Part B: Our work in detail


We aim to protect and enhance Wellington’s natural environment.


The Council’s environment portfolio is large and diverse, encompassing beaches and green spaces, waste reduction and energy conservation, as well as the three waters services (drinking and tap water, wastewater and stormwater) and support for our Wellington Zoo and Zealandia.

In this section

This section includes what’s changing since we released Our 10-Year Plan, other key projects coming up, key performance measures and what it costs. There are six groups of activities in this section:

2.1 Gardens, beaches and green open spaces.

2.2 Waste reduction and energy conservation.

2.3 Water.

2.4 Wastewater.

2.5 Stormwater.

2.6 Conservation attractions.


Snapshot. 191 square metres of open space per person owned or maintained by the Council. 1.3 million visits to the Wellington Botanic Garden and Otari-Wilton’s Bush per year. 18,000 tonnes of waste diverted from the landfill per year. 97% of Wellington residents regularly recycle. 380,000 visits to conservation attractions of Wellington Zoo and Zealandia per year. 361 litres of drinking water provided to the average Wellington resident per day.

What we do – an overviewTop

What’s changing and whyTop

Three waters work programme: Wellington Water, a Council Controlled Organisation, manages our water, wastewater and stormwater (three waters) services and delivers big improvement projects on our three waters network. There are some significant capital projects planned for 2019/20 and we have reviewed our programme to make sure the funding levels and timings are appropriate. The changes to the 2019/20 work programme are as follows.

Coastal structures: The Council manages and maintains several marine and coastal recreational assets. The current long-term plan budget for coastal structures is $122,000 per annum. Recent condition assessments on several structures have highlighted that an additional $2 million of capital expenditure and $150,000 of operational expenditure in 2019/20 is required to extend the life of these structures and reduce some significant risks. The additional investment will be prioritised toward Seatoun Wharf and Cog Park Wharf and Jetties at the Evans Bay Yacht Club over the next three years.

Our work programme in 2019/20Top

Zoo upgrade: Over the past few years, Wellington Zoo has completed stage one of its upgrade programme. This has seen the Zoo transform into a vibrant attraction with facilities that meet modern standards. Stage two involves further improvements to facilities to home additional animals. In 2019/20 work will begin on facilities for snow leopards, as part of the international commitment to protecting this species, at a total project cost of $3.7 million in capital expenditure over three years. It is expected that the Zoo will contribute $875,000 toward the project.

Zealandia: Work will begin this year on a Centre for People and Nature at Zealandia. This centre will provide volunteer accommodation and improved research and learning facilities. This is expected to be funded mostly by Zealandia between 2019/20 and 2020/21. The Council has budgeted $800,000 towards the project.

Restoring our environment: Having planted 1.69 million trees, as at the end of January 2019, we’re well on our way towards our goal of planting two million native plants in Wellington by 2025. Planting toward this goal started slowly back in 1992, but it has ramped up in recent years.

In 2019/20, we will continue our planting programme and provide another 45,000 eco-sourced native plants to community groups. We’re also working with other organisations on growing several threatened native plant species, supported by our new Plant Conservation Lab at Otari-Wilton’s Bush.

Makara Peak: We’re helping to fund and build a series of new tracks at Makara Peak in partnership with community group Makara Peak Supporters. In the next 10 years, this collaboration will result in 16 kilometres of new track added to the current 40 kilometres. In 2019/20, we have budgeted $692,000 for Makara Peak, this also includes improvements to visitor entrance facilities.

Responsible camping: We’re continuing to encourage responsible camping by providing facilities for campers. In 2019/20, we will build a new public toilet and dump station at Evans Bay, at a budget of $296,000. Part of the funding is provided through a central government grant.

Looking aheadTop

Zero Carbon Capital Plan: In May 2019 we consulted on Te Atakura – First to Zero, our blueprint toward a Zero Carbon Capital. Community feedback was incorporated into the final document which explores possible actions, changes to advocate for, and ways we can support individuals to change. For example, initiatives in the plan include exploring dynamic shuttles to move people around places where there is not adequate public transport. Any new initiatives will be considered through the next long-term plan.

