Capital city's fortunes turning around

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014

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Life is looking up in the capital, The Dominion Post has found in a new report on the Wellington economy.

Government, local authority and business leaders agree the city is definitely better off than it was a year ago.

The Dominion Post today updates the Wellington Report, a week-long series in 2013 about the state of the region.

Prime Minister John Key, who in May last year said Wellington was "dying, and we don't know how to turn things around", sees things differently now.

"We are seeing good growth in the Wellington region as the national economy recovers - and that is great news," he told the newspaper this week.

Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley said Wellington had "a huge amount to be optimistic about".

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown also points to a series of "exciting" new developments in the city.

Relations between Wellington and the Beehive had improved since this time last year, when senior Cabinet ministers criticised her leadership.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce agreed, saying he and the mayor "get on reasonably well".

However, the Basin Reserve flyover, rejected in the draft report of a board of inquiry this week, remains a sore point.

Wade-Brown, a long-term opponent of the flyover, said she felt "vindicated" by the board decision. However, the council would work with other government agencies to find a workable alternative. "There is a lot of work to be done."

She pointed to several major projects that were likely to bring new growth to the Wellington economy: The $100m Hilton Hotel and convention centre, the proposed Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor-backed film museum on the waterfront, and the proposal to lengthen the Wellington runway.

Finance Minister Bill English said that while the city was showing some support for business, it showed consistent opposition to infrastructure development such as the flyover.

City council chief executive Kevin Lavery said the council had undergone a "quiet revolution" in the past year or so, working closely with other councils on economic development and water supply issues.

It was also working with businesses, Government ministers and officials to improve relationships.

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- The Dominion Post

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