Morrison throws hat in ring for mayor

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2013
John Morrison
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
IN THE RUNNING: Veteran Wellington councillor and former New Zealand cricketer John Morrison is running for mayor.
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Wellington's mayoral race has just moved up a notch, with veteran councillor and former New Zealand cricketer John Morrison declaring his candidacy.

"Mystery" Morrison, who has been a Western ward councillor since 1998, plans to put the heat on Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, with a focus on the economy and job creation from the Centre-Right.

Wellington had been "stagnant" for the past three years and it was time for key matters such as regional governance and the Wellington Airport expansion to be resolved, he said.

"The city and the council need good leadership and some decisiveness and some action. We're the centre of the region, so we should be leading the pack, not following."

Environmental concerns should have been part of council processes, but instead had become main strategies or policies and were debated endlessly, he said.

"It's not just the domain of the Greens, it's the domain of everybody. The area we need to focus on is jobs and opportunities and energising people."

Decisions on the airport expansion and the Basin Reserve flyover had languished when they could be massive job creators.

If amalgamation reforms meant he lasted only one term, that would be enough, he said.

"We just need to be making headway."

He conceded his sporting past gave him some solid name recognition, but he hoped his council track record would speak for itself.

It was not likely he would run for a ward position again, meaning his stab at the mayoralty could be his final performance.

However, he was confident he had strong support around the council table and was keen to use the talent available.

"Everyone at that table has to come offering something for the city."

Ms Wade-Brown said she was looking forward to a healthy mayoral race.

"I've enjoyed working with him on many sports initiatives such as the artificial fields and sports games, which usually come with full council support.

"Of course, it's a sign of a healthy democracy to have a strong mayoral race."

Alongside Ms Wade-Brown, Mr Morrison will also face competition from businessman Jack Yan and economist Keith Johnson.

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- The Dominion Post

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