New Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and councillors officially sworn into office

Former Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown passes the city's mayoral chains to its new leader, Justin Lester, at the ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Former Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown passes the city's mayoral chains to its new leader, Justin Lester, at the council's inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. Crispian Franklin, the council's governance team leader, helps place the mayoral chains on Lester's shoulders.

The capital's mayoral chains now rest on a new set of shoulders.

Justin Lester, 37, was officially sworn in as Wellington mayor on Wednesday night, along with his new crop of councillors.

Well, almost all of them.

Wellington's new mayor Justin Lester says he is looking forward to getting on with the job now that the mayoral chains ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington's new mayor Justin Lester says he is looking forward to getting on with the job now that the mayoral chains rest on his shoulders.

Technically, the new Wellington City Council won't be complete until southern ward councillor-elect David Lee – who missed the inauguration ceremony – takes the oath of office at the next council meeting on November 9.

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Apart from that, all the pomp and ceremony in front of a few hundred people at the Michael Fowler Centre went off without a hitch.

Wellington's new deputy mayor Paul Eagle signs a formal declaration at the council's inauguration ceremony, as new mayor ...
KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Wellington's new deputy mayor Paul Eagle signs a formal declaration at the council's inauguration ceremony, as new mayor Justin Lester looks on.

Former mayor Celia Wade-Brown placed the mayoral chains on Lester's shoulders, and the elected councillors all pledged their allegiance to the capital without fault, including new faces Diane Calvert, Chris Calvi-Freeman, Brian Dawson, Jill Day and Peter Gilberd.

In his inauguration speech, Lester described his councillors as "passionate and committed team" and said it was time for time to deliver on the "positive, active leadership" that Wellingtonians wanted.

"I'm extremely optimistic about what we can achieve together as a council. We've got a great team with a mix of experience and new talent."

Newly-elected Wellington city councillor Diane Calvert takes the oath of office.
KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Newly-elected Wellington city councillor Diane Calvert takes the oath of office.

The council's mission over the next three years would be to get the most out of Wellington's promise, he said.

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"So I'm going to start today as I mean to carry on – to talk less and to do more."

Lester's three main priorities as mayor would be to boost the economy, create jobs and help lift incomes.

Violinist Elena entertains the crowd at Wellington City Council's inauguration ceremony at the Michael Fowler Centre
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Violinist Elena entertains the crowd at Wellington City Council's inauguration ceremony at the Michael Fowler Centre

He also promised to deliver the largest programme of economic investment Wellington had seen "in a generation".

"We're going to build a film museum and a convention centre, we're going to back our local businesses by ditching outdated bylaws," he said.

"We'll introduce a one-stop shop for consents so that if you've got a great idea, it's easier than ever to turn it into a thriving business."

Lester also promised to "finish the job" by increasing the council's living wage to $19.80 per hour, to invest in housing, and to introduce the country's first "wet house" for homeless alcoholics and drug addicts.

"Wellington, it's my greatest honour to have been elected your mayor, and I'm going to spend every day trying to live up to that expectation and to lead a council that works with you to make the city even better."

 - Stuff

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