Wellington Scoop

Let’s dance! Independent candidate to run for Wellington mayoralty


Conor Hill announced today that he will run as an independent candidate for Mayor of Wellington. Here’s his announcement.

Meddia release from Conor Hill
Conor Hill loves Wellington, and wants it to be the best city in the world. He believes homes should be affordable, transport should be reliable, and that vanity projects should be cancelled. That’s why he’s running for Mayor.

Over the years that Conor Hill has called Wellington home, he’s enjoyed its diversity. The endless roti. The coffee and the beer. The production line of sporting talent. The crags of the South Coast and the amazing gigs. Having a range of people next to each other sharing food, ideas and neighbourhoods makes Wellington what it is.

But what makes Wellington so vibrant is under threat.

Conor said: “Wellington is a great city with obvious challenges. Homes and rents are unaffordable. The transport system is broken. Wellington’s cars and draughty homes contribute to climate change. Pensioners, young families and refugees can no longer afford the rent, or handle the congestion.

“We have a mayor who can announce a climate change crisis one week, and open a petrol station the next, a mayor who can find $154 million to home big business conventions, but only $27 million for a housing vision.

“I want a better Wellington with affordable housing, great transport options, and no silly vanity projects. If that is what you want, vote for me.”

About Conor Hill

· Conor Hill, 36, grew up in Auckland and Nelson, and first shifted to Wellington in 2001.

· He came to Wellington to study, and graduated from Victoria University with a degree in English Literature and History.

· Since then, his professional career has seen him work in Project Management Offices, on IT projects, and as a farmhand in the Australian outback, though not necessarily in this order.

· Like many Wellingtonians, he feels strongly that our city needs policies to fix the transport system and make housing more affordable. He wants to see an end to vanity projects such as the airport runway extension, the convention centre and the covered arena, to prioritize the City Library and Town Hall.

· Unlike most Wellingtonians, he has decided to run for Mayor and is asking people to vote for him in the October 2019 local election, after people started taking the title of his blog – ‘Conor Hill for Mayor’ – seriously.

· Up to now, Conor’s experience in politics has been voluntary and grassroots – flyer-ing and door knocking for the Labour Party in local and national elections. This is his first bid for political office as an independent candidate.

· He lives in Wadestown with his partner Jen.

About the Conor Hill for Mayor campaign

· Conor Hill’s priorities for Wellington are affordable housing, better public transport, and an end to vanity projects in favour of investment in the City Library and the Town Hall.

· Today, Conor is confirming he intends to run for Mayor, ahead of candidate registrations opening on 19 July.

· Housing and Transport policies will be launched in the coming weeks.

· People who would like to find out more, volunteer their time or donate to the campaign, can contact Conor at conorhill.org.nz

· Conor Hill’s campaign launch on Saturday the 20th of July will provide his next steps towards building a better Wellington. Let’s dance!

Conor Hill for Mayor


  1. Concerned Wellingtonian, 10. July 2019, 17:00

    Please don’t split the vote!
    A test of your strength will be whether you get the $10,000 on offer to any worthy opponent to the present incumbent.

  2. Kara Lipski, 10. July 2019, 17:04

    Great to see another candidate for the mayoralty. Generally appears to have good policies, but no mention of his stance on whether the WCC should maintain involvement in social housing.

  3. Conor, 10. July 2019, 18:01

    Hi Kara, We should indeed. I’ll be providing a full suite of housing policies in the next few weeks.
    Cheers, Conor

  4. Traveller, 10. July 2019, 18:19

    Conor’s comparison of how much money is being spent on the convention centre and how much has been committed for social housing makes a strong and dismaying point about council and mayoral priorities.

  5. michael, 10. July 2019, 19:26

    Hi Connor, What is your priority for guaranteeing that the WCC meets its obligations under United Nations goals for Sustainable Cities and Communities, to ensure all housing developments are focussed on people and their environment, not profit? To encouraging better solutions to met this aim.

