Wellington Scoop

Andy Foster becomes mayor of Wellington, defeating Justin Lester by 503 votes


News from WCC
Andy Foster has won the Wellington Mayoralty over Justin Lester, according to preliminary Wellington City election results released at 12 noon today. The result shows Councillor Foster has received 26,707 votes compared to incumbent Justin Lester who has received 26,204 votes.

This is a margin of 503 votes – down from the 715-vote margin recorded after 90 percent of votes were counted yesterday.

Wellington City Electoral Officer Warwick Lampp says all ordinary votes have now been counted including those received yesterday, but excluding more than 1700 special votes.

A total of 39.88 percent of eligible voters cast a vote in Wellington City for the 2019 elections – down from 45 percent in 2016.

The final official result will be available later next week after special votes have been counted and confirmed – however Mr Lampp says he expects Andy Foster’s win will be confirmed.

Preliminary results for the Wellington City Council wards are:


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Takapū/Northern Ward are:

· Jill Day
· Malcolm Sparrow
· Jenny Condie


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Wharangi/Onslow-Western Ward are:

· Diane Calvert
· Simon Woolf
· Rebecca Matthews


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward are:

· Iona Pannett
· Nicola Young
· Tamatha Paul


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Motukairangi/Eastern Ward are:

· Sarah Free
· Teri O’Neill
· Sean Rush


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Paekawakawa/Southern Ward are:

· Fleur Fitzsimons
· Laurie Foon


On the basis of the preliminary result, the people elected as councillors for Tawa Community Board are:

· Steph Knight
· Richard Herbert
· Graeme Hansen
· Robyn Parkinson
· Jackson Lacy
· Anna Scott.


  1. Ruz, 13. October 2019, 12:49

    I am happy enough that Lester has gone and in many ways it should also be a warning to new mayor Andy Foster not to ignore the “needs” of ratepayers and to focus on the really important stuff (no glamour projects).

    Lester claims that his loss was due to the GWRC bus network debacle but I doubt this is really behind his loss of support. Shelly Bay, the lack of action on sorting out city traffic congestion plus his propensity to focus on the small stuff (Rainbow crossings) probably precipitated his demise.

    Personally I am not convinced that Foster will be a better mayor than Lester. He has been on council for 27 years so is probably “meeting tired” and unlikely to think outside the square or bring creative solutions to old problems. Time will tell whether he can deliver on what he has promised but I won’t be holding my breath in anticipation.

  2. Sue, 13. October 2019, 13:06

    Great result, now Andy let’s get on with building the best little city.

  3. Tim Jones, 13. October 2019, 13:47

    Andy Foster. Good on cycling, good on walking, better than Justin on Shelly Bay. He hasn’t pushed the proposed runway extension the way Justin did. As for getting urgent climateaction and ending car dependence, I’m backing strong women on Council to take the lead
    When it comes right down to it, Wellington is not an NZ First city or one that is likely to put up with a union-busting billionaire pulling the strings for three years. The Mayor-elect would do well to remember that. [via twitter]

  4. Neale Jones, 13. October 2019, 13:55

    Disappointed for my mate justin_lester. A very decent guy and a great mayor who had a lot more to offer the city. Hopefully we’ll see him in politics again in the future. [via twitter]

  5. TrevorH, 13. October 2019, 14:28

    A new Mayor and a new CEO to come. Wellington has a chance to make a fresh start after the lost decade of Lester and Wade-Brown. Here’s hoping.

  6. John S, 13. October 2019, 14:46

    So we have a new mayor whose win was helped by cash from Peter Jackson. Sounds like American politics. Should we be worried?

  7. Don M, 13. October 2019, 15:18

    I agree with Trevor H – let’s hope for a fresh start. And also rethinking some of the half-baked decisions that have been made during the pervious term, including the crazy introduction of e-scooters onto our already hazardous footpaths due to unregulated cyclists including the use of e-cycles. It’s no coincidence that Chris “E-Scooter” Calvi-Freeman has also got the boot – after he headed the transport committee, with half-baked ill-informed decisions, to the detriment of most Wellingtonians who actually walk.

