Failed Wellington mayoral candidate Paul Eagle says 'everyone voted on party lines'

6:43 am on 9 October 2022
Wellington mayoral candidates Tory Whanau, Andy Foster and Paul Eagle.

Paul Eagle (right) was a leading mayoral candidate in Wellington, but he came in fourth behind incumbent mayor Tory Whanau (left), sitting mayor Andy Foster (centre) and Ray Chung (not pictured). Photo: RNZ / Supplied

Unsuccessful Wellington mayoral candidate Paul Eagle says his centrist campaign foundered because votes split along party lines, while the outgoing mayor leaves after 30 years at the council table.

Green Party affiliated Tory Whanau won the chains easily, with preliminary results putting her 16,000 votes ahead of nearest rival the sitting mayor Andy Foster, and far ahead of Eagle in fourth who got 10,000 votes.

First time contender Ray Chung clinched a healthy third place, and was elected to the Wharangi/Onslow-Western ward.

Eagle concedes he had the wrong strategy.

Despite his Labour affiliation he ran as an independent and said he tried to position himself in the political centre bringing both sides together.

"It's really funny I heard lots through the campaign 'we need to get rid of the party politics in local government'.

"What the results show me is everyone voted on party lines. You had red and green people voting a clear left, and blue people voting a clear right."

Eagle said Wellington has spoken but he remained the MP for Rongotai.

He said he would not stand down, and had not made any decisions about his future yet.

"We've got [Parliament] recess at the moment, and I've talked to the prime minister and deputy prime minister and I'll, look when I get back to Parliament that will give me a good week to think about things."

He would talk to the party, his family and supporters before deciding if he would run again for the seat, he said.

See local body election results in other regions

Foster bows out after 30 years in local politics

Wellington's former mayor Andy Foster leaves local politics after three decades at the city council.

Foster said he loved his time on council, and had to deal with a number of significant challenges as mayor including ageing pipe infrastructure, the Covid pandemic, and the Parliament protests.

He said he was proud with the council response that saw the city come out the other side in good shape.

Wellington had transformed from a grey public service city to one that had been recognised as one of the best places to live during his time at the council, Foster said.

"I am particularly proud of the transformation of our natural environment.

"We've gone from an environmental desert to the 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'm proud to have led on the early development of cycleways, on the bikes in schools programme and all our bus priority works to date.

"Most important of all I want to thank my wife Ann and our children Brendon and Ella. They have given up so much over so many years.

"Only political families know the toll that politics takes. I look forward to spending more time together."

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster

Outgoing mayor Andy Foster said during his time in council Wellington had transformed from a grey public service city to one that had been recognised as one of the best places to live. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

'The future is bright ... and I know you feel it too'

Wellington's new mayor Tory Whanau has laid out a progressive vision for the city.

Whanau told about 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 will be able to attract from all over, backed up by our awesome public transport system.

"Our walkable streets, our vibrant laneways, and of course where the living wage is the norm.

"The future is bright, I feel it and I know you feel it too."

New Wellington mayor Tory Whanau speaks after winning the mayoral race.

New Wellington mayor Tory Whanau speaks after winning the mayoral race (file picture). Photo: RNZ / Hamish Cardwell

New councillors but left bloc likely controls new council

There are several new faces at the Wellington City Council table, but preliminary results show it appears to have retained its broadly left-wing majority.

Takapū/Northern Ward has three first time councillors: Ben McNulty who is affiliated with the Labour Party, Tony Randle an independent, and John Apanowicz who owns a financial consultancy.

In the Wharangi/Onslow-Western ward, new independent Ray Chung 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 Māori ward seat - both Labour candidates.

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