Sir Peter Jackson gave Andy Foster $30,000 for a campaign that would eventually win Wellington's mayoralty.

Electoral returns made public today show the money was given to Foster through the famous film-maker's companies- Weta Digital, Park Road Post and Portsmouth Rentals.

In a nail-biter election Foster ousted one-term Labour mayor Justin Lester with a 62-vote majority.

The money behind their bids for the city's top job tells a story of two very different campaigns.


Candidates must declare donations that exceed $1500 in value.

Foster received just shy of $60,000 worth of these donations and spent almost just as much.

About $14,000 of his campaign expenses went towards billboards alone and thousands was spent on advertising with the country's biggest media organisations, including NZME and Stuff.

Justin Lester on the other hand received just one donation reaching the threshold for declaration- $5,000 from E tū union.

His total campaign expenses amounted to just over $16,000, with the majority of the money spent on printing services.

The most mayoral candidates for Wellington City can spend on a campaign is $60,000.

Jackson confirmed he was financially backing Foster when the then councillor launched his last-minute bid at Shelly Bay.

The pair found common ground in their opposition to the way a proposed housing development at the bay had been handled.


Speaking after the launch Jackson said he wasn't a political person.

"I don't know whether Andy's left, right, or going around in circles. I'm just supporting him because he seems to have moral integrity."

After Foster's win Jackson and his partner Dame Fran Walsh said in a statement they congratulated him and all new and incumbent Wellington City councillors on their election victories.

"Along with the thousands of Wellingtonians who voted them into office we share in their aims of bringing greater transparency and accountability to local government.

"We wish them well in finding real solutions to the urgent issues facing our city."