Unsuccessful Wellington mayoral candidate Paul Eagle said his centrist campaign failed because votes were split along party lines, while the incumbent mayor is leaving after 30 years at the council table.
Green Party-affiliated Tory Whanau easily won the chains, with preliminary results giving him 16,000 votes ahead of his closest rival, incumbent mayor Andy Foster, and well ahead of fourth-placed Eagle who got 10,000 votes.
The first contestant Ray Chung took a good third place and was elected in the Wharangi / Onslow-Western district.
Eagle admits he had the wrong strategy.
Despite his Labor affiliation, he ran as an independent and said he was trying to position himself in the political center uniting the two camps.
“It’s really funny, I heard a lot of things during the ‘we need to get rid of party politics in local government’ campaign.
“What the results show me is that everyone voted along party lines. You had red and green people voting clearly left, and blue people voting clearly right.”
Eagle said Wellington had spoken but remained the MP for Rongotai.
He said he would not quit and had not yet made a decision about his future.
“We have [Parliament] at the moment, and I have spoken to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and I will look when I return to Parliament, it will give me a good week to reflect. »
He would speak to the party, his family and his supporters before deciding whether to run for the seat again, he said.
See local body election results in other regions
Foster bows out after 30 years of local politics
Former Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is leaving local politics after three decades on city council.
Foster said he enjoyed his time on council and faced a number of significant challenges as mayor, including aging pipe infrastructure, the Covid pandemic and protests in Parliament .
He said he was proud of the council’s response which saw the city emerge from the other side in good shape.
Wellington had gone from a gray utility town to one that had been recognized as one of the best places to live during his time on council, Foster said.
“I am particularly proud of the transformation of our natural environment.
“We have gone from an environmental wasteland to a world leader in environmental restoration and biodiversity.
“We now have easily the highest levels of walking, cycling and public transport use in New Zealand.
“I am proud to have led the early development of cycleways, the Bikes in Schools program and all of our priority bus work to date.
“Most important of all, I want to thank my wife Ann and our kids Brendon and Ella. They’ve given up so much for so many years.
“Only political families know the consequences of politics. I look forward to spending more time together.”
“The future is bright…and I know you feel it too”
Wellington’s new mayor, Tory Whanau, has outlined a progressive vision for the city.
Whanau told around 150 supporters at a Green Party celebration last night that the future was bright.
“We will also create a better city for our local businesses where they can attract from everywhere, supported by our great public transit system.
“Our pedestrian streets, our busy alleys and of course where living wages are the norm.
“The future is bright, I feel it and I know you feel it too.”
New councilors but left bloc probably controls new council
There are several new faces at the Wellington City Council table, but preliminary results show it appears to have retained its largely leftist majority.
Takapū/Northern Ward has three councilors for the first time: Ben McNulty, a Labor Party affiliate, Tony Randle, an independent, and John Apanowicz, owner of a financial consultancy firm.
In the Warangi/Onslow-Western neighborhood, new independent Ray Chung has won on a platform of cutting wasteful spending.
Tim Brown won in Motukairangi/Eastern General Ward and wants more spending on housing, public transport and water.
Nureddin Abdurahman is new to the Paekawakawa/Southern General ward, and Matthew Raweti took the Maori ward seat – both Labor candidates.