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Who will be Wellington’s next Mayor?

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, August 23rd, 2022 - 24 comments
Categories: elections, greens, labour, local body elections, local government - Tags:

This is shaping up to be an interesting election.

There are eight candidates for Wellington’s mayoralty this year.

Andy Foster is running again.  His last campaign was bankrolled by Peter Jackson and he spent close to the limit of $60,000 on campaign expenses.

Sitting mayor Justin Lester only spent $20,000.  I thought he was good but it really appears that he took the election for granted and paid the price.  Hat tip to all candidates, never ever think you have it in the bag.

Lester won the mayoralty in 2016 in a close election with former Porirua Mayor and Labour Party member Nick Leggett, who showed his commitment to Porirua by deciding to run for the Wellington Mayoralty.  Reading this article caused me to smile.  Leggett criticised Lester for spending such a small amount when Leggett in the election before spent $125,000 and lost to Lester.  Leggatt’s subsequent switching of allegiances was National’s loss and Labour’s gain.

Andy Foster appears to be very unpopular.  He has struggled to form a coherent view of the city’s future and has been attacked repeatedly by different Councillors.  I am pretty sure he will need a new job in this October.

Which leaves the question, who will be the next Mayor?

Wellington Labour’s preference is Paul Eagle.  He was previously a City Councillor and knows how the city works.

His list of supporters are centre of the road sorts.  For his campaign launch as well as Wellington Labour figures Nick Leggatt showed up as did right wing Councillor Diane Calvert.

And Eagle’s policies are very centrist.

He wants to go back to basics and reprioritise expenditure to support his version of the three r’s that he calls the four p’s, pools, pipes, potholes and playgrounds.  He wants master planning of the city and the libraries to be open on Sundays.  He likes cultural events.  He wants to “create a world-class arts precinct that connects our key cultural venues – from the Embassy, the new convention centre Tākina, the St James, Opera House, Gryphon Theatre, the Michael Fowler Centre and the Town Hall. The precinct will boast a dedicated walkway that tells the story of these venues and of our city.”

He also wants to “deliver on Te Ngakau Civic Square by leveraging private sector expertise and using the City Development Authority to enable mixed use in the Square, with retail, hospitality, offices and apartments to complement civic uses.”  It is not a simple job to allow commercial interests to inhabit public spaces without detracting for the public nature of the space.

From what I can see his website does not mention climate change once.  Which is interesting.

What is also interesting is his views of cycleways, describing Wellington City as having an unhealthy obsession with them.

The Greens are pinning their hopes on Tory Whanau.

Her initial message from her website is in stark contrast to Eagle’s.  It says this:

We need a more connected, compassionate, inclusive and equal Wellington, where people have access to warm, dry, and affordable housing and high quality free public transport.

We want our local businesses to thrive, and ensure our hospitality and retail industries get back on their feet.

We must create strong, urgent action to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve Wellington’s resilience to climate change.

To do these, we must make bold decisions now.

Her views on cycleways are also in stark contrast to Eagle’s:

All Wellingtonians deserve safe and accessible transport options, regardless of the way they choose to get about our city. For decades the car has dominated our transport planning. Gridlock is all too common on our streets. More roads can’t fix this – only a shift to enable more public transport and a comprehensive connected bike network can help people get where they need to go more quickly and safely.

The election system is STV and this can cause unusual results.  Second preferences can be really important.  It appears that Eagle is in a good position to gain preferences from the right, Whanau should clean up on the left.

I can’t claim to know any of the other candidates.  One of them, Barbara McKenzie supported the Trump rioters and thinks that the Covid vaccine is dangerous.  She also supported the Wellington Parliament occupiers and thinks that Significant Natural Areas are a communist inspired attempt to gain control over private land, not an attempt to preserve invaluable local ecology.  The only thing dangerous would be if somehow she gained power although thankfully the chances of this happening look remote.

Although the Mayoralty is important the make up of Council can be just important.  Like the rest of our cities Wellington has eight years to dramatically reorientate itself to make it more sustainable.  Vote wisely.

24 comments on “Who will be Wellington’s next Mayor? ”

  1. Cricklewood 1

    Seems Paul Eagle would he a good choice for the people of Wellington.

    You'd have to think that every spare cent needs to go into assessing and repairing critical infrastructure, it's more than likely the Kaikoura quake did considerable unseen damage.

    That means cycleways and other worthwhile but less urgent issues go on the back burner as keeping shit out of the harbour and security of water supply are far more critical at this juncture.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    https://www.torywhanau.co.nz/policy

    Paul Eagle could be OK. (More so than Andy Foster..or.. Barbara McKenzie !? )

    However, I very much like Tory Whanau and her Message. Change. Why not indeed? Would be…a Change for all our Better.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Absolutely Wellington…exciting unexpected public fountains…good reason perhaps for the winning candidate to support 3 Waters.

    A left candidate could also capitalise on the coming change allowing Local Authorities to own and operate public transport infrastructure, and bring some order and development to recent bus route and timetable anarchy.

    Tory!

  4. DB Brown 4

    I never thought I'd say this. Vote Tory!

