Wellington Scoop

Sarah Free will stand as an independent candidate next year

Wellington’s Deputy Mayor Sarah Free says she will run again in the 2022 local body elections as an independent candidate.

In the last election she was a Green Party candidate and campaigned on issues including cycling and walking opportunities, public transport improvements, and infrastructure resilience across Wellington.

“My values have not changed at all and I will still be working towards a sustainable, inclusive and resilient Wellington and working closely with Green and other progressive colleagues. However, the Motukairangi/Eastern Ward which I represent faces some complex issues – and I believe going forward I can best represent the ward and the wider city as an independent.”

“I am proud of what has been achieved in the last two years on Council; we have not walked away from making difficult and challenging decisions, including reviewing the way we work together as a team.

“The Council has made important progress on some fundamental priorities for the city;- addressing deficits in our water and waste infrastructure, committing to improved cycling, walking and public transport through the LGWM partnership, strengthening of major civic buildings such as the Town Hall, St James and Central Library, building our new convention and exhibition space, improving public safety through the Poneke Promise and supporting our many businesses and diverse communities.”

“I am honoured to hold the leadership role that I do at such a time. I also want to pay tribute to the great work done by the Mayor and all my colleagues, our CEO and many staff, and of course to wish all Wellingtonians a very well deserved, relaxing, enjoyable and safe Christmas.”

Sarah was first elected as a Motukairangi/Eastern Ward councillor in 2013, before being appointed deputy mayor in 2019.

She holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Public Health (with distinction). In her early career, Sarah worked for the New Zealand Electricity Department on a number of substation and transmission line upgrades. She is also a trained teacher and taught mathematics, science, and senior physics at Wellington Girls’ College and St Catherine’s College.


  1. Geoff, 17. December 2021, 19:24

    Well done Sarah! Green certainly isn’t green anymore.

  2. Richard Keller, 17. December 2021, 20:51

    Or perhaps Sarah was pushed? Since becoming Deputy Mayor she hasn’t been identifiably Green.

  3. TrevorH, 18. December 2021, 7:51

    Perhaps the message that Wellingtonians don’t want their city held hostage to political party agendas is getting through?

  4. Marion Leader, 18. December 2021, 8:21

    Somebody with the office of Deputy Mayor shouldn’t be identifiably Green.

  5. Andy Foster, 18. December 2021, 9:22

    Sarah is doing a tremendous job as Deputy Mayor. She has a real heart for our city, and is a person of the highest integrity.

    We’ve all seen public statements by central political parties / politicians putting pressure on local councillors, and block political party voting is equally antithetical to the oath all councillors swear on inauguration – ‘to faithfully and impartially, with the best of our skill and judgement, act in the best interests of Wellington.’ Everyone brings their values to the table, but all that requires independent thinking, which Sarah has always demonstrated.

  6. Claire, 18. December 2021, 10:09

    Andy: not always. Sarah did not have to vote for a return to the first DSP on house zoning, agreeing with that instigation by another Green councillor. All after the large number of submissions and offers of plans and working together from suburbs. This was bowing to political pressure. And unnecessary as it gained very little in the way of housing. Wearing a different coat may help get reelected but the voting record always stands.

  7. Ray Chung, 20. December 2021, 21:03

    I’m very sceptical of any candidate who is affiliated to or runs under a central political party as they don’t follow their oath as mentioned by Andy above to do their best for all Wellingtonians but instead follow their political party’s agenda.
    Claire: you’re right, I hope voters do remember how councillors voted next October. I hope on 20th October they remember that Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons together with Rebecca Matthews, Teri O’Neill, Jill Day, Jennie Condie, Tamatha Paul, Sean Rush and Liz Kelly voted against the proposal for the Council to work with communities on neighbourhood planning and the impacts of density for those neighbourhoods including parks etc. Councillor Fitzsimons said that neighbourhood planning would give resident organisations “too much power” to stop housing and give residents “false hope about the power they had” to alter density decisions. Voting for consultation with communities were: Iona Pannett, Sarah Free, Laurie Foon, Nicola Young, Andy Foster, Diane Calvert and Simon Woolf. It seems to me that the councillors who voted against the proposal care more about their own ego and not a fig for the Wellingtonians who voted for them.