Wind it up or scale it down

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Coun­cils have no busi­ness get­ting in­volved in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, was a re­cur­ring theme from peo­ple who wrote re­sponses to the re­gional strat­egy.

Ques­tions on the strat­egy, which costs ratepay­ers $ 4.6 mil­lion a year, were in­cluded in the re­gional coun­cil’s draft an­nual plan con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ments.

Grow Welling­ton gets $4 mil­lion a year for re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and the rest funds the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Welling­ton Re­gional Strat­egy of­fice.

Of the 980 re­spon­dents who re­ferred to the strat­egy, 587 sup­ported it and 380 op­posed it, mostly by tick­ing a box.

How­ever, some took the trou­ble to write a re­sponse.

Porirua City Coun­cil sup­ported Greater Welling­ton’s con­tin­ued lead­er­ship of re­gional civil de­fence, re­gional strat­egy and the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment work of Grow Welling­ton but Mrs G Drake of Porirua did not.

‘‘Welling­ton Re­gional Strat­egy is very ex­pen­sive but very dif­fi­cult to mea­sure the worth of in­vest­ment – scrap it en­tirely,’’ she said.

The sen­ti­ment was echoed around the re­gion.

Kapiti Coast Dis­trict Coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion sup­ported the re­gional coun­cil con­tin­u­ing with the strat­egy but Derek Rayner of Waikanae dis­agreed.

‘‘I don’t sup­port the Welling­ton Re­gional Strat­egy spend­ing $4.6 mil­lion an­nu­ally on a talk shop that ap­pears to have vague ob­jec­tives and be largely un­suc­cess­ful.’’

From Lower Hutt, B Mala­hoff said it was too ex­pen­sive.

‘‘Make it vol­un­tary to serve and pro­mote busi­ness.’’

Mark Trainer, also from Lower Hutt, called the strat­egy ‘‘du­plica­tive and un­jus­ti­fied’’.

J P Brount of John­sonville said nine may­ors and a chair­per­son were too many for a pop­u­la­tion of 500,000.

‘‘Break up the fief­doms and parochial­ism and job pro­tec­tion.


‘‘If it’s good enough for cen­tral gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try to re­struc­ture dur­ing this re­ces­sion, it’s a must for lo­cal gov­ern­ment.’’

Stu­art Mudd of Karori said he was un­sure whether the strat­egy was use­ful. ‘‘You still haven’t told us what they do.’’

Bill Vig­gers of Kel­burn said: ‘‘Fix the pipes, kill the pos­sums and get trains and buses run­ning to time, not waste vast amounts of money re­fresh­ing the strat­egy.’’

The Up­per Hutt Ru­ral Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion pointed out that ru­ral prop­er­ties paid more than res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency rates. ‘‘We do not see the value in this and there­fore ask that this be re­duced to the same as res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties – $ 14 per rat­ing unit.’’

Mr and Mrs Lynch of Here­taunga said:

‘‘Just end this ini­tia­tive. The $ 4.6 mil­lion could be bet­ter spent else­where.’’

Nigel Clarke of Up­per Hutt said: ‘‘ The projects to date have not pro­duced any tan­gi­ble or sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the re­gion.’’

But Master­ton Dis­trict Coun­cil sup­ported the sta­tus quo, ‘‘par­tic­u­larly the re­cent re-fo­cus from ex­port to job growth’’.

An­ders Cro­foot from Cas­tle Point Sta­tion also sup­ported the sta­tus quo, as did Fon­terra and Welling­ton Em­ploy­ers Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The Re­gional Strat­egy Com­mit­tee con­sid­ered sub­mis­sions on the re­gional strat­egy on May 17 and rec­om­mended the re­gional strat­egy fund­ing be ap­proved with no changes.


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