Wellington Scoop

Labour gets in first

City elections next year? Well yes – on October 12 it seems. And last Sunday, Labour got in first by announcing its Wellington candidates.

All current Labour councillors – Brian Dawson (Lambton Ward), Peter Gilberd (Northern Ward) and Fleur Fitzsimons (Southern Ward) are seeking re-election, in a team headed by Justin Lester, who’s hoping for a second mayoral term.

They are joined by community campaigner and unionist Rebecca Matthews-Heron, who’ll be running in the Onslow-Western Ward, and 20-year-old NGO campaigner Teri O’Neil in the Eastern Ward.

This is the first time in decades that Labour has run candidates in every ward.

Here’s what the mayor told the DomPost on Sunday about the achievements of his council:

“I love Wellington and with our Labour team over the last few years we have been striving to make the city even better. We’ve achieved much already: major investments in social and affordable housing, becoming the first accredited Living Wage council in the country, kicking off Predator Free Wellington, embarking on our plans to become a Te Reo Capital, and developing plans to celebrate a decade of culture and creativity.”

And before the last election, here’s what the DomPost quoted him as aiming at:

Housing is a priority. That includes social housing and rental warrants of fitness. And he’s promising an election sweetener of a $5000 rates rebate for first-home builders….His council would continue to support both the arts and sports. … And then there’s that little transport problem. Lester has no regrets about opposing the Basin flyover. He wants a cut and cover trench, like the Arras Tunnel, that gets people moving without compromising urban design.

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle told the DomPost that in the last local body elections, O’Neill was too young to vote. He hopes the 20-year-old will galvanise young people to vote. “Jacinda is young, Justin is young – this is the era for young people to take responsibility for the issues that affect them.”

Labour’s other nominations announced on Sunday: councillor Daran Ponter for the Wellington Ward of the Regional Council. And DHB member Eileen Brown is joined by new candidate Ayesha Verrall for the District Health Board.


  1. Tony Jansen, 20. November 2018, 11:11

    I suppose a second term is absolutely necessary since the Mayor and his loyal team have actually achieved so very little in their first three years. We desperately need a decent selection of candidates to challenge this lame duck administration which has spent most of its time and focus on assisting and rewarding Labour Party people and goals. To name a few examples of the mayor’s poor judgement and party politicking….from giving the current member for Rongotai the Deputy Mayoralty knowing full well that he would not see out his full term, to campaigning for the Labour candidate in the Southern bi election, as well as appointing a political newbie and close associate to the Deputy Mayoralty over more experienced candidates, our Mayor has ensured the opportunity to have a unified Council, a broad Church, so to speak, was lost, as well as a council where all talents are being fully utilised. Consequently councillors with many years of experience and expertise and been side-lined because they have not been Labour or Mayoral acolytes.
    I think the people of Wellington deserve better than this. The governance of our city should be above petty party politics and petty political ambition.

  2. Gillybee, 20. November 2018, 14:32

    If climate change is indeed this generation’s nuclear-free moment and you intend to charge us more in rates to pay for climate resilience, then front-foot legislation to get diesel vehicles off Wellington’s roads ASAP for the sake of our environment and our health – especially the health of our children.

    Let the 17 new double-decker diesels arriving on our streets in February be the last.

  3. Citizen Joe, 20. November 2018, 16:35

    There are rarely any National candidates anyway and Andy Foster is a perennial independent, though he stood for NZ First at the General Election and got a few hundred votes.

  4. michael, 20. November 2018, 18:36

    I dislike party politics in local elections and resent the fact we are subjected to them. No doubt it is naive to expect that councillors representing us should be independent from party politics, but I believe it is the only way we (the people) will get a strong council that listens to their constituents.

  5. Trevor H, 20. November 2018, 20:04

    @Gillybee: modern diesels generate less CO2 and modern filters absorb most particulates. Biodiesels are greener than EVs for half a million Kms and if NZ continues to import coal for electricity they will be even better for the environment.

  6. Katy Mansfield, 21. November 2018, 7:07

    Biodiesel is a disaster for forests and is probably the worse type of fuel excepting re-used chip fat and (if economic) algae. The poor old Orangutan and other forest creatures need our support with a ban on palm oil imports.

  7. Larynx, 21. November 2018, 8:44

    I’d prefer it if we kept party politics out of local bodies and just had locals without an agenda serving their communities.

  8. Benny, 21. November 2018, 10:47

    @Trevor: we don’t want to emit less co2, we want to emit zero co2, and only ev achieve that, especially in NZ where 80%+ of electricity is sustainably produced. Let’s deploy ev buses, ramp up to 100% renewable energy and leave the orangutan alone!

