Wellington Scoop

Celia not standing for mayoralty – “ready to move on,” she says

News release from Celia Wade-Brown
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced today that she will not be standing for election in the upcoming local body elections.

“After 20 years of successful local government service, 6 years as Mayor and 14 years as a councillor prior to that, I am ready to move on and contribute to the community in a different capacity,” said Ms Wade-Brown.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved as Mayor, with Wellingtonians, Councillors and staff, over the past six years and I’m confident that I leave office with further significant projects set up for a supportive Mayor and Council to complete. Wellington is recognised internationally as a city with an extremely high quality of life.

“There have been many achievements across the economic, social, cultural and environment spheres under my leadership.

“Our economy is in good shape. We established the Wellington Regional Economic Development agency to drive growth in the regional economy and established new airline routes to Singapore and Canberra and via Fiji to the United States. Thanks to our delegations, local exports, including Antipodes Skincare, The Wellington Chocolate Factory, Wairarapa wine and fresh produce have excellent new collective opportunities to China. I’ve strengthened economic and cultural ties with Seoul, Canberra and Taipei too.

“We’ve bought the land for the new Movie Museum and Conference Centre and the last details are being ironed out between VUW, NZSO and us on the Town Hall and Civic Precinct.

“I led funding for the resource consent for the extension of the airport runway so Wellington businesses will have easier access to international markets and so we can accelerate tourism and overseas students into the city and region. The benefits to Central New Zealand will far outweigh the costs.

“As a tech geek I was excited to deliver free WiFi in the CBD, the Collider Tech Hub and helped bid for the ICT Graduate School now being established.

“We have become richer, in every sense of the word, as a city in recent years. we have supported many new social enterprises like Kaibosh, Loomio and Conscious Consumers and we’ve catalysed collaboration in education, sports, community services, arts and the environment.

“As a progressive politician, I have led local government in New Zealand with the staged implementation of a living wage for all Council staff, CCO employees, security and cleaning contractors.

“In light of the squeeze on housing in the city for the foreseeable future, I successfully negotiated with the Government special housing accords to help Wellingtonians access an adequate supply of affordable housing in the city as well as ensuring the existing social housing improvements were extremely well done. New modular style building will catalyse cheaper builds in the city while maintaining quality.

“As a proud cyclist it was very pleasing to secure over $37 million in council and government funding for the next four years to build a beautiful network that will transform the way we get around the city and reduce our carbon emissions. We’ve moved the Great Harbour Way, which I have advocated for for many years, from a community dream to being solidly funded from Petone to Ngauranga and Oriental Bay to Miramar. Council and volunteers combine to make amazing mountain bike tracks. Bikes to Schools has brought joy to many primary school children.

“Light rail is still on the medium-term agenda and the new collaborative arrangement “Let’s Get Welly Moving” between Regional Council, NZTA and Wellington City is a far better place to start from than fighting the failed flyover. Simple improvements to lower speeds and walking signage are important but go below the radar. Our CBD laneways are brighter and really give this urban village an edge.

“The wildness of our forests and South Coast inspired me to increase pest control, aim for two million trees planted by 2020, introduce compulsory microchipping for cats and set Zealandia on a solid foundation. We will be predator free well before 2050.

“Financial contributions and planning cooperation with Central Government brought huge success in our WW100 commemorative activities. Pukeahu National Memorial Park, The Great War exhibition in the Dominion Museum, the Light & Sound Show and the Anzac street parade made wonderful memories.

“Sports action includes hosting many Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup events, five artificial pitches in six years, a new BMX track, a third hockey turf, funding for the Basin Reserve cricket ground revamp plus half a dozen school pools saved from closure to help children learn to swim.

“The most fundamental issue for any city is its resilience to acute shocks and chronic stresses. I’m proud to have led Wellington into the prestigious 100 Resilient Cities Network, accessing resources from the Rockefeller Foundation. Our community and earthquake leadership is well recognised in New Zealand and overseas.

“On a personal level there have been many highlights in the role, from greeting Hillary Clinton at the airport to attending The Hobbit premiere. However I’m most inspired by the many different groups that show me the advantages of cultural and gender diversity every day. Traditions and contemporary culture blossom here from Maori to Colombian, Scottish to Chinese, Assyrian to Samoan. I’m delighted we’ve added the K-Pop festival, Africa Day, CubaDupa, LUX and New Year’s Eve at the Lagoon to the busy Wellington calendar as well as significant funding increases to our existing arts partners like the orchestras, ballet and NZFestival.

“When I hang up the Mayoral robe and chains for the last time, I will begin a third career with a number of different portfolios.

“I have been accepted into a local English language teaching course that starts in late September and I am really looking forward to it, especially to supporting refugees settle in. Several personal and business projects will follow in 2017, including walking Te Araroa from Cape Reinga to Bluff. I’ve been asked to be on several Boards including the International Walk21 Foundation.

“My Mayoralty can be defined by the breadth of my interests and the varied projects we’ve completed that impact the lives and experiences of all Wellingtonians. I’ve been inclusive of all elected members. I am heartened that I leave the Mayoralty with the city in good shape.

“We have a growing, active and prosperous city where almost 90% say this is a great place to live, echoed by the BBC, Mercer, LivComm and Numbeo. There are numerous opportunities ahead for the city and firm plans in place to share their benefit widely. I step down with both the capital and myself in good heart.”

“Vogue magazine was right when they said in 2015 that Wellington is the “coolest little city in the world.”

Earlier news from Wellington.Scoop
Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown is to make an announcement today regarding the mayoralty. The announcement will be made at a press conference at 10.30 this morning.

