Wellington Scoop

Chris Calvi-Freeman and Sarah Free take over city’s transport responsibilities

Veteran city councillor Andy Foster has lost his responsibility for the Wellington City Council’s transport portfolio.

In a major change, Mayor Lester has split transport responsibilities – transport strategy has been given to first-time councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman, and public transport (as well as walking and cycling) is to be led by Sarah Free, in her second term on the council.

Calvi-Freeman is a professional transport planner, who worked for NZ Railways before it was privatised. He joined the Regional Council in 1990 and established and led the team responsible for reviewing all the region’s bus and train services in preparation for “deregulation” in 1991. In 1996 he moved to Sydney, and then to London, returning to Wellington two years ago.

Andy Foster is to be portfolio leader for finance, and he retains responsibility for urban development, which will include overseeing the council’s controversial 2015 plan to establish an urban development agency which is intended to be active in property development, including medium density housing. He is also portfolio leader for predator-free Wellington, and the Karori Framework.

A new city scientist portfolio has been created, for first-time councillor Peter Gilberd, who is also responsible for natural environment.

There’s a new living wage portfolio, to be the responsibility of first-time councillor Brian Dawson, a former vicar of St Peter’s Church in Willis Street. He will also be responsible for social development.

The mayor is taking on arts and culture as well as major city projects.

He has given economic development to Simon Swampy Marsh, who will take over the task formerly headed by Jo Coughlan.

Councillor Nicola Young has two new portfolios – central city projects, and education partnerships.

Councillor Iona Pannett becomes chair of the city strategy committee, and also leads the sustainability and infrastructure portfolios.

News from WCC
A refreshed and reinvigorated focus on the issues that matter for the Capital has driven the new range of portfolios assigned to the incoming Wellington City Council, says Mayor Justin Lester.

Mayor Lester has today announced the new councillor responsibilities, which reflect the needs of a growing population, pressures on housing and transport, and further boosting the Capital’s flourishing economy with a sharper focus on innovation, the arts and connectivity.

“The new portfolio structure reflects the values and strengths of Wellington: a creative, connected and innovative city,” says Cr Lester. “I’ve sharpened the focus for some existing portfolios and introduced new responsibilities to ensure the incoming council can meet the challenges of the Capital’s growing population and economy.

“I’m particularly excited to introduce a City Scientist portfolio to emphasise the importance of science and innovation to both the city’s resilience and economic development, and the appointment of a Wellington Ambassador will enhance our tourism offerings and better connect with international communities and visitors to Wellington.

“In terms of my own responsibilities, I have taken on the Arts and Culture portfolio to reflect the incredible value arts provides to our sense of place and pride in our city, and Major City Projects to maintain a direct leadership role in the projects that will define our city’s future.”

Following last week’s announcement of the new committee structure, with the four policy-based committees centralised into a single City Strategy committee, Mayor Lester has announced that Cr Iona Pannett has accepted the role of Chair.

The incoming Wellington City Councillors will be formally invested at an inauguration ceremony 5pm Wednesday 26 October at the Michael Fowler Centre.

Portfolio leaders

Mayor Justin Lester
Arts & Culture, Major City Projects, Governance

Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle
Housing, Recreation, Events

Cr Iona Pannett
Infrastructure, Sustainability

Cr Andy Foster
Urban Development, Finance, Predator Free Wellington, Karori Framework

Cr Simon Marsh
Economic Development, Small Business (joint)

Cr Simon Woolf
Wellington Ambassador, Tourism, Small Business (joint), Sport

Cr Malcolm Sparrow
Community Resilience

Cr Nicola Young
Central City Projects, Education Partnerships

Cr David Lee
Technology, Innovation & Enterprise (TIE), Climate Change

Cr Jill Day
Maori Partnerships, Children and Young People

Cr Peter Gilberd
Natural Environment, City Scientist

Cr Brian Dawson
Social Development, Living Wage

Cr Diane Calvert
Community Planning and Engagement

Cr Chris Calvi-Freeman
Transport strategy and operations

Cr Sarah Free
Public Transport, Cycling and Walking

Councillors can be emailed at firstname.lastname@wcc.govt.nz (ie. paul.eagle@wcc.govt.nz)

Committees of Council

City Strategy Committee
Chairperson: Councillor Iona Pannett
Mayor and all Councillors
For the purposes of developing the Council’s Long Term Plan and Annual Plan this committee will be referred to as Long-Term and Annual Plan Committee with Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle as the Chairperson. Membership will remain Mayor and all Councillors.

Regulatory Process Committee
Chairperson: Cr Malcolm Sparrow
Mayor Justin Lester
Cr Chris Calvi-Freeman
Cr Diane Calvert
Cr David Lee

Chief Executive’s Performance Review Committee
Chairperson: Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle
Mayor Justin Lester
Cr Jill Day
Cr Andy Foster
Cr Iona Pannett
Cr Diane Calvert

Subcommittees reporting to Strategy and Policy Committee

Grants Sub-committee
Chairperson: Cr Sarah Free
Cr Peter Gilberd
Cr Brian Dawson
Cr Nicola Young
Cr Jill Day

Finance, Audit and Risk Management Sub-committee
Chairperson: Cr Andy Foster
Mayor Justin Lester
Cr Nicola Young
Cr Diane Calvert
Plus 2 external appointments

Council Controlled Organisations Sub-Committee
Chairperson: Cr Simon Woolf
Mayor Justin Lester
Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle
Cr Simon Marsh
Cr David Lee

The Mayor is an ex officio member of every committee and subcommittee, other than a quasi-judicial committee.

PCGM: Shuffling the portfolios
WCC: New councillor heading portfolio for children


  1. Elaine Hampton, 21. October 2016, 12:58

    At last a new transport regime

  2. The City is Ours, 21. October 2016, 13:59

    We still have the likes of Steve Spence and Stephen Hart at the core of our transport woes, now going even slower then before.

  3. Marion Leader, 21. October 2016, 14:21

    I agree about the traffic “going even slower than before.” It takes far too long for local buses to get through the centre of Wellington.

  4. Casey, 21. October 2016, 16:35

    Just wait and see how slow slow is when double decker buses start running through the CBD, due to the dwell time loading and unloading passengers to and from the upper decks. OSH rules will not permit use of the single stairway whilst the bus is in motion.

  5. Royal Society NZ, 21. October 2016, 19:04

    Thrilled that staff member and Marsden Fund manager Peter Gilberd will be first city scientist for Wellington. [via twitter]

  6. Vee, 22. October 2016, 20:17

    What is the city scientist going to do all day and every day?