About Wellington 2040


Wellington 2040 is the culmination of 18 months of preparation.  Beginning in late 2009 when we sought views of the future of the central city, we have undertaken extensive research about Wellington, identified the megatrends that will influence our future, evaluated the central city, developed preliminary views about Wellington’s future, and sought the views of individuals and groups informally.  The results of these endeavours are captured in this website – the beginning of a process to inspire each other to the possibilities for the future of Wellington.  Some of the upcoming activities to keep Wellington 2040 vital include:

A partnership plan

Wellington 2040 is about aligning resources around the city’s future.  One of the key steps towards this is the development of a partnership plan.  A way of letting people and agencies make connections and take the steps they propose towards the Wellington 2040 vision. 

Long term plan

The Wellington City Council is required to develop a Long Term Plan.  Wellington 2040 is a front end piece to that work.  It provides a strategic direction for the city.  The Council will use the outcomes from this work to guide the development of a Long Term Plan to be adopted by` the end of June 2012.  The plan will set out the steps that the Council will take over the next ten years to align its work towards the vision.  These steps are likely to include:

  • The review and development of specific strategies to achieve outcomes.
  • Consideration of how the Council’s activities can best align to a smart green future. 
  • The setting of meaningful long-term targets to measure progress.

All of these would be subject to further consultation.

Central City framework implementation

Feedback on Wellington 2040 will guide the finalisation of a framework for the central city.  This is an urban design strategy to guide future management of the city’s street structure, built form and landscape.  The ideas outlined in the Dynamic Central City chapter sit at the heart of the work. 

Related work

Wellington 2040 is focused on the future.  There are of course current issues that the city is and needs to think about.  While Wellington 2040 provides a fresh context for thinking about those issues, there are existing processes in place to work through them.  Those key issues and processes include:

Earthquake preparedness

The recent earthquakes in Christchurch, Japan and Myanmar are stark reminders of Wellington’s location on active faultlines and of the city’s need to be prepared.  
The city has three key streams of work in place:

  • Preparedness and recovery:  the Wellington Emergency Management Office is the lead agency in this work stream.  They coordinate with emergency services and promote community awareness and education around earthquakes, tsunamis and other emergencies. 
  • Building strengthening: the Wellington City Council has an earthquake prone policy.  This identifies potentially earthquake prone buildings and requires owners to take actions to strengthen them to required standards.  The Royal Commission on the Christchurch earthquake will look at the building standards that are set in the Building Act.  The Council will consider any review of its policy in light of the findings of the Royal Commission. 
  • Research: It’s Our Fault is a five-year research study that aims to provide a better understanding of the region’s vulnerability to large earthquakes including likelihood and frequency, size, physical effects, and social and economic impacts.  The study is being led by the government-owned research company GNS Science, in collaboration with a number of public and private sector organisations.  The findings will help the city better prepare for a large earthquake and guide decisions about the risks and priorities for the city.

Regional governance

The Wellington Mayoral Forum has been exploring the question of the future governance of the Wellington region.  The work reflects on the creation of the Auckland Council with a focus on issues specific to Wellington. 

The Councils in the region have experience at working together.  The creation of the Wellington Regional Strategy is an example of them working cooperatively.  There is also a programme of work looking at shared services.  This is aimed at making the most of our joint purchasing power or streamlining services to find efficiencies.   New ways of funding regional amenities are also being explored. 

Wellington 2040 focuses on the area covered by Wellington City Council.  The work has been done in the context of the region and the city’s relationship to changes occurring in the wider environment. 

Climate change: sea level rise

Wellington 2040 presents a future that is smart and green – a future where the city positions itself to prepare for and make the most of the challenges of climate change and other factors that will inevitably affect the city.

While sea level rise is expected to impact the city after 2040, many of the assets that will be built or upgraded – such as roads and houses – in the coming years will be built to last beyond that point.  Getting the decisions right about where to build things will be vital. 

A study on the impacts of sea level rises on the city is being undertaken as part of Wellington City Council’s climate change action plan.  This work is anticipated to be completed in 2012.  It will provide greater clarity about potential impacts to guide planning decisions. 

Roads of national significance

The Wellington Northern Corridor is one of seven ‘roads of national significance’ the Government has identified as being crucial to New Zealand’s economic prosperity.  It stretches from the airport to about 10kms north of Levin. The New Zealand Transport Agency is charged with developing the corridor. 

The work would see State Highway 1 improved to a consistent standard from the Cobham Drive/Calabar Road intersection near the airport through to the Basin Reserve.  The work would also see the duplication of the Terrace Tunnel. 

The proposed enhancements aim to improve access into and around the Wellington CBD, access to the airport, and the eastern suburbs and the regional hospital.  They also aim to relieve congestion and improve journey times and reliability of travel. 

The work is subject to a separate consultation process.

Town and suburban centres

Neighbourhood centres will play an important role in the future.  They offer places to live, shop, recreate, learn, engage with neighbours, and even offer work in larger areas.  The way these develop over time is managed by planning rules. 

The Wellington City Council has recently adopted a Centres Policy and District Plan changes to guide these developments.  The policy can be viewed here.