Call for NYC-style capital Christmas

Call for city to match New York on New Year's

Last updated 10:48 26/03/2014

DROPPING THE BALL: People watch as the New Years' Eve ball drops in Times Square, New York.

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Wellington should be trying to emulate New York at Christmas time, the New Zealand Retailers Association says.

The American city was renowned for its Christmas decorations and atmosphere. Wellington should try to match that and become a Christmas and New Year destination, the association's government relations manager Barry Hellberg told Wellington city councillors this morning. 

"If New York can do it why can't Wellington do something similar?"

Mr Hellberg was addressing councillors during the second day of public submissions for the council's draft annual plan.

His comments come after the council faced criticism in December for failing to put up Christmas decorations or a tree in the central business district during the festive season.

The council needed to be funding promotions at Christmas and New Year to attract people into the CBD or people would head to malls in places like Johnsonville or Lower Hutt where there was free parking.

He urged councillors to include money for Promotioons in the 2014/15 budget it is currently considering. 
Councillor Jo Coughlan asked how much Mr Hellberg would recommend and he suggested a seven figure sum.

Councillor Simon Marsh also asked which was more important - Christmas or New Year - if only one could be funded and Mr Hellberg said Christmas was the most important.

Another submitter, Alastair Smith from the Great Harbour Way asked councillors to look at closing the Mirimar Peninsula from Shelley Bay to Scorching Bay to cars on some Sundays.

That would provide a safe environment for novice and unconfident cyclists to get experience on the road without cars, he said.

"This would be a good place for children and novice cyclists to learn to ride."

The idea was welcomed by councillor Nicola Young who said, as a nervous cyclist, she would welcome the opportunity to ride without cars.

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- The Dominion Post


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