  8. Nigel Hefford, 13. October 2019, 16:04

    So, we have an incumbent mayor who was helped with cash from the property developer who stood to profit from the Shelly Bay development and was defeated in his attempt at re-election. Not a fan of Peter Jackson but the the Shelly Bay deal was awful.

  9. michael, 13. October 2019, 17:29

    The big worry is that we will have more of the same unless the newbies can make a difference. Last election we were promised more transparency and action which did not occur, so it is not surprising Justin lost. Is it going to be any better under Andy Foster who has been part of the council for 27 years? I do wonder if Justin’s job was made more difficult under the somewhat controversial CEO, and look forward to a new CEO who may realise that council staff are there to work with councillors, not against them.

  10. Alana, 13. October 2019, 17:42

    I’m worried by millionaires backing political candidates wherever it occurs. Maybe time for more strictly drawn campaign donation laws, and mandatory disclosure of contributors throughout the campaign.

  11. Chris Horne, 13. October 2019, 17:51

    To Mayor Foster and all WCC councillors. Let’s see you all act swiftly because Wellington and the rest of the world face catastrophic climate change. Drop support for extending the runway, cancel the convention centre project, avoid promoting spending billions on “four-lanes-to-the planes” involving twinning the Terrace & Mt Victoria tunnels & 6-laning Ruahine St &amp and Wellington Rd, abandon changing Frank Kitts Park playground, abandon support for a Chinese Garden and a new building on our waterfront’s Site 9.
    Hasten strengthening our Town Hall, Central Library, St James Theatre and Municipal Office Building. Act swiftly to stop rogue mountain-bikers trashing our reserves, Otari-Wilton’s Bush and Outer Green Belt. Stop cyclists and e-scooter riders using our footpaths.

  12. Andrew, 13. October 2019, 18:43

    PJ supported Andy, IC supported Justin last time and presumably this time as well. Both are millionaires.

  13. Lim Leong, 13. October 2019, 21:11

    The mainstream media (as usual) has way over emphasized the influence of Peter Jackson on the mayoral race. The fact is that Wellington people are looking for decisive leadership when there are major events affecting the city whether something is the direct responsibility of WCC or not.

    A good example. Transport is the lifeline of a city. Instead of saying it is someone else’s responsibility to fix the bus debacle, Wellington people were looking to the Mayor to demonstrate leadership in facilitating a way forward. Yes. Form and function are both important but voters do know when there is too much form over function. The crux of the matter is that a significant number people felt that their concerns over a wide range of issues were ignored with or without the Peter Jackson factor.

  14. Graeme, 13. October 2019, 22:21

    I an coming around to idea of a quota for each sex on the council

  15. Ellen, 13. October 2019, 22:45

    Andy has said he is interested in safer speeds and better pedestrian crossing facilities, including in Karori, and better maintenance of footpaths to avoid slips, trips and falls – ka pai.
    Justin is a supporter of removing private vehicles from the Golden Mile and better accessible pedestrian crossing points – ka pai
    Just need someone to get on and do it!

  16. Nora, 13. October 2019, 22:46

    Totally agree with Ruz, Michael and Chris Horne….and it is to be hoped that the new CEO and the many new officers communicate with the new councillors – not just the Mayor! and listen to the ratepayers.

