The demise of Wellington as a modern vibrant growing city has fast come to an end. A perfect storm involving central and local government actions and inactions have culminated in myopic, self-serving bureaucracy, economic stagnancy and contraction spreading from the CBD heart arterially out to the immediate suburbs, and it is about to get worse.
Over the last decade the Wellington City Council (WCC) has been captured by a ‘Greens’ led socialist left-wing rump that has dominated the decision-making with an ‘alarmist’ climate change agenda, seeking to turn Wellington into the ‘greenest’ capital city in the world. Unfortunately, this is it at any expense with little fiscal restraint and is actively aided and abetted by the ‘goldrush’ from the 6th Labour government. The city’s infrastructure is subjugated as the all-consuming priority is the ‘rapid rollout’ of carbon reducing strategies spearheaded by the cycleways projects of ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’(LGWM).
Previous mayor Andy Foster slowed the momentum but then
along came the beguiling spin of Tory Whanau to spearhead Julie Anne Genter’s
agenda that stultifies market led economic activity. It is the new socialist
religion, an all-out attack on the capitalist economy wholly condemned as the
sole engineer of a climate change catastrophe. Never mind that business
generally wants and supports walkability, liveability, densification and
treating the city as a living organism. Business just needs vehicular access as
well to survive and then one day possibly thrive in the new ‘utopia’, a society
that at this rate will be devoid of market led innovation and growth.
The reality is that effective market led business
activity necessarily maintains civil society for it is required for their
In the meantime, the business and social infrastructure of
the city has endured lockdowns, the rise of social housing, mandates, an
occupation protest and the permanent fall-out from the unannounced government
policy of ‘work from home’. The pipes are bursting and public transport is
unreliable. Small business and sole traders are squeezed out in unceremonial
silence as inflation, recession, compliance and wage costs keep rising. Law and
order has broken down as the city becomes a rotating ghetto of social problems.
This is not an environment conducive to business or people activity. Left wing
councillors are openly dismissive of business concerns with an ‘adapt or die’
philosophy in riposte.
At a fundamental level there is a WCC objection to
business activity and certainly to economic growth.
The flagship cycleways project is the multiple scythe that
cuts through the interconnectivity of small businesses just like the freeway
that circumvents a town or the multiple lane vehicular thoroughfares that also
pretend to provide access to local business and for community. The LGWM public
process of ‘discovery’ and ‘consultation’ is an absolute fraud. The plans have
been drawn up and then it is a divide and conquer strategy that Karl Marx would
have been proud of.
‘Discovery’ is non-existent as stakeholders are blindsided
as fast as possible into ‘consultation’. Community and local business
considerations and input are of scant concern in the face of WCC led ‘rapid
roll-out’. There is no cost/benefit analysis. Information is simplistically
presented and without implication analysis. Pedestrian and cyclist safety, and
access considerations for all citizens is lost to the necessity of the cycleway
revolution, just in case the Labour government funding ‘goldrush’ should dry up
post the next democratic election.
The submissions process is circumvented by a predetermined agenda
and very active cycling lobby. Even when local community provide loud,
transparent and open submissions (with 80%, 1300 citizens strongly opposed
written submissions to the predetermined cycleway as in the case of Thorndon)
the project is still thrust through with councillors openly admitting their
intransigence to altering the predetermined and complete plan of the total
cycleway network, even in the face of a clear community majority.
The WCC have dismissed their own guidelines for
participation and community consultation. Local democracy in Wellington is
broken. Those elected to uphold democracy have undermined it, refusing to
listen to the will of the people. Ideology trumps public participation and
The equity of all CBD economic participants is in ongoing
jeopardy as Whanau extravagantly claims a future decade of transformational
progress coupled with 10 years of pain. The WCC prediction of population growth
does not stack up with the reality of a contracting city economy and a decaying
society. Council can not have it both ways. Business and markets need to be
maintained to keep the city vibrant but the ‘rapid roll-out’ net carbon zero
policies will further retard the fiscally unsustainable process. Rates
collection will diminish as property values decline. Business tenants will
gradually fracture, dislocate and possibly be in a position to relocate away
from the city centre. The empty retail spaces and buildings provide easy haven
for rising tides of social problems.
The mad queen, ‘lying on a park bench’, presides over a city
that is imploding in very public view. The radical green left-wing rump of her
council table and her CEO are driving a delusion of fast cycleway revolution to
overthrow a fictional economic enemy. There is no sign of slowdown, rational
compromise or of taking the people or business with them.
The ends justify the means in an idiotic self-defeating
war. The net result is WCC no longer cares for its people, it only cares for an
ideological, blinkered policy that is fascist and destructive in its
John Key was right when he referred to Wellington as “the
Alistair Boyce is the owner of the iconic Wellington pub the Backbencher.