Strong foundations laid in first year of Greater Wellington’s 2021-31 LTP
Greater Wellington’s first annual report under its 2021-31 Long Term Plan reflects its progress towards building the firm foundations required to meet the plan’s 10-year horizon.
“We achieved a lot of the fundamental work we set out to accomplish this year to address climate change, progress key partnerships, reshape the way we work, and improve a range of core services,” said Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter.
“Much work went ahead with councils and agencies across the region to progress joint initiatives on climate change action and regional transport. Focus was applied to following our corporate carbon emissions reduction pathway, our public transport network, and our natural assets.
“New electric buses and an electric ferry were added to the Metlink public transport network. Grazing licenses were ended in Queen Elizabeth Park and West Belmont Regional Park, with preparation to restore the native ecosystems in both areas well underway.
“Safeguarding our communities against the threat of climate change is also crucial. As part of the government’s Jobs for Nature programme, we completed significant flood protection work through our Climate Resilience programme, that not only protects our communities but promotes improved water quality and biodiversity.”
Great strides were also made in strengthening key partnership with mana whenua, with strong collaboration on various projects throughout the region, further embracing Greater Wellington’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“Tūāpapa funding agreements were signed with all six of our mana whenua partners, increasing their capacity and resources, along with some Kaupapa funding agreements, to create ongoing joint work programmes based on shared priorities and outcome,” said Daran Ponter. “Internally we adopted Te Whāriki, our Māori Outcomes Framework, which shapes how we partner with mana whenua for great outcomes.”
Other partnership initiatives included the formation of the Wellington Regional Leadership Committee, with Greater Wellington as the lead governance body for the Regional Growth Framework and regional economic development, including partnership with central government, councils, and mana whenua across the region.
The fast changing and increasingly demanding agenda that now faces regional government has challenged Greater Wellington’s organisation and reshaped the way it works, leading to improvement in its approach to a range of core services.
“Of particular note, our environment protection and enhancement role is moving to new catchment-based service delivery. Internal structure changes will enable us to better provide integrated services within each catchment, working closely with our partners and communities to achieve better outcomes for our catchments.”
However, the year did not come without challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and labour shortages continued to impact the delivery of some services and projects.
Some work programmes and associated performance measures did not meet targeted standards of success. COVID-19 continued to reduce deliverability, alongside pressures of staff resourcing, inflation, central government reform, and complex multiparty projects coming to fruition pushed some targets out of reach.
Disruptions to bus services were an ongoing challenge this year, with an underlying nationwide driver shortage exacerbated by driver absenteeism due to COVID-19 and winter illnesses.
“Improving the reliability of our public transport services remains a top priority, and we led the way in increasing the living wage for bus drivers during 2021/22. Our commitment to providing a reliable, affordable and increasingly electric bus service for our community is unwavering.
“However, despite these delivery pressures, Greater Wellington was able to prioritise the wellbeing and safety both of our staff and our communities, allowing us to continue providing core services to the best of our ability.”
Greater Wellington has also been working extensively with central government, contributing to the various reform programmes which have an impact on local government such as the Three Waters Reform, Resource Management Act Reform and Future for Local Government Review.
“Each year is getting tougher and more challenging for regional government, and this year was no exception. But when I look back at our achievements against longer term goals set out in out 10-year plan I strongly believe we are putting place the foundations of a great region,” said Daran Ponter.
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