Wellington Scoop

Andy Foster enters mayoral race – wants to restore vision, energy and progress


Media release from Andy Foster
Wellington City Councillor Andy Foster is spicing up Wellington’s Mayoral contest by entering the race.

“I’ve never had so many people say they want a change, and ask me to run for Mayor. They are very unhappy about what’s been done, about what has not been done, and about the way things have been done.”

“People love our City very deeply and are proud of the way it has developed into one of the best cities in the world to live in, but there is now a widespread view that we are losing our way, and I want to put that right,” says Andy.

The Way We Work

“I want Council to be more part of the community and be clearer it exists for the community, not for itself.

“As our city grows I will make sure we plan to protect the things we most value about our city, whether it our special green spaces or heritage and character. I will empower communities to make more of their own decisions about how they contribute to the needs of a growing city, while developing and enhancing their own special identities. We will not impose solutions without any consultation as has happened at Shelly Bay.

“I stand for open Government, not for secret deals.”

“I want to be regularly hearing from our many communities and will establish regular sounding board meetings with key economic, environmental, social and cultural representatives. I will promote greater collaboration with our sister Councils around the region. Internally councillors will enjoy clearer portfolio responsibilities to help them get things done.”

The Environment

“We all know we need to reduce our footprint on the Planet. I will ensure more support for the thousands of Wellingtonians who, like me, are active in environmental restoration and predator control. We will complete our Green Belt network, establish a heritage park on Miramar peninsula, and develop several parks in the Central City to support its growing population.

“I will release plans in coming days about driving waste reduction and reducing Council’s own climate impact.”

The Economy

“I want to focus our efforts on the things that are uniquely Wellington strengths. I want to make a lot more of being the Capital, our film capital status, arts and culture, access to outdoors for iconic events, and expanding boutique food and beverage manufacture.

“Short stay parking is important to business and will be prioritized over longer stay parking. I’ll look at restoring free Sunday parking.”

Te Ngakau – Civic Square

“I will make decisions over the next year so construction can get underway alongside Town Hall strengthening. With the School of Music, a solution to the Central Library, activating the edges of the Square with cafes, the return of Council and possibly other activities Civic Square will be properly Te Ngakau – the heart of our city.”


“Let’s Get Wellington Moving is politically compromised, looks to be ineffective, overpriced and slow in delivery. Roads appear to have been deemed evil. I’ll push for an integrated transport system, more people walking, cycling and using public transport, and decent roading connections sooner rather than later.

“Public transport has become a real problem. The one practical thing the City Council can do is deliver bus priority which successive City Councils have refused to do. I also want the Airport Flyer resurrected. Given the desire to spend billions of dollars on future mass transit, it would be irrational not to fix the existing bus service for just a few dollars to give some benefits now.”


“We need more housing. We especially need housing that young people looking to get into a first home can afford, and housing for older people looking to downsize. Our market isn’t providing that. In 2016 we were ready to establish an Urban Development Agency so Council could help actively deliver this housing – within a consulted on wider framework. That was blocked for ideological reasons. I will fix that.”


“I want to ensure Council lives within its means. Council is projecting rates increases of approximately 70% over the next 10 years without even factoring in Civic Square, and that is going to be simply unaffordable for many Wellingtonians. I’ll keep working on significant opportunities for saving over the shorter and longer terms. “

“I want our City to be the best it can be and to restore a sense of vision, energy and progress. I will be releasing a lot more detailed policy on how we can make these things happen in the coming days.”

DomPost: Peter Jackson backs Andy Foster


  1. Georgina Campbell, 16. August 2019, 16:18

    It’s understood Sir Peter Jackson is bankrolling Andy Foster’s mayoral campaign. The filmmaker attended Foster’s official announcement at Shelly Bay this afternoon. An email has been sent to Weta staff encouraging those who are “passionate about the Shelly Bay issue” to join. [via twitter]

  2. Benoit Pette, 16. August 2019, 16:20

    It just happens his views on Shelly Bay align with a majority of the residents of the peninsula. No-one opposes more housing, especially in the current crisis, but the proposed project is completely out of proportion. [via twitter]

  3. Conor Hill, 16. August 2019, 16:29

    What about his views on the airport Benoit? He’s a director, and the plans are to add 5 million passengers a year.

  4. Hel, 16. August 2019, 17:09

    Without a doubt Foster is in the race for the right reasons and is a passionate Wellingtonian. Of the candidates in the race I think he is by a long way the most capable of giving Lester a run and I suspect Lester knows it too.

  5. Bob, 16. August 2019, 17:43

    Hmmm, a “solution” to the Central Library? A “final” one perhaps? I’d like to hear what he’s going to do to. With no wiffle-waffle dodging the question for election points. His answer could either hang him in the public’s opinion or lift him into the Mayoralty. Though a leopard doesn’t change his spots -that- easily.

  6. Andy Foster, 16. August 2019, 21:44

    Hi Bob – fair question.
    In my speech today I said that I would very much prefer to strengthen and modernise the Central Library. It is a much loved building and many people regard it as Ath’s greatest work. All the information about the building needs to be, and will be made public so that especially the engineers and architects can pore over it. The other opportunity is to modernise the library (internally) which I would hope could be done while retaining the building. If you have looked at Christchurch’s new Turanga (Central library) there are certainly some of the less expensive features that would I am sure be immensely popular.

    I also said that in respect of the wider Te Ngakau – Civic Square, we must consult and make decisions within the coming year so that any construction can be got underway so we don’t get the Town Hall back in 4 years and still have Civic Square as a building site. We should take opportunities to better activate the edges of buildings into the Square, and development needs to include returning the Council to the Civic precinct.
    Kind regards, Andy

  7. Goofy, 17. August 2019, 8:17

    The Central Library is a timeless design there is no need to modernize it! To continue to do more ” consulting” and take a year to make a decision on Civic Square is also unacceptable management. To me it sounds like the same agenda that is so distasteful. We don’t even need the Council in the Square.

  8. Gillybee, 17. August 2019, 10:48

    @ Conor Hill. The plan to add 5 million passengers a year is the decision of Infratil, who own a majority share in Wellington Airport. The real question is whose decision was it to sell out to Infratil and lose control of the decision-making process @ what is the city’s key pieces of infrastructure?

  9. Benny, 17. August 2019, 11:50

    @Conor: Yes, Mr Jackson’s contribution (via his economic activities) to air traffic is unlikely to be minimal, and obviously this should be slowed down. As you know, I am a big advocate of limiting air traffic in our city. But also, I am not voting for Mr Jackson. I happen to strongly agree with his views on Shelly Bay (lack of transparency, destruction of the natural landscape, huge impact on the traffic, etc). And just to be clear, in my opinion housing would be welcome here, if the project was following the RMA and district plan, bringing it back to a more reasonable development. The current proposal is greedy sabotage, period.

    @Andy: Welcome into the race. I will be eager to read your environment policy, which, in my opinion, should address airport emissions. If we want to be consistent with the climate emergency, we must set a cap (to its current level) to the emissions coming out of the planes landing in our city. This would send a message we welcome clean flying technology (which admittedly is not ready yet), and that we put the environment first. That is the only meaningful acknowledgement that business as usual is not acceptable any more, that we don’t want more fossil fuel carbon pumped into our air, nor in our lungs. The airport has a 30% reduction target by 2030, but it only applies to the airport, not the airlines. We own 33% of the airport and we can definitively vote bylaws to implement such policy. Only the political will is required.

    While on the topic of the airport, its land creeping is concerning. I don’t think any of us want Strathmore and/or Kilbirnie eaten by the airport. That means there is a limit to its surface growth and we need to set it clearly, for now and years to come, especially when it is eyeing green spaces. The peninsula residents have been pretty clear they cherish the natural environment, and golf is definitively part of the green estate of the area. Concreting it up for more parking would be disgraceful.

  10. CC, 17. August 2019, 12:18

    Gillybee – the sale of the airport is a very interesting part of the history of the NZ privatisation of public assets and demonstrates the tenuous nature of democracy.(See:https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/case-library/family-silver-the-the-sale-of-wellington-airport-a-2009-77-1). If one reads to the end of the epilogue, it notes that Infratil operated other airports in the UK and Germany – Glasgow Prestwick and Kent International in Britain and Lubeck in Germany. It now owns only the 66% share of WAIL on the back of a dismal record with its overseas acquisitions.

  11. Guy M, 17. August 2019, 12:52

    Goofy – a “timeless design” with no need to modernize it? Probably nothing could be further from the truth! It is a post-modern design that is extremely dated in time and is, by many aspects, well past its use by date, internally as well as by its layout and contents. That’s not to say that it is not fantastic, and should not be kept, but please keep in mind that it was already scheduled for a major $25m refurbishment and major replanning of what it is doing / who it is for / what it is trying to do.

    Remember that the use of books has plummeted hugely over the past 5 years – all the world over, not just in Wellington. CDs and LPs and DVDs, once popular lending items, can now hardly be given away, while e-Books are making inroads into sales and loans of real paper-based books. If the main role of the Library is just to be a place where the unemployed can go and sit in the sun, then that is also a great social use – but does that need to be done in what was once a Library?

  12. Peter S, 17. August 2019, 16:09

    Good on you Andy, a strong contender against Mr “more of the same bad management” Lester. But, please tell us why you voted for that convention centre? Is the $179m headline cost absolutely locked in, or will there be the inevitable cost escalations by stealth???

  13. John Rankin, 18. August 2019, 11:32

    When @AndyFoster comments on this site, his statements are straightforward, factual and clear. I welcome Andy’s announcement. But what does this mean:

    Let’s Get Wellington Moving is politically compromised, looks to be ineffective, overpriced and slow in delivery. Roads appear to have been deemed evil. I’ll push for an integrated transport system, more people walking, cycling and using public transport, and decent roading connections sooner rather than later.

