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New mayors for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch

Local body elections have seen a shake-up of incumbent local body politics.

Wayne Brown, centre, is Auckland's new mayor.

NBR Staff Sat, 08 Oct 2022

The results for local government elections are in – and include new mayors Wayne Brown in Auckland, Tory Whanau in Wellington, Phil Mauger in Christchurch, Jules Radich in Dunedin and Noddy Clark in Invercargill.

Auckland mayoral runner-up Efeso Collins lost to Brown by 54,808 votes, wider than polling suggested. “This is it for me in local politics,” he told media after the loss.

Meanwhile, Brown, who was formerly Far North mayor, said today that Auckland voters sent the “clearest possible message” to Auckland Council and central government in Wellington.

“At more than 300 campaign events over the last six months, Aucklanders have made clear to me and fellow candidate Efeso Collins that you love our city, but that you know much of it is broken.

“It is now up to me, the new governing body and the local boards to act on our mandate, fix what is broken and deliver the change you demand.” 

Brown said the top issue was transport, then crime, unfinished projects, rising costs and council waste. His priority was reform of council-controlled organisations.

He planned to take most of tomorrow off – including canning media interviews – before receiving an economic and financial briefing on Monday morning from senior council officers. 

NBR ran a series profiling major Auckland mayoral candidates including Brown, Collins, Viv Beck and James Dunphy. We also looked at minor candidates most of interest to business.

Whanau tops Wellington

In Wellington, former Green Party chief of staff Tory Whanau had a convincing win over her competitors for mayor, including a lead of 16,000 over incumbent Andy Foster, whose loss in the mayoral race means the end of a 30-year stint on council.

Whanau ran as an independent, endorsed by the Greens, and will be the city’s first Māori mayor.

There will be eight new members of the Wellington City Council – Whanau, Tony Randle, Ben McNulty, John Apanowicz, Ray Chung, Tim Brown, Nureddin Abdurahman, and Matthew Reweti.

Wellington's new mayor Tory Whanau.

In Christchurch, Phil Mauger had a narrow majority to become the new mayor, only just beating his rival, former district health board chief executive David Meates.

Mauger replaces Lianne Dalziel, who’d been in the top job for nine years but did not want to run again.

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce welcomed Mauger, as a businessman who ran third-generation construction company Maugers Contracting, as “committed to improving economic outcomes, removing barriers to doing business, and unlocking the opportunities that Christchurch has to offer.

"Phil is stepping into a role that is not without its challenges and we look forward to working closely together to advance the interests of the business community throughout the next three years,” Chamber CEO Leeann Watson said.

"We know the current environment continues to provide new challenges and that requires new perspectives, fresh thinking and new ways of working." 

Elsewhere, former National MP Nick Smith is expected to become Nelson's new mayor, with 90% of votes counted late Saturday afternoon.

Smith is set to beat former Nelson City councillor Kerry Neal and incumbent councillors Tim Skinner, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens and Matt Lawrey.

Incumbent deputy mayor Nobby Clark is now Invercargill's mayor, after Sir Tim Shadbolt left local politics after two decades.

In Rotorua, Tania Tapsell will become its first Māori woman mayor. The 30-year-old attracted 6254 votes, up on closest rival Fletcher Tabuteau’s 2862 votes.

Incumbent mayors who remain in their seats include Lower Hutt’s Campbell Barry, and Hamilton’s Paula Southgate.

Rotorua's new mayor, Tania Tapsell.

Congratulations in order

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern congratulated those elected today, saying: “The government works closely with local government, and as we move forward with our economic recovery we’ll keep doing that, especially as we both face the long-term challenges of needing to grow our housing stock, keep investing in transport, public transport and our ageing water infrastructure.

“And as the challenges of climate change and the severe weather events it brings continue, we need to join forces to reduce its impact, prepare and recover.”  

National Leader Christopher Luxon did the same: “I would like to congratulate all our new and re-elected mayors and councillors and I look forward to meeting as many of them as possible in the coming months.

"National will work with local government to build more liveable cities and regions and support them to tackle issues like infrastructure, housing and water."

Successful candidates are being announced for more than 70 local authorities across New Zealand this weekend. Voting closed midday Saturday and the results of tighter contests could still change between Saturday and when preliminary results are declared in the coming days.

NBR Staff Sat, 08 Oct 2022
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New mayors for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch