Wellington Scoop

Greens’ former chief of staff to stand for Wellington mayoralty

Tory 2

Report from RNZ
Former Green Party chief of staff Tory Whanau has confirmed she’ll run for Wellington’s mayoralty as an independent candidate in next year’s local elections.

She left Parliament this year after working for the party as digital director and chief of staff for six years.

While she is yet to formally launch her campaign, Tory Whanau says her priorities include fixing the Capital’s infrastructure, housing accessibility and developing a post-pandemic recovery plan for the city.

She also wants to find ways to make Wellington safer and to consult with Wellingtonians and iwi “to ensure all voices are at the table.”

Tory Whanau

“As our issues start to escalate over the years, we’re going to need a new type of leadership. Someone who knows how to bring people together and get things done.

“I’m known to be a bit of a coalition builder so I think I could really add value and help bring our councillors together to really get our projects moving and accelerate them where we can.”


  1. Mark Cubey, 18. November 2021, 23:22

    She looks good on resume, takes a good photo, knows the north-west (well, Ngaio), and has a brilliant brand name. She will also presumably have the measure of current Green councillors. Given that Iona Pannett has served five terms and that Sarah Free has blots all over her copybook as deputy mayor, it would be great to see Tory head a refreshed, expanded team. [via twitter]

  2. Thomas Nash, 18. November 2021, 23:27

    I’m backing Tory Whanau to be Mayor of Wellington next year. We have such an opportunity to reshape our city and our region for the better over the next few years and Tory is exactly the talent we’re going to need to make it happen. Thank you Tory for putting yourself forward! [via twitter]

  3. Georgina Campbell, 18. November 2021, 23:34

    Tory Whanau has lived in a state house, won Lotto, negotiated with NZ First and now she’s the first to confirm a bid for the city’s top job. [via twitter]

  4. Thomas Coughlan, 18. November 2021, 23:35

    Somewhat proving her point about consensus building, several former NZ First staffers to be seen at her campaign launch tonight including former COS Jon Johansson (name checked in speech). [via twitter]

  5. Claire, 19. November 2021, 8:47

    There may be a backlash against Green affiliations in Wellington. After all, it was Green councillors who ignored officers and submissions in the DSP final votes. And pushed to go back to the unworkable original.

  6. Ian Apperley, 19. November 2021, 9:15

    Depending on who else runs for mayor, she could have a chance, but, this looks like the time-honoured tactic of running for mayor in order to generate enough airtime to get voted in as a Councillor.

    Points for starting early, any other contenders should be getting their hat in the ring now given it’s less than a year to run until voting. Going early also means that every time contentious issues are raised, the media can run and ask Tory what she thinks, as a mayoral candidate. A tactic that won’t work once there is a full field in play.

    Still, no policy, and wishy-washy answers to an interview in the Herald; that’ll need to be tidied up quickly.

  7. Richie Bestingface, 19. November 2021, 11:31

    I admire anyone who has the guts to run for mayor and at first glance Tory sounded ok. But the only thing I agreed with her on in that interview was the bucket fountain.

  8. TrevorH, 20. November 2021, 7:19

    We need someone who will take their direction from Wellingtonians, not their party politburo.

  9. D'Esterre, 21. November 2021, 11:15

    “…The only thing I agreed with her on in that interview was the bucket fountain.” I didn’t even agree with her about that, unfortunately.

  10. Ray Chung, 21. November 2021, 20:36

    I oppose central party politics involvement in the Wellington City Council. The Mayor and Councillors are mandated to provide Wellingtonians with a greater and more livable city, not to follow the dictates of their central party apparatchiks. It’s very evident that WCC councillors already say they must follow what central government states from the UPS-UD, the three property/three level dictate, Three Waters, legislating out the possibility of a ratepayer referendum when councils establish Maori Wards and so it goes.

  11. Dave B, 22. November 2021, 13:53

    All who are critical of Tory Whanau running for mayor, who would you suggest as an alternative? Would you like to put your own names forward, so that I can have the pleasure of ranking you (or not) on my ballot paper when the time comes?

  12. D'Esterre, 22. November 2021, 15:13

    TrevorH and Ray Chung: exactly. We need candidates who are independent. We need more political party apparatchiks like we need toothache.

    Dave B: many of us who are critical of the performance of WCC are now too old, either to hold office or to attract enough – or perhaps any – votes. That’s the way of the world, sadly.

  13. Ray Chung, 22. November 2021, 15:55

    Dave B, over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking to many Onslow-Western residents about the Draft District Plan, Three Waters, SNAs and LGWM. Many residents have asked what we as ORCA are doing about these issues? So the first thing we do is ask them if they’d like to join ORCA or better still our committee where they can have an active part in submissions. A few have joined but by and large most have said they’re too busy, too shy, have a great job and a multitude of other reasons but they’d really like us to speak up for them. This is the situation with standing so while I can empathise with you, it’s very difficult to find candidates. I was asked yesterday whether I was going to stand for council in Onslow-Western next year and when I said that’s my intention, he asked whether I’d like to stand for mayor?

  14. Dave B, 22. November 2021, 18:21

    Ray Chung, good to hear that you are planning to stand.

  15. Ray Chung, 22. November 2021, 21:08

    Thanks Dave B, I was thinking of you when I rode my non-electrified bicycle out to Petone on a sunny Sunday and thought the bike path was quite good but despite being such a warm day, the only other cyclists I saw were riding on the road. I mentioned this to Andy Foster and he said the track is fine for mountain bikes but many riders on racing bikes don’t find it smooth enough.