17 Dec 2019

Sir Peter Jackson behind $30,000 for Wellington mayor's campaign

10:37 am on 17 December 2019

Companies linked to filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson donated $30,000 to the election campaign of Wellington mayor Andy Foster, electoral returns show.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster

Wellington mayor Andy Foster supports plans for a movie museum proposed by Sir Peter Jackson, whose companies donated $30,000 to his election campaign. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Foster, who won the October election by the slimmest of margins, and Sir Peter both opposed the controversial Shelley Bay housing development, and Foster said he was also enthusiastic about a new movie museum proposed by Sir Peter.

Wellington City Council electoral returns show three companies linked to Sir Peter made separate donations to Foster's campaign. Wētā Digital donated $15,000, Park Road Post Production donated $10,000 and Portsmouth Rentals gave $5000.

Foster told Morning Report he had "no idea" why the donations had been split between the different companies. To suggest it was an attempt to hide the total amount donated was "cynical", he said.

During the campaign, Foster refused to say how much Sir Peter was contributing to his campaign, though he acknowledged it was a substantial amount.

Peter Jackson

Companies linked to Sir Peter Jackson donated $30,000 to Andy Foster's campaign to become Wellington mayor. Photo: AFP

In September, leaked emails showed Wētā Digital staff in Wellington were concerned about being asked to support Foster's campaign launch.

After receiving an all-staff email, some employees questioned the ethics of the company suggesting staff support Foster's campaign launch.

Foster said he thought attendance at the launch would have been voluntary.

Foster said the relationship between the last council and Sir Peter had broken down. That led to plans for a $134 million combined movie museum and convention centre being put on hold in 2015.

There was now a reasonable chance the museum would be built, Foster said.

"They all know my enthusiasm for doing this. I would love to see it happen," he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs