Regional response to COVID-19 essential to economic recovery and resilience
Chair of Wellington’s Mayoral Forum and Upper Hutt City Council Mayor Wayne Guppy says the region’s Councils are pulling together to respond to the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 and developing a coordinated response to the government’s infrastructure investment strategy.
“COVID-19 will have a significant impact on people’s well-being, jobs, and businesses right across our region. We have around 530,000 people in our region but only one inter-linked economy, so there’s no point focusing our efforts on any one part of the region and ignoring the plight of others,” said Mayor Guppy.
In response to the government’s call for “shovel ready” projects, Greater Wellington and the mayors of the Wellington region’s eight territorial local authorities met last week and agreed a regional approach to the government’s infrastructure investment strategy.
Mayor of Wellington City Council Andy Foster said: “Wellington region already had very significant infrastructure needs before COVID-19 - coping with growth, resilience and connectivity. COVID 19’s impact on our economy and on Councils themselves makes Government’s willingness to assist even more critical than it already was. Our region has worked collaboratively to put this regional package of investments together, and this package, alongside proposals from individual authorities will provide the opportunity for economic recovery, job retention and creation, enhanced resilience and the ongoing transformation of our nation’s capital region.”.
Chair of Greater Wellington Daran Ponter said: “Once we are out of lockdown we need to look to accelerate investment to stimulate the economy and bring back jobs for our communities. This is also a unique opportunity to move our economy towards where we need to be in the future – building resilience and a low-carbon economy.”
Kāpiti District Council Mayor K Gurunathan said: “The way we respond to COVID-19, as a region and as a country, can and should accelerate our infrastructure plans but also our transition to a clean, healthy, inclusive and emissions-free future.”
Mayor of Carterton Greg Lang said: “This is an unprecedented time and this is an essential tool to fuel our economic recovery and undertake necessary infrastructure work that is getting increasingly unaffordable for our communities.”
Mayor of Hutt City Campbell Barry said: "More than ever, it's important for local government to invest in infrastructure and projects our communities need for the future. With Government support, we'll be able to accelerate projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars right across the Wellington region, which is exactly what's needed to support the economic recovery following COVID-19."
Council officers from around the region have drawn up a range of proposals which form a collective case to government. The work done to develop a Regional Investment Plan last year and the emerging direction from the Regional Growth Framework, helped guide the choice of projects and show how they will collectively move the region’s economy forward.
List of Wellington Regional Shovel ready Project which can be started in 6-12 months and are of regional benefit: