Welsh lord mayor moves to Auck­land

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY FITZGER­ALD

A former Welsh mayor has moved to New Zealand and is want­ing to get in­volved in pol­i­tics.

Cardiff city coun­cil­lor and former lord mayor Mar­garet Jones moved from Wales to Auck­land in Fe­bru­ary.

Dur­ing her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer she rubbed shoul­ders with Barack Obama, Queen El­iz­a­beth, mem­bers of the Bri­tish royal fam­ily, and An­gela Merkel.

Now, liv­ing in Free­mans Bay, she rubs shoul­ders with her three grand­daugh­ters most days, who live around the cor­ner from her and hus­band Lawrence Jones’ new home.

‘‘In our 70s it is quite daunt­ing let­ting go of your old life, and com­ing here for a new life but we have done it.

I want to get on now and make a dif­fer­ence here in Auck­land,’’ Jones said.

Af­ter a busy and chal­leng­ing ca­reer, in­clud­ing be­ing Cardiff lord mayor for two years and a coun­cil­lor for more than 10 years, Jones wanted to take time to set­tle into Auck­land be­fore tak­ing on her next ca­reer chal­lenge.

Jones said she had loved be­ing en­gaged in lo­cal body pol­i­tics and while she was not af­ter the Auck­land may­oral po­si­tion just yet, she did want to get po­lit­i­cally ac­tive again.

‘‘It’s been busy get­ting set­tled here but I feel ready to start some­thing now - prob­a­bly board di­rec­tor type work, in a vol­un­teer ca­pac­ity for a while,’’ she said.

Re­flect­ing on her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer Jones said meet­ing with Obama and Merkel at the NATO Sum­mit in 2014 in Cardiff was a def­i­nite high­light.

‘‘Obama was the star of the show,’’ Jones said.

‘‘Also as lord mayor I had to chair the coun­cil meet­ings, and that’s a task man­ag­ing over 70 coun­cil­lors all want­ing to talk at once,’’ she said.

Jones re­tired early from a nurs­ing and health man­age­ment ca­reer, be­fore en­ter­ing pol­i­tics.

With an MBA in hu­man re­sources, she pro­gressed quickly through lo­cal body po­lit­i­cal ranks cul­mi­nat­ing in the lord mayor of Cardiff role in 2014.

Jones was the 113th lord mayor in Cardiff and the 11th or 12th women to hold the po­si­tion.

Dur­ing her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer she man­aged the coun­cil’s health board and later moved into lead­ing the en­vi­ron­ment port­fo­lio.

‘‘Re­cy­cling fas­ci­nated me and there are great op­por­tu­ni­ties here for do­mes­tic re­cy­cling,’’ she said.

MARY FITZGER­ALD/FAIR­FAX NZ

Mar­garet Jones says one of the first items she un­packed af­ter ar­riv­ing in Auck­land was her may­oral por­trait.

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