Submission: Wellington Council on the Draft Economic Wellbeing Strategy

Dr Eric Crampton
3 May, 2022

The Initiative normally focuses on national-level policy. However, we are based in Wellington. Our researchers live and work here. We want the city to thrive.

We do not aim to comment on all aspects of this document. We focus on the areas within our policy expertise. Some objectives of the plan sound promising, like improving the reliability of core infrastructure and ensuring improving business satisfaction with core council services. We restrict our focus to areas that we believe require improvement or reconsideration, within our areas of expertise.

In summary, we submit:

  • Council should focus first on ensuring it is competently and cost-effectively delivering core council services before expanding into other policy areas that are more traditionally handled by central government;

  • Council must fundamentally reconsider how it thinks about carbon emissions. Urban emissions are covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme. Council action in seeking to limit local emissions may have no effect at all on national-level emissions. But Council has a critical role in facilitating its residents’ responses to rising carbon prices in the Emissions Trading Scheme;

  • Rather than lobby central government for measures like subsidies for the local film industry, it should lobby central government to provide Council with the tools it needs to enable urban growth. In particular, better infrastructure financing options would let Council do a lot to improve the whole city – but require central government’s assistance. Housing and the infrastructure required to support it are far too central to wellbeing to see so little attention in this plan.

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