Council wary of new agency
A new region-wide economic development agency has been agreed to in principle by Porirua City Council, despite concern it will fail to meet the city’s needs.
Councillors voted unanimously, albeit reluctantly, for the proposed agency at last week’s Te Komiti meeting.
The agency would combine Grow Wellington, Positively Wellington Tourism, Positively Wellington Venues and the Wellington City Council’s major events unit, and would run tourism, events and venues around the region.
Wellington City mayor Celia Wade-Brown has said the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency would streamline the existing agencies, so benefiting the whole region.
Te Komiti chairman Euon Murrell was sceptical of the proposal. He said he was yet to see decision-making that would benefit the whole region.
‘‘We have to go into it with a positive attitude . . . Time will tell if it works,’’ he said.
Councillor Litea Ah Hoi said the council would have to make sure the needs of Porirua were met.
‘‘ It is important that Porirua businesses are involved in this, especially with the start of Transmission Gully and the focus on the city centre revitalisation,’’ she said.
‘‘Too many times we’ve been a part of a regional strategy where the needs of Porirua have been ignored.’’
After the meeting, Ah Hoi said ratepayers had put more than $100,000 into regional strategies, but the benefits for Porirua had been zero.
‘‘ Seventy per cent of our population works in Wellington [City], so we are putting a lot in, but not getting anything in return.’’
Tim Sheppard and deputy mayor ’Ana Coffey were more receptive to the proposal.
‘‘I don’t know if we’re going to miss out. It will make things more efficient and the council is very supportive of the principles of it,’’ Coffey said.
However, she said it was difficult to quantify economic development.
The public will be asked for its input on the proposal after it has been considered by each of the councils in the region.
The agency is expected to be operating by July if it gains across-the-board support.
Sceptical: Euon Murrell
In favour: ’Ana Coffey