8 Oct 2016

Wellington: Lester to replace Wade-Brown

7:18 pm on 8 October 2016

Justin Lester has been elected Wellington's new mayor, pledging to hold a summit within six weeks to decide on a "united plan" for the capital.

Mr Lester replaces Celia Wade-Brown, who did not seek a third term.

He comfortably beat his nearest rivals, Nick Leggett and Jo Coughlan.

Follow RNZ's live coverage of the local body elections

Progress results showed Mr Lester won by more than 6000 votes.

There were 4500 regular votes left to count but they were not expected to change the result.

New Wellington mayor Justin Lester, who ran on a Labour Party ticket, is greeted at his victory party by Labour leader Andrew Little.

Mr Lester, who ran on a Labour Party ticket, is greeted at his victory party by Labour leader Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In a statement following his victory, Mr Lester said he was "truly honoured and humbled that Wellingtonians have put their faith in me".

His first priority was to "re-set" the relationship between the council and central government.

"My first official phone calls will be made to the Beehive to rebuild those relationships."

Growth and progress did not happen by chance, Mr Lester said.

"You need a united plan. That is why I intend to hold a post-election summit within the next six weeks to build consensus around a plan to grow Wellington."

Everyone would get to have say, through an online 'Share an Idea' initiative where all Wellingtonians could provide suggestions, he said.

Mr Lester also reiterated his first-term mayoral priorities, including giving rates rebates to first home builders, making Wellington pest-free, and establishing the country's first wet house for people with alcohol addictions.

Voter turnout in Wellington was 42 percent, slightly up from the previous two elections, Wellington returning officer Clare Sullivan said.

On Thursday, the turnout stood at just 28 percent, the lowest at that point in many years.

However, there had been a "major last-minute surge" of voters in the past few days, Ms Sullivan said.

"We had people running in the doors this morning - it was good to see people making the effort."

Councillors so far elected included: Malcolm Sparrow, Jill Day and Peter Gilberd for the Northern ward; Andy Foster, Simon Woolf and Diane Calvert for the Onslow-Western ward; Iona Pannett, Nicola Young and Brian Dawson for the Lambton ward; Paul Eagle and David Lee for the Southern ward; and Sarah Free, Simon Marsh and Chris Calvi-Freeman for the Eastern ward.