  6. Patrick Morgan, 11. July 2019, 8:39

    Some sensible thinking from Conor Hill on addressing the climate crisis through better transport and housing. [via twitter]

  7. Brian Dawson, 11. July 2019, 11:10

    Just noting that the $27m mentioned for housing is NOT social housing. City Housing is ringfenced from rates. The amount being spent on social housing is closer to $200m than $27m.

  8. Conor, 11. July 2019, 13:15

    Cheers Brian. Out of interest, where does that 200 million come from? Market related rent? Central government?

  9. Brian Dawson, 11. July 2019, 16:47

    Hi Conor, the future $$$ come from rents and borrowings. The crown contributed $220m 10 years ago to go into upgrades. That has been used to upgrade about half the 2100 units.
    At the moment City Housing is based on 70% market rent. There is a review of that policy underway which will be reported to the incoming council for approval. In broad terms the proposal is to base future rents on income rather than a set rate.

  10. Conor, 11. July 2019, 20:25

    Thanks Brian

  11. Hel, 11. July 2019, 20:44

    Any idea who is funding the convention centre? I thought it was being paid for through business rates, which would make sense given that they are the sector that wants it and would benefit most from it. [We’ve seen no reports that business rates are paying the $154m for the convention centre. But there have been many inflated claims about what it will achieve.]

  12. B Wilson, 11. July 2019, 22:04

    We already have a labour mayor sucking the life blood out of this city plus an ex labour head of the regional council. We have had 2 terms of greens and a disastrous term of labour. I suggest you don’t have the nouse to run our city. No commercial experience to speak of!

  13. Mathew Biars, 12. July 2019, 6:44

    Conor someone just told me a great voting analogy …say you have to eat at KFC it’s a monopoly ” I hate KFC’s menu and food choices so I’m going to vote in a new chip slinger and a new burger flipper . That’ll show KFC! Yeah that’ll put things right “. I think when we vote we are still voting for the WCC and the GWRC.
    We need to have a “non confidence” in Local govt, or the problematic structure will remain. None of the Councillors have the needed skills or wisdom to set right what the Council has done or the ability to change the long term plans. In essence if you work for the Wellington Council you represent the Council interests (not the ratepayers).

  14. Andy Foster, 12. July 2019, 6:55

    Hel – what a wonderful question !
    Councils are required under the Local Government Act Section 101(3) to determine who benefits from and how every component of our activities is funded. There is inevitably a degree of subjectivity about some of it. That gives the proportion that should be paid for by users, and whether it should be paid for by rating a specific part of the community (eg business, residents, a geographical area). These are all debated by Council, and a sizeable component of the consultation material in the three yearly Long Term Plan consultation – so you can have a say, but sadly few people do. There is a lot to get your head around!

    With the new convention centre costs starting this area will inevitably be reconsidered, as will they all. There is one other aspect, which I personally don’t agree with, which is that the funding policy doesn’t recognise user pays income where the operation is undertaken by a separate entity (eg Zoo, Zealandia or in this case WREDA), where if it were a Council business unit (eg pools, recreation centres) it would.

    Long way to get to the answer! It is that the Wellington Convention Centre is funded (after user charges) 100% by rates of which 40% is paid through the Downtown Levy (ie by businesses within the defined Downtown area), and 60% is paid by general rates (which are currently paid about 47% by business and 53% by residents). So currently residents pay about 31.8% of the portion of convention centres after user charges are taken out.

    Kind regards, Andy

  15. Madeleine Simpson, 12. July 2019, 8:52

    Andy you must know people long ago quit submitting as the Council just don’t listen. The Council consults with people who want these pet projects, those who stand to profit off them. Ratepayers are treated like a slush fund.

  16. Conor, 12. July 2019, 9:40

    It’s true B Wilson, I have never mismanaged a shoe shop 🙂

  17. Gillian Tompsett, 12. July 2019, 10:10

    Exactly right Madeleine. The whole rotten edifice is predicated off a) cost rather than value, b) a legalistic “can we get away with it” mindset.

