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

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