COMMENT: By Georgina Campbell
Andy Foster has been a Wellington City councillor for longer than I've been alive.
His latest bid for the capital's mayoralty is his third attempt at the top job, but this time is different.
He has Sir Peter Jackson bankrolling him.
It puts the Shelly Bay saga firmly on the agenda for this year's local body elections.
The plan to build about 300 homes, a boutique hotel and a large village green at Shelly Bay has been bogged down in legal action for years now.
It's not surprising Jackson has chosen to so publicly back Foster for mayor.
Both have been vocal this year in their criticism of the proposed development at Shelly Bay, with Jackson entering a well-aired keyboard battle with developers and Wellington City Council.
Having the film-maker's backing will certainly get Foster the headlines he may have missed out on in days gone by when he was a small fish against the likes of Nick Leggett and Justin Lester.
Foster has been careful to make clear Jackson is not the only person giving him money and rejected claims he's running a one-issue campaign.
But he still chose to announce his mayoral bid at Shelly Bay, where he opened his speech doubling down on his criticism of Shelly Bay, and used Shelly Bay as an example of why things at Wellington City Council aren't working.
To be fair, Foster does have plenty of other policies, he's got 27 years of experience on council behind him, after all.
He wants to restore free parking on Sunday, shake up councillor portfolios, deliver bus priority, and look to fix and modernise the closed central library.
But when you roll out Jackson alongside the Chocolate Fish Cafe and pose for a group photo behind a banner reading "Save Shelly Bay!", it's easy to get the impression the controversial development will be front and centre of Foster's campaign.
When I asked Jackson at Friday's announcement how much money his companies were giving to Foster he said he didn't know.
There's not a lot of information about other money that has gone into the battle for Shelly Bay either.
Earlier this year the Herald revealed at least a quarter of a million dollars was given to a group that's launched two legal challenges over the proposed development.
But no one at the time seemed to know where a lot of that money came from, including the chair of the group known as Enterprise Miramar Peninsula Incorporated.
Jackson also said on Friday he wasn't a political person and didn't know whether Foster was "left, right, or going around in circles".
Foster will run as an independent for both the mayoralty and in his home ward.
In 2017 he had a crack at the general election when he was selected as New Zealand First's candidate to contest the Wellington Central seat.
He was placed 18th on the party list, but unsuccessful, he continued on in the safety of the Onslow-Western Ward.
Some have criticised Foster's lengthily stay at the council table and say he should make way for fresh blood.
But it's the experience of being a councillor for more than two decades that will give Foster a one up in Wellington's mayoral race.
He's a stickler for detail, loves numbers, and knows standing orders inside out.
He'll have an answer to every question.