  9. Traveller, 21. November 2018, 10:50

    I’m inclined to support Justin and his colleagues – they’ve taken some good though hard decisions recently. Diligent consultation on trying to get it right with cycle lanes. And strengthening the St James and the Town Hall. Though I need to ask: have they found a contractor yet for the main work on the Town Hall?

  10. Citizen Joe, 21. November 2018, 13:25

    Nah – it’s time for a change. Blumsky was our best mayor by a country mile so can’t we ask him back to do another stint?

  11. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 22. November 2018, 2:51

    Promoter Phillip Sprey has offered $10,000 toward the campaign of any viable candidate prepared to run against Mayor Justin in the next local body election.

  12. Tony Jansen, 22. November 2018, 10:27

    Citizen Joe, I am not anti Labour per se (having voted for them in the last General Election) and with regards to National party candidates, well there have been plenty over the years. They just don’t respect voters enough to honestly declare their party affiliations. Jo Coughlan was a classic case from the last election. You couldn’t get any more National than her, yet she ran as an “independent”.
    I would suggest that the incumbent won because the Right split their vote over several candidates and the current Mayor was most voters’ 2nd or 3rd choice. Either way, this proliferation of voting along party lines is to the detriment of good governance.

  13. Kara Lipski, 22. November 2018, 10:48

    I will be voting for WCC councillors who worked hard for their constituents over the past 2 years. And that includes the buses.

  14. TrevorH, 22. November 2018, 13:01

    @ Katy Mansfield. There’s no need to disturb the orangutans. Z Energy is producing biodiesel at Wiri from beef tallow using their own patented process. Wood waste can also be used – think of those billion new trees being planted right now.
    @ Benny. EVs are over-hyped. The production and disposal of their batteries generates an enormous amount of CO2. New Zealand relies heavily on thermally generated electricity for its baseload and is likely to become a major coal importer as the gas runs out.

  15. Nora, 22. November 2018, 14:39

    Our Mayor voted for the wall-like building on Site 10 at Kumutoto although at the council meeting he did say he would like to see an Adventure Park. And of course with regard to Frank Kitts Park he is prepared to spend millions to move the play area closer to the street and bulldoze the amphitheatre which is so well used and a shelter from storms and of course sea level rising.
    As for the Town Hall, back in June 2012 there was consideration of Shed 6 as a temporary replacement, and here we are 6 years later – still no sign of reopening. He supports the Runway extension and Shelly Bay!

  16. Benny, 22. November 2018, 15:28

    @Nora. The fact J Lester supports Shelly Bay is definitively worrying. I’d rather all the green North of Miramar was transformed into a reserve/park for Wellingtonians to enjoy. It’s an incredible asset that can’t be left to developments, especially not to the kind of what’s proposed.

    But for the runway extension, he stated recently, during a community meeting, that the project will fade away eventually, which I hope. He reportedly said no-one in the council supports the idea as no-one sees why Wellington needs it. If you have a link where he states the opposite, I would really like you to share it.

  17. greenwelly, 22. November 2018, 16:00

    @Trevor H, as of 6 months Ago Z had still not got its Biodiesel plant fully operational. Nothing has been said subsequent to this to indicate that it is commercially operational.

  18. Andrew, 22. November 2018, 16:14
  19. Concerned Wellingtonian, 22. November 2018, 16:37

    Kara, I am still waiting for the Mayor to speak out for Wellingtonians on the buses. At the Select Committee he appeared only to be anxious not to offend his friends on the Regional Council. If he wants to speak for Wellington, he should say exactly what is wrong with the buses including the routing, the fumes and the noise.

  20. Tony Jansen, 23. November 2018, 10:08

    Traveller – I think you will find that Councillor Sarah Free (Green) is the person who has put in all the hard work on the cycleways not the Mayor nor his Labour colleagues. Another vociferous critic was Councillor Andy Foster – also not a Labour member.
    Island Bay is still a debacle and has cost ratepayers hundreds of thousands of wasted money. You might like to remember too, that the Mayor was Deputy Mayor in the last administration and therefore participated fully in all the decisions that were made then. Despite the fact he is trying to wriggle his way out of being responsible in any way for what happened prior to his elevation as Mayor. I guess that is what the powerful do. They rewrite history to make themselves look good.
    The restoration of the old Town Hall is something that was forced on him by public opinion and by many of the candidates who ran in the last election whipping up support for this. He has also always supported the runway extension as has the WCC CEO Kevin Lavery. Despite the fact that there is no valid and credible economic case. Lavery still accepted the Airport’s figures carte blanche instead of doing his own independent due diligence for the Council. Priceless.
    If you are going to vote for the incumbent Mayor and his colleagues, then I think you need to ensure you are in possession of all the facts before you make up your mind. Mind you, there may not be a better candidate running against him, despite $10,000 funding being on offer!