Money isn't everything, and Sir Peter Jackson's financial backing of Wellington's new mayor only went so far to get him across the finish line.

Wellington's mayoral race was shaping up to be rather quiet until Andy Foster made an 11th hour bid for the city's top job.

It was third time lucky for the councillor of 27 years who has unsuccessfully tried two times before to secure the mayoralty.


But this time was different, he had a famous filmmaker alongside him.

Jackson's money and profile turned heads.

As local government commentator Dr Andy Asquith points out, that translates into publicity.

"As soon as you link with someone like that then that gets extra column inches in the newspapers, extra mentions on radio, and that attracts attention."

Foster himself says if he didn't have the support of Jackson he probably wouldn't have been successful.

"You do need some serious resource to be able to take on an incumbent who has all the resources of a political party behind them as well."

Jackson certainly put Foster on the map but he didn't get him across the line.

In fact, after the filmmaker's brief appearance at the campaign launch, Foster had difficulty getting in contact with him.


The murmurs of discontent about Wellington's lack of progress and a feeling it wasn't firing on all four cylinders were underestimated by many.

Former Porirua mayor and 2016 Wellington mayoral candidate Nick Leggett points to this discontent being the main driver for the city's cliffhanger election.

"This result was almost a pent-up nine year frustration all coming out at once and Justin was, from his perspective, the unfortunate scapegoat."

At the end of the day Wellington's mayoral campaign came down to one question, was Foster a credible alternative for those who'd had enough of Lester?

The numbers show he was.