Wellington City Council to investigate ban on fossil fuel cars in the city centre

Banning all fossil fuel transport in the city centre by 2025 will be investigated by Wellington City Council.

The council’s strategy and policy committee voted 12-2 in favour of the motion, with Mayor Andy Foster absent from the meeting.

Councillor Tamatha Paul, who submitted the notice of motion, said the proposal comes at the right time and Wellington’s central city needs transformation.

‘It’s scuzzy, it’s unsafe and it’s outdated,’ Paul said.

Paul said improvements to Wellington’s urban design were urgently needed to keep people safe, adding that projected population growth will see tens of thousands of additional people in the inner city. 

Paul said her motion was inspired by plans to pedestrianise parts of central Auckland and prioritise sustainable forms of transport.

She said it also fits with the council’s commitment for Wellington to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Councillor Iona Pannett, who seconded the motion, said the initiative would be part of a package of improved public transport, cycleways and walking options.

Pannett said the next step after improving the sustainability of city transport would be making buildings carbon neutral as well.

Holly Norton, senior projects and partnership manager at the Sustainable Business Network, spoke in support of the motion on behalf of over 100 businesses in the Wellington region.

‘Wellington needs to be bold in our climate action to stay attractive as a place to live and do business,’ Norton said. 

‘Businesses need us to be climate leaders if we are to attract top talent, business investment and remain a city that has brand value as a good place to do business.’

Councillors Diane Calvert and Nicola Young voted against the motion.

Councillor Young said while she supported a pedestrianised Lambton Quay, better transport options were needed or the city would become less accessible.  

Councillor Calvert said the goal of having fossil-fuel cars out of the city centre by 2025 was admirable, but it was a tall order and she would buy the champagne if it came to pass.

The vote means council officers will prepare a report investigating fossil-fuel free transport in the city centre.

The report will be brought back to the committee for consideration by September 30.

Photo: “City Traffic Light” by wgossett is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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