I love Wellington.
This is not to be unkind to Auckland. I live in Auckland 90% of the time because of work. I grew up here; my brothers, my mum, my cousins are all here. So I’ve got a soft spot for the place too.
But if you gave me a choice of where I wanted to live 100% of the time, it’d be Wellington every day.
So, I was a bit surprised to read a story in the papers today with this in the first line: “why do so many young professionals say they don’t want to move to Wellington?”
Turns out that young people would rather move to Auckland or Christchurch, than move to the capital.
This news is in the papers on the very same morning that we’re hearing Wellington is bucking the current unemployment trend. More Wellington-based jobs are being advertised on Seek than jobs based anywhere else, and Wellington has the lowest unemployment rate in the North Island.
To be fair, that is a function of the fact that Wellington is the public sector city. But job security, should be a draw card shouldn’t it?
And surely the great brew bars, the great restaurants, the arts, the ease of getting around a compact city, the centrality of the stadium, the film industry, the house prices in contrast to Auckland; they should also all be draw cards.
But something’s gone wrong. A negative perception of our capital has developed.
And I think this should be a warning to all of us: take your council elections seriously. Because a lot of this perception can ultimately be sheeted back to a series of hopeless councils and mayors.
Yup, there’s the weather and the earthquakes which no one can be blamed for. But whose fault is it that the central library has been shut for more than a year with no decision yet on what to do?
Whose fault is it that the much-feted ‘Let’s Get Welly Moving’ transport project failed to prioritise one of the biggest transport problems, which is a second Mt Vic tunnel?
Whose fault is it that broken sewer pipes have apparently been stinking up up Willis Street in the central city for months?
That kind of stuff makes headlines around the country. It gives people a bad impression of a great city. Industry leaders in wellington are calling on Wellington's council to create what they call a persuasive positive impression of the capital. I couldn't agree more.
Unless the council pulls finger and gets things done, this negative perception will lock in. It's time for Wellington's council to actually start getting Wellington moving again, to stop a decline in the city I love.