We continue to actively pursue opportunities to reduce carbon emissions across the city through direct investment in sustainable transport, such as building cycleways, supporting electric vehicle charging, and increasing car-sharing opportunities. Through our District Plan, we are also looking at minimum parking requirements and how we can support the city to grow in a compact and walkable way.

Adaptating to rising sea levels: A community-led planning process at Makara Beach has resulted in the community recommending short, medium and long-term adaptation measures to prepare the area for the effect of rising seas and more intense weather events. Other parts of the city will also be affected, and we intend to continue to raise awareness of the changing climate, particularly in the Eastern suburbs and the CBD. In future, we will need to adapt our city to the effects of climate change. Decisions about stormwater, roads and private investments must take into account the changing climate – we need to learn to live with more water, and to design our future city accordingly.

Wastewater: Council, along with Wellington Water, is investigating ways to reduce the sewage sludge that is disposed of in our landfill. There is a provisional budget of $34 million to implement the preferred option from year four (2021/22) of Our 10-Year Plan.

Stormwater: We will be carrying out work to reduce the risk of flooding in Tawa, by installing bigger pipes to accommodate higher levels of stormwater. This is expected to cost $9.2 million, beginning in 2020/21.

Landfill: Preparation is underway for a resource consent application for an extension of the Southern Landfill. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 at an estimated cost of $20.4 million. Based on the current levels of waste ending up in the landfill, this extension needs to be operational by mid-2022.

What it costsTop

2019/20 Annual Plan $000
Operating expenditure 182,721
Capital expenditure 58,028

Measuring our performanceTop

We use performance measures to track how well we are delivering services against targets. The following represents the groups of measures we have for each group of activities. For details of individual performance measures and targets, see Detailed performance information in Part D: Appendices.

We also have outcome indicators to monitor progress toward desired results for the city. These indicators are at least partly out of our control. For these indicators, please refer to Our 10-Year Plan on our website,

Rationale What we measure Activities
2.1 Parks, beaches and open spaces
  • To provide access to green open spaces.
  • To provide public places to congregate.
  • To provide access to recreational opportunities.
  • To enhance biodiversity.
  • Utilisation.
  • Attractiveness.
  • Protecting and enhancing our biodiversity.
  • Affordability.
  • Community engagement.
  • 2.1.1 Local parks and open spaces.
  • 2.1.2 Botanical gardens.
  • 2.1.3 Beaches and coast operations.
  • 2.1.4 Roads open spaces.
  • 2.1.5 Town belts.
  • 2.1.6 Community environmental initiatives.
  • 2.1.7 Walkways.
  • 2.1.8 Biodiversity (pest management).
  • 2.1.9 Waterfront public space.
2.2 Waste reduction and energy conservation
  • Reducing environmental impacts.
  • Recycling.
  • Affordability.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Sustainable landfill operation.
  • Waste minimisation activities.
  • Energy conservation.
  • 2.2.1 Waste, minimisation, disposal and recycling.
  • 2.2.2 Closed landfills aftercare.
  • 2.2.3 Energy efficiency and conservation.
2.3 Water
  • To increase security of potable and stored water.
  • Clean and safe.
  • Meeting customer expectations.
  • Continuity of supply and resolution of faults.
  • Efficiency and sustainability.
  • 2.3.1 Water network.
  • 2.3.2 Water collection and treatment.
2.4 Wastewater
  • For public and environmental health.
  • Compliance and sustainability.
  • Meeting customer expectations.
  • Continuity of service and resolution of faults.
  • 2.4.1 Sewage collection and disposal.
  • 2.4.2 Sewage treatment.
2.5 Stor​mwater
  • To protect people, property and the environment from flooding and storm run-off.
  • Continuity of service and resolution of faults.
  • Meeting customer expectations.
  • 2.5.1 Stormwater management.
2.6 Conservation attractions
  • For conservation and biodiversity.
  • To attract visitors.
  • To protect flora and fauna.
  • Wellington Zoo.
  • Zealandia.
  • 2.6.1 Conservation visitor attractions.