With the Mayor and three of his loyal Councillors dumped by voters, it is clear Wellington City voters have voted for change – even if Lester squeaks back in ahead of Foster.
It’s good to see some new blood on the Council, and I hope the Council as a whole understands this was a vote for change, and they really need to make progress on key issues, especially transport. The Lets Get Wellington Moving package is a do nothing package that angered people who see both public transport and roads as under-performing.
The provisional results are worth looking at:
- Mayor – Of the five main candidates Hill dropped out first, then Condie, then Calvert. Condie’s votes went more to Lester than Foster but Calvert’s very strongly favoured Foster. Seems like voters worked out the importance of their rankings.
- In Northern Ward Jenny Condie had more first preferences than Labour’s Peter Gilberd. John Apanowicz was close to Gilberd also. Condie ended up beating Gilberd quite easily
- With Foster provisionally being elected Mayor, he was excluded in Western Ward and Rebecca Matthews was a clear third in first perferences. New entrant Rohan Biggs was a very creditable 4th with first preferences. Matthews did well to claim the third spot with a good margin
- Lambton Ward. No surprise that Pannett and Young were elected on 1st preferences. VUWSA President Tamatha Paul had 50% more 1st preferences than incumbent Labour Councillor Brian Dawson and easily beat him
- Eastern Ward also saw an incumbent dumped. Chris Calvi-Freeman was in 4th place on 1st preferences and never recovered. As there was a vacancy in the ward, that is a huge upset. Well done to Sean Rush and Teri O’Neill for winning
- Southern Ward saw Green candidate Laurie Foon replace Green Cr David Lee so no big change
So overall a definite vote for change. If Foster holds on as Mayor, it will be interesting to see how he does. Unlike Lester he won’t be beholden to a political party, so hopefully will be a stronger advocate to Government on transport issues.
UPDATE: Foster is all but confirmed as Mayor. His majority is 503 with all ordinary votes counted and only 1,700 special votes to go. This makes Lester the first Wellington Mayor in 33 years to be defeated after one term only.