New mayors of Wellington, Dunedin on infrastructure projects, three waters reform

1:10 pm on 10 October 2022
Tory Whanau and Jules Radich

Tory Whanau and Jules Radich Photo: RNZ, Supplied

The new mayors of Wellington and Dunedin, Tory Whanau and Jules Radich say they are ready to hit the ground running to solve their respective cities' issues.

Wellington's new mayor Tory Whanau says the city is in for a "disruptive" few years.

She told Morning Report she wanted to "accelerate" projects in the capital.

Pipes, housing and public transport were all "key issues".

Over the next few years, she said there would be more digging in the city for pipes to be fixed, more homes and new bus lanes.

As a result, Whanau said Wellingtonians would soon start seeing road cones around the city - but that it will be "a good thing".

She said the disruption was something she was honest about when she campaigned on the issues prior to the election. It was for a "greater purpose" and a "better city".

  • First wāhine Māori elected to lead their cities identify major issues
  • Whanau will start in the role of mayor on Monday, where she and the other elected councillors will be starting their term in office with a breakfast and meetings to get to know each other.

    She told RNZ her priority would be "really establishing the team" and getting the new councillors "new singing from the same song sheet".

    "It does not matter what your political stripes are, we're there to serve Wellington and I look forward to treating everyone equally and making sure that Wellington gets the best outcome."


    Incoming Dunedin mayor Jules Radich won in a landslide with more than double the votes of the second-placed candidate.

    The new leader wants to be inclusive and said his win showed there was a desire for change and put it down to his "ability to listen".

    He told Morning Report after interacting with the public over the past year, he found the "biggest complaint" was people were not feeling like they were being heard.

    "We've got significant transport issues in Dunedin because we've had a bottleneck through the middle of town and so retaining the State Highway 1 is really significant.

    "We've had a redevelopment of George Street. We've just started, and people are not happy with that."

    While sea level rise was not a pressing issue for his city, he said: "We do have the threat of stormwater inundation ... we had a big flood in Dunedin in 2015 and so some infrastructure to protect against that and to prevent that happening in the future is essential so that the people who live in the area of south Dunedin feel some security in their homes."

    On the three waters reform, he said welcomed "national regulation" but said there should be "catchment administration because it doesn't make sense to me to lump ... almost the whole South Island together".

    "We should just dismiss the question of ownership altogether so that the infrastructure that's put in the ground belongs to communities above it."


    Ben Bell, 23, has a narrow 13-vote lead over long-time Gore District mayor Tracy Hicks in preliminary results.

    But with 67 special votes still to be counted, results won't be finalised until Thursday.

    Ben Bell, Gore

    Ben Bell. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

    Bell, a software developer by trade, would reportedly be the youngest mayor elected in New Zealand history if the win is confirmed.

    He told Morning Report he would be gutted if he did not win. "I'm rapt that I was 11 behind and now I'm 13 ahead."

    Bell said he would stop all the "nice to have" projects like the new library which was becoming expensive, and the community was questioning the spending.

    He would instead spend the money on rural road infrastructure, and recycling in the city.

    - with additional reporting by Krystal Gibbens

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