It is to be held in Tory Street at the BizDojo Events space. Media have been invited to attend.

Ms Wade-Brown says her annuncement will be regarding the upcoming local body election.

There is speculation about whether she has decided to step down for the mayoralty.


  1. Mosey, 5. August 2016, 9:56

    Celia has been phoning around key opinion formers – CEO Weltec, VUW VC and others to warn them of the news.

  2. Jack Little, 5. August 2016, 13:40

    Looks like the LabourGreens stitch up is starting to have an impact. Celia forced to step down by Justin and his mob. Now the choice is between a candidate beholden to Andrew Little and Metiria Turei, a candidate beholden to Porirua ratepayers, and a moderate candidate who actually listens to the community and is beholden to nobody! I know where I’m leaning

  3. Save the Basin, 5. August 2016, 14:01

    Celia Wade-Brown was a steadfast opponent of a Basin Reserve flyover. Thanks, Celia!

  4. Matthew, 5. August 2016, 14:12

    “Two million trees planted by 2020” – how’s that coming along? This sums up CWB’s tenure as Wellington Mayor – noble ambition, but zero idea of how it’ll be delivered.

  5. Mosey, 5. August 2016, 14:13

    Online poll on Stuff. Shows only three serious contenders now. Those preferences are going to be critical.

  6. Peter, 5. August 2016, 16:16

    Matthew – most of the many tens of thousands of Council and Forest and Bird Nursery seedlings that were ready for planting this year have been delivered or collected for planting by over a hundred voluntary groups and more than a thousand individuals. Thousands of hours are spent planting out and maintaining the Town Belt and the city’s reserves every year by volunteers. Added to that, nature is doing an excellent regeneration job in many areas, aided and abetted by the increasing flocks of native birds. The heavy lifting on the Council’s part is done by four Rangers and a few nursery staff. As for the pest destruction, most of that has until relatively recently be done by the Regional Council and there are concerns that this may be another area for cut-backs now that the Wellington Council has taken over.
    By the way Matthew, how many of the two million trees (http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/projects/two-million-trees) have you planted this year?

  7. Takapu Valley, 5. August 2016, 16:18

    We’d like to wish Celia well. She came to see issues around the silly TakapuValley M’way plan, formed a view and stood by it. Thanks. [via twitter]

  8. Justin Lester, 5. August 2016, 16:22

    Thank you WellingtonMayor for 20 years of service to Wellington. [via twitter]

  9. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 5. August 2016, 16:38

    Yes, thanks Celia for your service to the people of Wellington. I hope the unfortunate Island Bay cycleway process wasn’t the decision-maker for you. How about shaking up the GWRC now and attacking transport problems regionally?!

  10. Marion Leader, 5. August 2016, 17:12

    Jack, who is the “moderate candidate who actually listens to the community and is beholden to nobody!” Please tell!!

  11. Nora, 5. August 2016, 19:08

    Marion, Keith Johnson is the mayoral candidate you should be reading about…. extremely well qualified as demonstrated on his website, in fact would be a first class CEO.

  12. Iona Pannett, 5. August 2016, 23:02

    Sad to hear this news but proud of what Celia has achieved, she has done much for Wellington over 20 years. [via twitter]

  13. Helen Kelly, 5. August 2016, 23:07

    Celia Wade-Brown has done more for the people working for this city than any other Mayor I can name. [via twitter]

  14. Patrick Morgan, 6. August 2016, 9:11

    Thanks Celia for being a tireless champion for a walkable, bikeable, and liveable Wellington. [via twitter]

  15. Sarah Free, 6. August 2016, 10:09

    Go well Celia. You have achieved much;-a highlight for me was your carefully argued case to pay the Living Wage. [via twitter]

  16. Chris Laidlaw, 7. August 2016, 12:24

    Celia deserves real credit for pursuing her vision of what a 21st city should become – often in the face of resistance from a divided and fractious council. I enjoyed working with her and her infectious energy. Wellington city council has however become somewhat self-absorbed. We now need a mayor – and a council – who can see beyond the city limits to the rest of a region on which it depends for much of its prosperity. And someone who is capable of working with the region to get the best out of our interdependence.

  17. Hel, 7. August 2016, 12:39

    Interesting comments from Chris Laidlaw, as it would appear one of the biggest handbrakes on a regional view has been the Regional Council.

  18. Jim Young, 7. August 2016, 20:03

    It’s a win- win for Wellington. Not only did the Hurricanes win the Super Rugby trophy, but thankfully Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is on her bike, leading one hopes to a clean out of this dysfunctional Council.

  19. Marion Leader, 8. August 2016, 9:11

    Nora, thank you, Keith Johnson is clearly the name I have been looking for.

  20. Richie, 9. August 2016, 21:10

    So the Act candidate from Porirua thinks he can add to the toxicity now Celia has gone. He’ll be great for that as hes demonstrated in Porirua.

  21. Justine Beattie, 9. August 2016, 21:52

    Is Nick Leggett seriously involved with the Act party or is that stirring? What is the actual case?? While I’m not an Act voter it doesn’t matter much to me. But I’m quite concerned he won’t say. He’s says he’s not Labour but he kind of is. Now Richie says Nick is Act? Is he Act or not? Or is Nick being run by Act people so he can say he is “independent”? To people who read this who are Nick’s team, please can you just be clear what is what? I don’t know what to believe. At least Justin says he’s Labour and that’s fine. Jo says she’s independent and that’s fine. Nicola says she’s independent and that’s fine. [Here’s what Andrew Little said yesterday about Nick and the Act Party.]