Cutting waste and keeping a lid on rates
I’m a ratepayer, and I’m unimpressed with how much my rates have gone up by. A lot of this is due to the opaqueness of the city.
By not being part of the entrenched system that has seen certain elements of the council hold back our city, I don’t have any baggage as other politicians might have. That means I’m gearing to get things done for all of us.
That means making the council more accountable, by publishing our expenses, including those of councillors, and details of all major spending.
That also means getting tougher on cost overruns with council projects. I want to see an end to the culture where it’s OK to tell people that a building is going to cost $20 million and it winds up costing tens of millions more.
We need to make the preferred contractors’ lists transparent, along with the selection criteria, to encourage high standards in all our firms.
Putting public documents online
I also want to see the end of a culture which favours the same parties in our city for business—this is why those who will be promoted under my administration will be businesses that meet the criteria for job creation and become major champions for our city.
We can already use technology to send Tweets or even Instagram photos to the council when it comes to things than need repair in our city. I’ll be taking this lead and getting the service better known and more widely used, especially if it helps cut costs and delays to make Wellington better.
That same technology can be used for a more efficient resource consent approval, and move us toward a paperless system.
On a related note, the Council’s dog registration policy presently incentivizes good pet ownership through its responsible dog owner discount. I would like to see a similar policy adopted for cat owners too, where owners are incentivsed to desex and microchip their cats. Looking wider, the registration process must be as easy as possible. I’ll make sure that owners can do a good deal of this online.
If there’s a concern over our feline population, then I’ll work with citizens on looking at how we can best protect our wildlife, flora and fauna.
When it comes to earthquake strengthening, that’s going to be important. When I talk to property owners, some tell me that their problem isn’t coming up with the money: it’s the lag in the tendering processes and when construction companies can start on their projects. They’re too occupied with other cities. We can’t afford delays, so that will mean encouraging and facilitating smaller firms that meet high standards to work together to fix Wellington’s buildings, creating rules for them to be accountable to owners. If we need international help, as much as I want to see this work remain local, then we’ll consider it. It’s going to be a priority to make Wellington safe.
In parallel, I’ll work with councillors so we have an acceptable set of rules about when this work should begin, so we don’t get the delays we’re seeing today.
The funding options, after all, have already been done, so Wellington can move on. We can help those community buildings, too, under these. We have great data on earthquakes and engineering solutions, so why isn’t our obvious leadership in this area made into an advantage? Wellington can lead the debate, employing smart technologies for engineering, and provide our expertise nationally and internationally—if only we had the will to do so. I’ll lead the charge on this as it should not be an ongoing issue when the hard yards have already been done by council officers.
In 2010, I said we should ensure that council organizations get to work together more. There’s not sufficient dialogue between various these organizations, so it’s no wonder the messaging is inconsistent. Two logical ones that should work more closely together, to get our city’s brand right, are Positively Wellington Tourism and Grow Wellington. I’ll work with their CEOs to create a cultural change, especially when marketing our city.
A global mindset
—Books and articles
—Press releases (off-site)
—Recent coverage (off-site)
The Persuader blog
|Connected businesses and organizations
Business Mentors New Zealand
Jack Yan & Associates
Miss Universe New Zealand
Sans and Serif Trustees Ltd.
St Mark’s Church School