Former Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is contesting the Mana electorate for New Zealand First, despite denying just two weeks ago that he was running for the party.
Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that Foster was again trying to get into Parliament. He was New Zealand First’s candidate for Wellington Central in 2017.
The incorrect rumour circulating was that he was standing for the party in Remutaka, which is Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ electorate.
Foster denied this two weeks ago when asked by NZME. When pressed on whether he could rule out running for Parliament or New Zealand First, he said it wasn’t true.
But he today denied confirming he was not running for Parliament, and said he had only told NZME and other media he was not running for Remutaka.
He said at that point he had not yet made a decision on whether to run.
Today, party leader Winston Peters confirmed the bid in Mana and said Foster has an exceptional resume.
“Andy is one of New Zealand’s most experienced local government politicians, serving our Capital City for many years as a councillor and then as mayor. He also has served on many boards and trusts, including the world-leading Zealandia. Before this, he had a background in investment finance, taught economics and was a parliamentary researcher.”
Foster said he agreed to stand because he thought New Zealanders deserved a lot better from the Government.
He told NZME he felt most New Zealanders “think we’re going in the wrong direction”.
“Clearly there’s a desire for change, but also there’s concern that that change can go too far.”
He said New Zealand First was a good party to moderate that change.
Foster said he had dealings with many different parties over the years, including working for the National Party years ago, “but I am really, at heart, a centrist”.
He said New Zealand was essentially “borrowing our living standards off other people”, and that the government needed to be “more effective, more efficient, and have our economy delivering better.
“On almost every important measure, our country has gone backwards - in health, education, law and order, economic performance, and productivity. We are all struggling with the cost of living, and we’ve become a lot more divided. Like most New Zealanders, I believe we are going in the wrong direction. We need a change, a reset, and a new beginning.
“I’d love to be part of solving those on behalf of New Zealanders.”
Foster won Wellington’s mayoralty in 2019 after a donation for his campaign of $30,000 through famous filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson’s companies.
He held the position for one term and exited local government after three decades when Green-endorsed Tory Whanau won the top job last year.