Politics

Andy Foster’s 150 Day Plan; 60% may get carried out, unfortunately, hard issues are unlikely to be progressed

A few days back Andy put out a 150-day plan should he be elected as mayor. Well, now he’s the mayor, so if we want to know what he’s going to do then all we need to do is review the plan.

So, let’s do that, and try and rate his chances of success given his new set of Councillors and the current political climate.

I threw all the new Councillors and Mayor into a big pot, not literally of course, but figuratively, then I started to analyse their makeup as a group. I looked at where they sat on the political spectrum, their skill level as Councillors, and some other secret ingredients.

It’s apparent to me that this Council is going to struggle to make decisions around complex matters and hang together as a unit. It doesn’t have enough people at any one end of the political spectrum to force decisions along those lines, it doesn’t have enough experienced Councillors, and it has quite a section of Councillors that tend to flip-flop.

I think where decisions are simple, then we’ll see a general steer to the centre-left, but where it gets into complex issues like economics, math, contracts, and other areas, they are going to struggle. As they are when compromise is going to be required, and ideology starts to push in.

I’ve republished Andy’s plan and made some quick notes. Basically, about 60% of it is achievable by my count. However, unfortunately, the big issues are not going to move much at all.

More about this in my next article, when I have a stab at portfolios, and where they might land.

Governance

  • Establish the new Council including councillors’ portfolios.

Will happen.

  • Review delegations with particular focus on resource consent processing.

Will happen.

  • Appoint a new Chief Executive (current CEO leaves at the beginning of April).

Will happen.

Transport

  • Agree a ‘New Deal for Transport’ with Government to advance Basin and Mt Victoria tunnel duplication.

No chance. It’s taken them decades to get here, it’s a complete mess, there is zero chance that such a diverse Council will even be able to agree on this and the lobby group screams will be epic.

  • Undertake public consultation on new bus priority programme.

Consultation is possible, implementation is not.

  • Have Airport Flyer resurrected or plan to resurrect agreed (restore to real time information / snapper). This will be a small part of reducing traffic volumes to the Eastern suburbs.

Doubtful this can be agreed in that timeframe given the complexity of contracts, money, technology, and the like. A far better option would be to start completely from scratch and find a new operator, agreeing a new contract under WCC control, with new terms and conditions.

  • Central City Speed Limits and associated engineering consulted on and agreed.

Easy. This is already in the bag effectively from the last consultations. It will roll through Council given the left nature of the group. It will also really annoy those that voted for Andy.

Urban Planning

  • Consult on a new Spatial Plan. Identifying where growth should best occur in the city, considering infrastructure provision, resilience and character.

Good luck. This is going to turn into a stand-up fight from a distrusting public because of previous consultation messes and every lobby group is going to throw rocks. It’s complex, which makes consultation even more difficult.

  • Agree a way forward for Shelly Bay and the Miramar peninsula fully involving the community.

Impossible. We’ll be discussing this next election.

  • Establish an urban development agency or urban development agency relationship with Government. A UDA is a tool for Council to be more actively involved in delivering housing and urban renewal. It was consulted on in 2016, and ready to go then.

There is zero trust after the SHA mess, this will take far longer to form. It is complex and people simply will not understand it.

  • Address Council housing portfolio sustainability.

Possible.

  • Agree a solution for the Central Library and timeframe to reopen.

Impossible.

  • Agree a draft proposal(s) for Civic Square for consultation with the Wellington public. Opportunities for substantial building changes, opening buildings onto the Square, rooftop gardens, wider city to sea bridge.  

Won’t fly on this approach, people are sick of having proposals created by the WCC and then being “consulted.” Far better the WCC put the question to the city on what it wanted and let everyone have a go at coming up with ideas. Then judging them with an expert panel. Then costing them. Then consulting on them. We’ll be talking about this next election.  

  • Agree terms with VUW and NZSO for the School of Music.

Possible.

  • A central city park acquired.

Possible.

  • Decision on Karori ‘s St Johns site and funding for Community Events Centre.

Possible.

Economy, Arts and Culture

  • Restore free Sunday parking.

No chance. The left side of this Council is never going to vote for this, and I suspect this vote will receive a lot of media attention. It seems very simple, but it will turn into a schmozzle. Plus, you can add the pile on from social media leftists to the mix.

  • Establish an economic sounding board.

Possible, though the value of this is moot.

  • Establish an arts and culture sounding board.

Possible, though the value of this is also moot.

  • Commence review of City Economic Strategy.

A do nothing promise, doesn’t deliver anything, just promises a review.

  • Commence review of City Arts and Culture Strategy.

A do nothing promise, doesn’t deliver anything, just promises a review.

  • Receive the Venues Review – will identify issues with size, affordability and availability of venues.

Ditto, it’s a report.

Environment

  • Agree a draft Climate Change response action plan for consultation.

Oh, this is going to be good. I can just imagine how much of a stuff up this will be. Once again, if the Council itself thinks it can write a response plan to Climate Change they are totally dreaming. They do not have the expertise or culture to get anything like that right.

If they go for community help on forming this one, talk to experts, talk to city’s that are getting right, and then consult on it we might end up with something that is ok.

My bet is we’ll end up with a twentieth century “old man” strategy that focuses on cycleways rather than anything that could be world leading.

But hey, prove me wrong. Either way, not happening in the first 150 days.

  • Agree to take Happy Valley proposal to further engagement – as well as providing some housing proposal has significant benefits for the natural environment and for sports including eliminating sports ground charges for football and cricket codes, 2 new artificial turfs and citywide improvements to cricket wickets and outfields.

May actually fly. Residents were incensed last time Council went near Happy Valley with a very ill-thought out idea for a freedom camp. If new develop can revitalise the community, push up house values, and provide sporting and other amenities, then this could be a go.

  • Miramar declared predator free.

Dubious. You can declare it predator free all you like, until it’s not.

  • At least one acquisition for the Outer Green Belt.

Easy. This lot are going to love buying parks and lawns.

  • Miramar heritage park established.

No chance. It’s taken many, many years since the first press release to get nothing more than a second press release. Won’t happen. The community will be massively divided over the composition of the park.

  • Waste reduction education programme implemented.

Easy.

  • Carbon offset deal arranged for landfill.

Easy, and probably super-expensive.

  • E vehicle purchase scheme agreed.

Easy.

Finance

  • Agree a Draft Annual Plan setting out a lower rates trajectory than currently proposed

Easy.

  • Held forum on reducing or eliminating future building consent liabilities (weathertight buildings).

It’s a forum, you could do that next week.

  • Rates taskforce established.

Easy, no outputs from this, just another taskforce.

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