Wellingtonians offer ideas to boost their city

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 07:51 18/07/2013
Raybon Kan
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ

IN DEFENCE: Raybon Kan skewered Prime Minister John Key for saying Wellington was dying. He told The Wellington Debate that Mr Key was ‘‘surrounded by MPs all day, it must be like attack of the zombies’’.

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Wellington needs to get its swagger back and get on with becoming a proud, vibrant capital, according to the city's movers and shakers.

Speakers at The Wellington Debate were challenged to come up with brilliant and inspiring ideas to move Wellington forward.

About 200 people went to last night's event, held in conjunction with Massey University, to hear eight proud Wellingtonians outline their recipes for success.

Creator of the Absolutely Positively Wellington slogan Kim Wicksteed said Wellington needed to see its connection to central government as an opportunity, not a burden. "We need to get our swagger back and stop feeling sorry for ourselves."

He rattled off ideas to make the city more vibrant, including a convention centre, an international film and television centre, and even a casino.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she fell in love with the city when she first arrived 30 years ago. She presented a vision for three international centres for excellence - disaster management, urban ecology and film.

"What a compelling package that would be." The three centres would attract international students, researchers and visitors.

Comedian Raybon Kan skewered Prime Minister John Key for describing the capital as a "dying" city. "He's surrounded by MPs all day, it must be like attack of the zombies," he said.

Weta Digital chief financial officer David Wright said that to attract people to the city, Wellington needed affordable housing, quality education and good transport links.

Dominion Post columnist and Radio Live host Sean Plunket pushed for amalgamation, which he said was working in Auckland.

"Even people that don't like Len Brown will vote for him because he speaks for them.

"He's able to speak for the city, and look at the attention it's getting."

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