10 Apr 2016

Leggett to run for capital mayoralty

10:03 am on 10 April 2016

Nick Leggett has announced his candidacy for the Wellington mayoralty, saying the city is stalled and needs new leadership.

Current Porirua mayor Nick Leggett has launched a campaign to run for mayor in Wellington.

Current Porirua mayor Nick Leggett has launched a campaign to run for mayor in Wellington. Photo: Supplied

Mr Leggett's announcement brings the candidate count to six - including the current mayor and three councillors.

Nick Leggett, who's the current mayor of Porirua, says he has the skills to bring people together, and to develop a 50-year vision for the capital the community can buy into.

"It's about deciding what Wellington wants to be over the next 50 years," he said.

"Wellington city spends a lot of money - the council's involved in a lot of activities - but I don't get a sense Wellingtonians know where they're headed and what it's all about."

He said that meant a city that could move about easily, with a transport plan.

"It's great to look at extending the runway, but people have actually got to get there."

Among the more fundamental changes Mr Leggett would like to see more of the council's power devolved to communities.

He cites the Island Bay cycleway furore as an example of the council's "top-down, heavy handed" approach to decision making.

He said the council's aspirations for the city had diverged from the community's aspirations.

"The community have kind of been the victims of that," he said.

"If the community had been involved in the planning and deciding actually what they wanted to see, and the project management and the delivery, I think you would have seen a far more successful community amenity that people would have been happy with."

He said he had concerns about the resilience of the city's infrastructure and would be taking a close "look under the bonnet".

He also criticised the $9 million Wellington Economic Initiatives Development fund, which is governed by the mayor, two councillors and the chief executive.

"You've got this big structure [in] the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency," he said. "It costs a lot of money to run with people working in economic development."

"But then on the other side you've got this $9 million slush fund, which Wellington City Councillors decide who that goes to. They pick the winners.

"I think if you're going to say 'we've got experts in economic development to grow Wellington', you actually should arm them with some of the resources to invest in areas that, as experts, they think will help Wellington grow."

In terms of what would change under his leadership, he said his first step would be to develop a vision the whole city wanted.

The council could then prioritise what it needed to do to achieve that vision.

While he supported a merger between Wellington and Porirua, he said it would only be with both cities voting on the proposal.

Mr Leggett said he had resigned from the Labour Party because of the party's prohibition against standing in elections with endorsed candidates, and would stand as an independent.

He said party politics could be a destructive force in local government.