11 Dec 2011

Council adopts ambitious economic plan

8:59 am on 11 December 2011

Wellington City Council has approved an ambitious plan to expand and diversify the capital's economy.

The aim of the strategy is to increase exports by half a billion dollars a year and grow per capita gross domestic product by 10%by 2021.

The economic blueprint also aims to have long haul flights to Asia introduced by 2013, create 10,000 new jobs by 2015 and double new projects involving foriegn investment.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the strategy is a response to global economic challenges, central Government's focus on Auckland and Christchurch and the downsizing of the public sector.

She says Wellington has all the attributes it needs to grow a creative, digital and knowledge intensive economy.

Council economic portfolio spokesperson Jo Coughlan says the strategy is a realistic response to global economic challenges.

She says some funding for projects will come from rates.

Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce is welcoming the plan but says a reallocation of existing funds rather than rates increases will be necessary to fund many of the proposals.

Chief executive Ken Harris says the disappointing part of the strategy is a lack of focus on unifying the region's cities and infrastructure.

However, he says it is heartening to see the council focus on the city's strengths, including sustainability and arts and culture.