  17. kakariki, 14. October 2019, 8:05

    Andy has been pivotal in the success of Zealandia and town belt extensions and proposed to announce a biodiversity crisis alongside the climate crisis. With a looming climate ecological and water crisis, these lasting initiatives are what people really care about, and is a main reason why he speaks to a broad base of Wellingtonians (refer to Andy’s statements on climate/ecological crisis). Actions speak louder than words. Let’s hope Andy and the new team act swiftly to face the real challenges ahead. We need resilient essential municipal buildings (library, town hall), high urban water quality and resilient supply, stronger than ever ecological protection and restoration. Our reserves are being used more than ever, by locals and tourists but that are at massive risk. They are being deforested at an alarming rate by illegal track builders, and are increasingly being overrun with weeds that volunteers are unable to tackle (OMB/sycamore/cherry). Dogs off-leash, rabbits and cats prevail. Possum outbreaks are on the increase. We need more park rangers to implement Our Natural Capital, (rather than just a Landscape approach), to support environmental objectives, and the large number of community groups (<200 and growing). We need better Restoration and protection of all urban waterways. We need to upgrade storm drain infrastructure. We need to continue the momentum towards a pest free NZ. Under the current crisis, we cannot possibly afford a convention centre project, 4 lanes to the airport, or a movie museum. History has proven that the most cost effective lasting change is achieved by looking after nature first. Nature is not a nice to have, it is an essential part of our wellbeing.

  18. Rosamund Averton, 14. October 2019, 8:47

    Congrats to Andy. I would like you to revert to the previously democratic process of WCC. When citizens made submissions and were given time to make full oral submissions. In the past few years we have been given a derisory 5 minutes to express our views or make constructive comments. In my case after spending hours writing a full submission that reflected the actual proposals.

    There is an urgent matter that must be dealt with in the coming “100 days” – that of the sense of entitlement some cyclists have to use all of the Wellington tracks, trails and routes thus causing erosion, destroying flora and removing habitat. Many illegal new tracks have been constructed that inhibit use by walkers. Please Andy call a halt to this abuse which appears to be sanctioned by WCC.

  19. Georgia Vaughan, 14. October 2019, 11:11

    The inconvenient truth about our green spaces is that vast swathes of it are being lost to deforestation. Hundreds and hundreds of acres of bush have been lost. Illegal and legal mountain bike tracks are the cause. All the plants in our forests, exotic and native, are part of the climate change solution. No longer can pines and gorse be used as the convenient scapegoat, e.g. Prince of Wales Park. Andy Foster if you really care about the environment than return all of Johnston Hill to its bike-free status, stop any new track building in our green spaces and have zero tolerance on illegal mountain bike tracks. Stop Wellington’s appalling deforestation.

  20. Stephen Moore, 14. October 2019, 12:05

    Congrats to Andy
    PJ’s backing didnt get Andy elected, Andy’s policies did.

    Lester lost because LGWM was about to deliver nothing in the short term except a pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive. Lester also avoided responsibility for the bus catastrophic when he should have confronted GWRC regardless of GWRC ownership of the buses.

    Lastly it was said that Lester accepted a neutered LGWM because he was taking orders from the government on whose ticket he stood for office. I only hope the councillors who were elected on the tickets of national parties put Wellington first and not their Greens and Labour policies.

  21. Andrew, 14. October 2019, 13:43

    Georgia, just fact checking here. Hundreds and hundreds of acres? How about an empirical figure rather than one from the heart?

  22. Andrew, 14. October 2019, 14:08

    Georgia, I did some calculations for you. In Polhill reserve, where volunteers have been building multi-use trails for over ten years, there are roughly 10 km of trails that mountain bikes are allowed on. If we allow an average of 1m wide for the trail corridor, that equals 10,000 square metres for 10km of trail. 1 hectare, which is 2.47 acres. Not exactly ‘hundreds’. This does not count the areas of blackberry and other ‘weed’ species that have been cleared and replanted in natives. So unless someone has been creating airstrip-wide trails illegally, I think you have grossly overstated things.

  23. Roxzboy, 14. October 2019, 17:22

    Stephen Moore, you do realise that the Wellington Party are National Party acolytes don’t you? At least the Labour/Green candidates were up-front about their party affiliations.

  24. Michael Gibson, 15. October 2019, 6:38

    Roxzboy, I specifically asked one of the Wellington Party candidates if he belonged to the National party and he said “No”.
    Please be more specific with your claim about being “up-front about their party affiliations.”

  25. Roxzboy, 15. October 2019, 22:51