    I agree on “slow in delivery” — let’s get LGWM moving faster. As I read LGWM’s proposals, “moving more people with fewer vehicles” means choosing to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport over roads, because more roads induce more traffic. Prioritising A over B doesn’t mean we think B is evil; either we prioritise or we don’t.

    If the programme is “overpriced” but Andy wants to give roads a higher priority, something has to go. Is Andy’s statement code for “Scrap rapid transit and use the money to build roads”? Or perhaps “Build roads because central government will fund them.”

    Does Andy endorse LGWM’s goal of “moving more people with fewer vehicles” and if so how does his approach do this better than LGWM’s proposals?

  14. B Wilson, 18. August 2019, 11:35

    If you people really want change at the top, please put only one vote for your choice. If you put additional choices with this STV system, every additional choice lowers the value of your vote. Note: It happened with Wade-Brown and I can see Lester getting back in if we aren’t careful.

  15. Mary M, 18. August 2019, 12:44

    B Wilson: STV is another example of our democracy at the bottom of the cliff. Unfortunately as I have no one representing my interests I can’t vote for the Council. There is no independence in the system.

  16. Mike Mellor, 18. August 2019, 13:16

    B Wilson: “every additional choice lowers the value of your vote” is not true, because the additional choices only come into play if your first choice is eliminated.

    Mary M: STV is an example of democracy working well, giving a wide choice of voting options and ensuring that the successful candidates have maximum support. It’s entirely your choice as to whether to vote or not – there’s no “can’t vote” about it (unless you’re not qualified, of course).

  17. Mary M, 18. August 2019, 13:23

    MikeM: the Council consults with and listens to interests other than the ratepayers. Central Govt puppeteers the Councilors .As a ratepayer, I have no candidate who represents me or my interests. There is no “rule by the people”. How is that a democracy?

  18. Concerned Wellingtonian, 18. August 2019, 14:02

    Voting for the mayoralty is no problem – you put a number against however many candidates you like but you must leave a blank against somebody you don’t like.
    In Wellington we all know who that is.

  19. Alf the Aspirational Apteryx, 18. August 2019, 15:01

    Sadly Diane and Andy could split the vote and Lester might sneak back in.

  20. Stephen Todd, 18. August 2019, 15:20

    That is not strictly true, Concerned Wellingtonian, as I pointed out to you on 13 August, here .

  21. B Wilson, 18. August 2019, 20:03

    As I said if you are serious about change, choose 1 vote and leave the other choices blank.

  22. Jack L, 19. August 2019, 8:30

    If you’re serious about change don’t vote for the Council.
    Actively protest the 0 options for change.

  23. Stephen Todd, 19. August 2019, 10:46

    @B Wilson: If you vote for candidate C, and express no other preferences, but the final two candidates are A and B, one of whom wins, how does that help bring about “change at the top”? There are nine candidates in the mayoral race. To give themselves a good chance of influencing the outcome, voters should continue to express preferences for as long as they are able to place successive candidates in order.

  24. Stephen Todd, 19. August 2019, 11:04

    @Alf the Aspirational Apteryx – No, Alf, with preferential voting, Diane and Andy cannot split the vote. If there are three candidates remaining in the count, being A with (say) 100 votes, B1 with 80 votes, and B2 with 60 votes, meaning an absolute majority of votes is 121, B2 would then be excluded and his or her votes transferred to A and B1, in accordance with the preferences on the relevant voting documents. In such a scenario, B1 could well come through to snatch the prize, (say) 118–116, in a manner similar to the 2010 outcome, when Celia Wade-Brown came from behind to defeat Kerry Prendergast.

  25. Concerned Wellingtonian, 19. August 2019, 12:30

    I’m simply suggesting that B2 is given Nil votes o that the last three candidates have 100 (for A), 80 for B1 and as few as possible for B2 (including any that have been transferred from already-unsuccessful candidates).
    I regret that I cannot understand Stephen Todd’s sums.

  26. Stephen Todd, 19. August 2019, 13:03

    @Concerned Wellingtonian: In my example, above, the candidates had 100, 80 and 60 votes = 240. Therefore, the absolute majority of votes needed to win is 240 / 2 = 120 + 1 = 121.

    At the final transfer, I showed that B2’s votes transferred 18 to A (total = 118), and 36 to B1 (total = 116), with 6 votes dropping out of the count. That meant the final absolute majority of votes was 234 /2 = 117 + 1 = 118. A is therefore the winner.

    What you are saying is that you don’t want B2’s supporters to vote for B2; you just want people to vote for A or B1. Sorry CW, elections are not like that.

  27. Stephen Todd, 19. August 2019, 14:40

    @Concerned Wellingtonian: Okay, I’ll try that again. At the final transfer, I showed that B2’s votes transferred 16 to A (total = 116), and 38 to B1 (total = 118), with 6 votes dropping out of the count. That meant the final absolute majority of votes was 234 / 2 = 117 + 1 = 118. B1 is therefore the winner. My apologies.