself is a major business player in our city. We purchase many goods and services. We have seen the benefits of being a Living Wage employer to people and our organisation. The cheapest provider is not always the best for our local economy and environment.We now need to extend this to how we purchase what we need. I will introduce a policy for our Council to better support ethical, local and socially responsive businesses.

Convention Centre- regeneration the local area and economy

The Convention centre has had a checked history and the build is about to begin. As Mayor I will continue to support this much needed facility in our city and I promise you it won’t be to the detriment of what is required for our civic centre. I’m confident that we will attract popular and profit generating exhibitions that up until now the only suitable venue has been Te Papa. The new convention/exhibition centre will provide more jobs, regenerate the area, uplift the rates intake and replace the dilapidated and inflexible TSB arena that is nearing its use by date for key events.


Arts and Culture within the Capital does fuel our economy in many ways but we need to be clear about the difference between the Arts and the economy to ensure both parts are adequately monitored, funded and supported. The line between the two is often blurred resulting in the Arts sector not feeling adequately supported by our Council. Funding allocated to the Arts can often be applied instead to “Events” to support the economy in general e.g. Wellington On a Plate. We need more transparency about what is funded and why.

Wellington has long been known for its Arts and Creative scene and it is our point of difference across New Zealand. But we are slipping. We can not sit back, hold a forum to discuss issues and just put out a glossy brochure. Artists and performers need grass roots support that Council can provide through access to venues and specialist advice. However our current suite of venues are amongst the most expensive in NZ. As part of the Business Taskforce, that I will be setting up as Mayor, I will request a concurrent review of venue costs for local and community organisations for arts or cultural events. I will also request a clear and transparent reconciliation of all Council arts funding.

If we really want Wellington to regain its crown as the Creative arts capital, we can’t sit back and expect to be just a partner to the Arts scene or use Arts funding for events that have tenuous links to Arts and Culture e.g. Wellington on a Plate (WOAP). We need to lead and get some actions underway even if a final plan is not in place.

As part of the city’s civic square re-generation I will ensure a place is made to nurture the creativity in children. Capital E is part of a Council controlled organisation (Experience Wellington) and is Wellington’s centre for children’s creativity with kids theatre, digital workshops, and immersive creative experiences for children of all ages.

In my current role as City Councillor, I have longed championed for Capital E to be found a space back in the square. As Mayor, I will bring back Capital E to Te Ngākau Civic square

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