Dy­namic duo promised

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AMY JACK­MAN

Wellington’s new deputy mayor is talk­ing big and promis­ing new ini­tia­tives for the city be­fore Christ­mas.

North­ern ward coun­cil­lor Justin Lester, 34, was se­lected by mayor Celia Wade- Brown and sworn in as deputy at the end of last month. He is the city’s youngest coun­cil­lor this term.

He said that he and WadeBrown com­ple­mented each other and that change was com­ing.

‘‘I’m more around get­ting things done and mon­i­tor­ing and she is high- level strat­egy and ideas. ‘‘You need both,’’ he said.

‘‘ We’re go­ing to make some an­nounce­ments around eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives and some op­por­tu­ni­ties that will help rein­vig­o­rate the econ­omy.

‘‘I can’t say what they are just yet, but they will be an­nounced be­fore the end of the year.

‘‘There’s also a sig­nif­i­cant project that we are hop­ing to an­nounce be­fore Christ­mas.

‘‘It’s 90 per cent of the way there. Watch this space.’’

Mr Lester, who is also the gov­er­nance, fi­nance and plan­ning com­mit­tee chair­man, said his role was to unify coun­cil­lors and of­fi­cials.

‘‘I want to fo­cus on bring­ing the of­fi­cials and coun­cil­lors to­gether so we have the same pri­or­i­ties. Then we can fo­cus on de­liv­ery,’’ he said.

‘‘Wellington des­per­ately needs that right now. We need to get things done, tan­gi­ble things. Peo­ple want to see things hap­pen­ing. We have to in­vest in Wellington to make peo­ple con­fi­dent about liv­ing here.

‘‘There’s a per­cep­tion that we have fallen be­hind the rest of the coun­try.’’

Mr Lester was the high­est rank­ing North­ern ward can­di­date this year. He co-owns the Ka Pai food chain and has a mas­ters de­gree in law. He lives in John­sonville with his wife and two daugh­ters.

‘‘I now have more di­rect in­put into city strat­egy and there­fore can high­light the ben­e­fits for North­ern ward,’’ Mr Lester said.

The re­sponse to his ap­point­ment had been huge and be­ing the youngest was not a bad thing, he said.

‘‘I re­ceived hun­dreds of texts and emails from peo­ple. I spent most of my first three days in the job re­ply­ing and say­ing thank you,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t think age should be a fac­tor. I’ve done things that peo­ple around the ta­ble have never done and vice versa.’’

Photo: FAIR­FAX NZ

Sec­ond in charge: Wellington’s new deputy mayor is

North­ern ward coun­cil­lor Justin Lester.

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