3 Dec 2015

Wellington deputy mayor to compete for top job

8:10 am on 3 December 2015

Wellington deputy mayor Justin Lester has announced he will vie for the top job in next year's local elections.

Justin Lester

Justin Lester Photo: Wellington City Council

Mr Lester has been selected as Labour's candidate for the mayoralty, which is currently held by Celia Wade- Brown.

Mr Lester is a councillor, has been deputy mayor for the last two years and a Wellington City councillor since 2010. He said he wanted to show the capital was far from 'dead', a reference to a comment John Key made in 2013 that Wellington was a 'dying city'.

"I want to show Wellington's alive and kicking... I want to show that to all of New Zealand and to all of Wellingtonians to give them a good sense of confidence and perhaps some renewed swagger."

He would be focused on the immediate future.

"We've got another 10 months of this current council... so I'll also be working hard together with Celia [Wade-Brown] to make sure we can achieve as much as possible...but Celia can't do the job forever and democracy is all about having a contest.

"We've talked about this for a long time and I think it's a good opportunity. You should go up or out.

"I don't want to be here forever on council, but I think I could contribute positively to Wellington because I want to make Wellington a great place to live and I want to attract people to this city and that's how I came to live here."

Mr Lester said 10 years of experience running his own business and background in international trade and public policy gave him the right credentials for the job of mayor. He said Labour would run a team of up to five councillors, including Paul Eagle from Southern Ward and Peter Gilbert in the Northern Ward.