Mayoral Candidate Jo Coughlan says City should buy Victoria University’s Karori Campus
MEDIA STATEMENT I 28 April 2016
Mayoral Candidate Jo Coughlan today announced that as Mayor she would urge Wellington City Council to acquire Victoria University's Karori Campus to secure options on the land for the future.
“Assuming Victoria University will likely want to sell the 7.6 ha Karori Campus, as Mayor I will be urging councillors to consider purchasing the land as a strategic asset for the community and the city.
“If we have the asset in the city’s control then we create options for what Wellington may wish to do with this site. This is a large site in the heart of our biggest suburb. There are already a range of views on how we can use all or part of the land – for sporting, cultural, educational and social purposes. There will undoubtedly be strong commercial interest in the site. A mix of commercial and community use for this site may be the best outcome overall. Let’s keep our options open at this stage.”
Coughlan said there was nothing to lose and everything to gain as the land is likely to only become more valuable over time and any surplus to requirement could be on-sold at a later date.
“I am concerned about Wellington’s long term interest. We need long-term, big-picture, big-thinking vision for New Zealand’s capital city. We need to restore the capital city to its rightful place in the nation and take actions that will make Wellingtonians proud over the next 100 years.
“This means fixing the deficits like our clogged roading network and future proofing Wellington by investing in infrastructure – this includes social infractructure such as sportsgrounds, courts and community facilities.
“We have a good growth story but we can do so much better. That’s why I want to double tunnel the Mt Victoria and The Terrace tunnels and take a long-term view on cycle-ways. We need tunnels, airports, roads and cycle-ways that will work and that we can be proud of for the next 100 years.
“As Mayor I would work with central government to get agreements on funding of these large infrastructure projects for the capital. We will likely initially need more than a billion dollars.
“In my view the sale of Victoria University’s Karori Campus is a once-in-a-30-year opportunity for us to review our amenities in the western suburbs, secure a sizable and strategic parcel of land and then on-sell any surplus to requirement to commercial operators to recover our investment.
“We should grab this opportunity to ensure Karori, the western suburbs and the city have the best mix of community and commercial facilities for the future,” Coughlan concluded.
Contact: Councillor Jo Coughlan 021 522142
Jo Coughlan was elected to council in 2007 and has represented the Onslow Western Ward for three terms. Since re-election in October 2010 she has led the city's Economic Development Strategy as Economic Portfolio Leader and chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee. Jo was a director of Positively Wellington Tourism, which has now merged into WREDA.
Jo is married and has six children aged 13 to 24. She has a degree in Biochemistry from Otago University.
Jo's business, Silvereye Communications, provides PR and government relations advice to a range of public and private clients both in New Zealand and offshore.
Prior to establishing her own business, Jo has held senior communications roles in the public and private sector; and worked as a press secretary for New Zealand Foreign Minister Sir Don McKinnon.
Jo co-chairs the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust and chairs Life Education Trust Wellington City. Jo has just stepped down, after six years, as deputy chair of The National Board of Life Education which provides health education to over 250,000 children nationally with 50 mobile classrooms across 30 trusts nationwide.
In 2015 Jo was a finalist in two categories in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2009 she was a finalist in Wellington's Women in Business - Best New Business Award.
Jo was formerly involved in crèche and kindergarten committees, coached primary school netball for 10 years, and led the fundraising of more than $100,000 for secondary school rowing.