    I disagree with B. Wilson. There was a generational shift in the 1980s & 90s and both political parties shared the same free market ideology, with a few different social policies. The Rogernomics/Ruthanasia ‘revolution’ like all revolutions, always sounded good in theory, but in practice it hasn’t worked. All that institutional knowledge built up over the previous century and precious infrastructure, sold off or privatised. Gone.

    MPs from the 80s/90s ended up in local government. Fran Wilde. Laidlaw. McKinnon. Different parties but the same scorched earth economic ideology. I personally have nothing against the free market if you’re buying a TV or a car, but subjecting essential services to the market hasn’t given us more “choice” or cheaper services. In the case of our bus network, it’s given us a race to the bottom.

  18. Ron Rolston, 14. July 2019, 18:01

    A degree in History and Literature and working in IT, get real Conor. WCC needs councilors who can work with the full time staff.

  19. Gwynn Compton, 15. July 2019, 21:11

    After graduating (BA History & Political Science) went to work as a bank teller > business banking > internal communications > social media & digital marketing > external comms > now running for Mayor in Kāpiti. [via twitter]

  20. Helen, 16. July 2019, 7:36

    Conor – Mark Blumsky (ex shoe seller) was the best Mayor Wellington has had in my 30 years of living in this bureaucratic city. He was what a Mayor should be. Charismatic, great with people and passionate about the city he lived in and, most importantly, a person who knew about running a business. He certainly tried to leave a positive mark on the city. Certainly big shoes for you to fill but if you can be even half as good as Mark, you can have my vote!

  21. Mary M, 16. July 2019, 9:01

    That’s the problem Helen, city’s and nations are not businesses and should not have been run from that ideology .

  22. Brendan, 16. July 2019, 9:37

    Mary M – isn’t that why businesses are leaving Wellington for more business orientated cities? What did John Key say about Wellington again? I don’t think Jacinda lives in her Tinakori Rd mansion much either – Jacinda and John prefer the bustle and hustle of business orientated Auckland where things get done. Businesses vote with their feet.

  23. Mary M, 16. July 2019, 13:51

    No Brendan and who cares if the PM lives here or not that is irrelevant. The city is run for the Crown and businesses, with ratepayers the source of a sizable slush fund. Local govt studied the Rogernomics/Ruthanasia ideology, the madness that Gillian mentioned. A city where there is no transparency or accountability for the CE, Mayor or Councilors. Where we as ratepayers have tolerated the intolerable. Our wellbeing isn’t a factor for the council. We are seeing more spin that seeks to cover up the incompetence . [abridged]

  24. Brendan, 16. July 2019, 17:51

    Mary M – I’ll leave it to you to switch off the lights when all the businesses have left for somewhere affordable and business savvy.

  25. michael, 16. July 2019, 18:53

    Andy, even if there were enough international and/or local businesses willing to come to Wellington for a convention, what makes WCC believe Wellington can host large conventions of 1500 – 3000 delegates when we have a shortage of hotel rooms to accommodate them.

    Why didn’t the council call for expressions of interest from hotel groups willing to come in and build a convention centre with a hotel attached. WCC could have incentivised this and it would have been a win/win for both sides, instead of a massive drain on ratepayers for little benefit.

  26. Wayton, 19. July 2019, 8:18

    This guy wants an end to vanity projects such as the airport runway extension, the convention centre and the covered arena. But he thinks it’s OK to spend $130 million on the old Town Hall?

  27. michael, 19. July 2019, 11:57

    I agree, it is a horrendous cost to fix the town hall but really the WCC has not got any other option because of public outrage at the suggestion it should come down. Since then costs have spiraled because the WCC delayed for so long.
    Now public opinion wants the library fixed which, according to a top structural engineer, could be done more quickly and easier than WCC claim. But again we will be waiting while they spend a year just to make a decision, while costs continue to go up.