New Wellington mayor Justin Lester thanks his 'amazing' mum

By Melissa Nightingale

Justin Lester was teary-eyed during his victory speech this evening as he thanked his mother.

"Mum, you're amazing. Thank you. You have been a big part of this campaign - even though you didn't ask to be a part of it necessarily."

Lester took long pauses as he gathered himself to continue with his speech.

"I couldn't have been here without you . . . thank you for everything."

Lester also thanked his family, apologising for not being home for dinner many nights or to read books to his two daughters, but promised to be there more from now on.

When Lester first entered the Wharewaka Function Centre this evening he was greeted with thunderous applause and supporters chanting his name.

He told those gathered he had two speeches to choose from - one in a blue folder and one in a red folder.

"Fortunately due to all of you . . . I get to read the one in the red folder."

Lester said he loved Wellington and wanted to make the city "even better".

"This hasn't happened by good luck, it's happened by sheer hard work."

He said he and his volunteers had contacted 60,000 homes in the Wellington area as part of the campaign. "That's what's help get us across the line."

He wanted to "honour" mayoral contenders Nick Leggett, Jo Coughlan, and Helene Ritchie, all of whom would not have a place on the council.

He wanted to prove he was "the right choice for mayor" but said his supporters "hopefully won't hear too much" from him over the next few years, but rather see the results "with a stronger, more confident Wellington".

"So what are my priorities for the next three years? Well, we're going to have a bit of fun tonight, firstly."

Lester wanted to support businesses, provide rates rebates for first home builders, provide free swimming for children under five, freeze public transport costs, and establish the country's first wet house.

"I'm damn sure I'm going to keep these promises and deliver on my word . . . but that's all work for tomorrow.

"Tonight proves it doesn't matter how where you come from, it doesn't matter how much money you've got in the bank, it doesn't matter if you have two parents or just one, it matters if you work hard, you stick to your values, and achieve great things."

- NZ Herald

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