  5. Reality 5

    Paul Eagle seems the best option with his stated policies which don't focus solely on more cycle lanes. Andy Foster has not been very popular, failing to make the council function well.

    Tory Whanau's policies lack any down-to-earth practicalities. So many people I know are very sceptical about the trend to chasing cars away from the city. Businesses, banks, doctors, dentists, shops, restaurants, are situated in the CBD and many many people who use these do not ride bikes or if from the suburbs, will not be walking into the city. Relying on public transport is of limited use when so many services are cancelled every day through driver shortages and sickness. I recently wished to go from the Hutt to Wellington by bus but when looking at the timetable "cancelled" came up too often. I did not want to sit at a bus stop on a very rainy day hoping a bus would come along.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 5.1

      We need a more connected, compassionate, inclusive and equal Wellington, where people have access to warm, dry, and affordable housing and high quality free public transport.

      We want our local businesses to thrive, and ensure our hospitality and retail industries get back on their feet.

      https://www.torywhanau.co.nz/policy

      Ah…did you actually READ Tory's Policy ? Seems you have taken some..part and ignored the rest. IMO a Tory Change (in this Instance only DB Brown : )… would be fantastic. Not only a Wellington Leader…but a NZ one. Onya Tory : )

  6. Ad 6

    Wellington must take the prize for "worst governed city in New Zealand."

    Worst in water. Worst in public transport. Worst in housing. Worst in cooperation with the regional council. Worst parks. Worst library. Worst Council service delivery.

    And of course Wellington is also the most indirectly subsidised city we have: rich public servants on salaries, massive central government institutions propping up its entire CBD.

    • left for dead 6.1

      Ad, I'm afraid Dunedin would take second place with what you have said,and we already have a green Mayor. I'm am sick and tied of fixed ideology driving policy for the people.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        These situations take decades of neglect. Blaming the current mayor who is in his first term is not credible.

        • left for dead 6.1.1.1

          Ok so the last few Mayors except Chin would be considered Green,Cull, Turner and this current chap.Mayors are over rated,just a deciding vote,and to be honest if it's that close,we may need a better system Mickey.

  7. nzsage 7

    A good write-up on the leanings and goals of Wellington candidates, any chance of a similar one for other areas? It's not always easy voting for a mayoralty candidate that suits your own political persuasions or even understanding what they stand for locally.

    I'm in Nelson and the race here seems to be between a field of largely old or middle-aged white men who fail to inspire.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      It is the “coots in suits” model. Just check out their backgrounds–mostly conservative small business or ‘professional’ people that want to keep a lid on things.

      One good thing about those District Councils that have enacted Māori Wards is the engagement of younger people, and others that usually steer well clear, in this years local Govt. Elections.

    • Ad 7.2

      In Nelson as in Marlborough it's worth looking at the candidate who has attracted the most public capital.

      As Minister McNulty said on the flyover yesterday, it's the job of central government to fund restoration when it's well beyond the means of local government.

      Nelson, Marlborough, and Tasman District are going to take many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to restore, let alone improve.

    • mickysavage 7.3

      I thought of doing a few of the interesting ones. Guest posts welcome!

  8. " Hat tip to all candidates, never ever think you have it in the bag "

    Yes including the current LINO government !

  9. PsyclingLeft.Always 9

    Whanau said her top priority, should she win the job, was to fix Wellington’s problem-plagued three waters – storm, drinking, and waste. Her nature policy includes a plan to plant one million native trees in the Wellington region in the next decade and the establishment of nurseries to help. She pledged to pedestrianise Cuba St from Wakefield St at the north to Karo Dr at the south.

    There is a policy to “daylight” streams that are now part of the underground storm water system, and to introduce bonuses to developers who build with the likes of rooftop gardens, green walls or water recycling initiatives.

    “I’m driven enough to get us out of the mess,” she said.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/129112698/wellington-mayoral-candidates-bold-plan-to-pedestrianise-cuba-st

    The more I look…the more I like this Tory : ) She is the Change we need.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 9.1

      I honestly….would seriously consider moving to Wellington when she wins. To help this Change become Reality. Positive Hope for our Future.

  10. Tory Whanau does sound exciting!

    But, and there is always a but, if she does get in she may find that to get anything done she comes up against:

    councillors who do not support her vision – meaning much valuable time is spent shoring up alliances on a case by case basis or horse trading – I'll support this if you support that

    perhaps have difficulties with the employees?

    It is difficult to come to grips with the way the Council operates without a period as a councillor.

    This particular election will be a bit fraught if some of the VFF 'weirdos' slip in .

    • Anne 10.1

      "This particular election will be a bit fraught if some of the VFF 'weirdos' slip in ."

      It applies everywhere of course. I was in a café in Auckland with a couple of others yesterday and we discussed the Local Body elections. It was appalling to discover neither of them had any knowledge of the VFF attempt to use LB entities to further their cause.

      I do think the journos have a duty to keep informing the public of the identities of these nutbars so as people know who NOT to vote for.

  11. benby 11

    Nuff said.

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