Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Super-capital next step

Celia Wade-Brown's re-election will be a boost to advocates of a single super-city for the Wellington region. Photo / SNPA
Celia Wade-Brown's re-election will be a boost to advocates of a single super-city for the Wellington region. Photo / SNPA

Wellington's re-elected mayor wants to push ahead with a merger of local councils but won't say whether she would run as mayor of the supercity.

In a nail-biting finish, left-leaning independent Celia Wade-Brown retained the mayoralty by 2284 votes over former councillor and test cricketer John Morrison, gaining 26,854 votes to Morrison's 24,570.

Both candidates had been hoping for a clear win rather than the tight result of the 2010 election, when Wade-Brown had to wait a week for special votes to confirm her victory.

The cycling mayor, who has made transport a core plank of her campaigns, is joined by three other Green councillors - making Wellington the greenest council in the county.

As well as Wade-Brown who, although independent, is linked to the party, Green councillors include incumbent Iona Pannett and newcomers David Lee and Sarah Free.

Two Green candidates, Paul Bruce and Sue Kedgley, were elected to the Wellington Regional Council.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the result was a "Green sweep" in which every Green candidate who stood for the city and regional councils was elected.

A jubilant Wade-Brown told supporters she had been given a clear mandate, and it was good to know the result on the day.

Her victory will be of comfort to supercity advocates, led by Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde, who want to amalgamate Wellington with Porirua, Hutt City, Upper Hutt and Kapiti Coast.

Wade-Brown supports a single-tier urban super council, without Wairarapa, with an elected mayor and 29 councillors elected to wards.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett, who was elected yesterday for a second term, also backs a super council, but he supports the two-tier council proposal favoured by Wilde, who was also re-elected.

This would include Wairarapa and an elected mayor, 21 ward councillors and eight local boards with up to nine members each.

- Herald on Sunday

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