A Wellington City councillor has opened up about feeling "betrayed" and "shafted" by the Green Party going into this year's local body elections.

David Lee is one of only two city councillors not seeking re-election. Eastern Ward councillor Simon Marsh is also hanging up the boots.

Lee has represented the Southern Ward on the Green Party ticket for his two terms on council.

In the 2017 general election he ran for the Greens in Ilam.


It was a seat Lee never had a true chance of winning with Gerry Brownlee hanging on to it since 1996 and Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji going after it.

But he did it to increase the party vote and help get more list MPs over the line, he said.

So Lee felt confident when he shifted his sights from the city council to a bid for a seat at the Greater Wellington Regional Council this year that the Greens would back him.

But he lost out on that endorsement to Thomas Nash who's pushing for green infrastructure bonds.

Lee said he was shocked.

"I felt quite betrayed because I committed a lot of time, energy and money to the party.

"There was a feeling that a 'greener person' was a better candidate, but I was very disappointed at being shafted by my own party."

A Green Party spokeswoman said she was sorry Lee felt that way but there was one spot and two candidates, who members voted on in the usual process.


Lee said politics was the art of compromise and felt the Green philosophy was "zero compromise".

"It's better to get a few wins for the greater good rather than to die in a ditch over very ideological issues.

"Roads aren't a necessary evil nor are cars, I'm actually quite supportive of a second tunnel through Mt Victoria because it's not just for cars it's actually about the improvement of public transport and especially walking and cycling."

Public transport was the biggest issue for Greater Wellington Regional Council going forward, Lee said.

He wanted to investigate a similar model to Auckland Transport to manage it.

"Where one entity is responsible for the funding, operation and delivery of transport because what we've got is a case here now of Greater Wellington Regional Council, the city council and NZTA all in a blame game over the buses."

Meanwhile Marsh, or "Swampy" as many know him by, is leaving the city council to contest a seat on the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

"Nine years is long enough, the role of councillor should not be a job for life. This city deserves a continual refresh of ideas and faces from within council, it's time for a change."

The city was conscious of the risks facing it in the future and remained strong despite the ongoing effects of the Kaikoura earthquake, he said.

"The biggest danger for this city is in small groups with a loud voice opposing change. Wellington has become one of the most liveable cities by embracing change."

Marsh said he was considering other governance roles and would continue with his media advertising interests.