READER REPORT:

How to raise Wellington from the dead

DAVID LIM
Last updated 12:00 08/05/2013
Miramar
JOHN NICHOLSON/FairfaxNZ
FLYING LOW: Is extending the runway the answer to Wellington's future?

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So John Key thinks Wellington is dead. In a way, he is right. Wellington lags well behind Auckland as a place of business in this country and is heavily dependent on its status as capital of New Zealand.

National's shrinking of the public sector means plenty of vacant office space in Wellington and there just isn't enough input from the private sector to fill that space. BNZ, Telecom, Asteron and Kiwibank are some of the few organisations from the private sector with headquarters in Wellington, and it is somewhat of an anomaly that the NZX is based in Wellington, not in Auckland, where most of its business comes from.

So how can we raise Wellington from the dead and get it back where it could be?

1. Seriously consider extending the airport runway. The lack of flights beyond Australia has really hampered Wellington as a place to do business and Wellington falls behind Auckland and Christchurch as a gateway for foreigners into New Zealand. It's a shame we didn't take the Americans' offer to extend the runway in Rongotai after World War II for free as Wellington would be able to get flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, etc, which are now New Zealand's most important clients for trade and business.

2. Tax incentives for businesses to open offices in Wellington. It is an old fashion idea but it may have to be brought out to get the businesses back into Wellington's offices. This may not be ideal given building insurance premiums have gone up since the Christchurch earthquake.

3. Make Wellington a key call centre hub. Encourage organisations from overseas to follow the format used by Moneypenny from the UK, which opened a call centre branch in Takapuna, New Zealand, rather than have night shifts. It would mean we would get more foreigners visiting New Zealand and spending money in our businesses and thus helping our economy.

What are your ideas for how to future-proof Wellington?


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