Sir Michael Fowler has thrown his weight behind newcomer Jack Yan's bid for Wellington city's top job.
Sir Michael, Wellington's mayor between 1974 and 1983, said he believed Mr Yan would deliver a change the city needed.
A Dominion Post-commissioned survey shows Mr Yan significantly trailing two of his main rivals, with 8 per cent of respondents indicating they would vote for him.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast was ahead on 33 per cent, with councillors Celia Wade-Brown and Bryan Pepperell on 25 and 8 per cent. Polls close on Saturday.
Sir Michael said he was most impressed with Mr Yan "as an intelligent man with a very defined and good programme".
Mr Yan said he was delighted to have Sir Michael's support.
Sir Michael also delivered a stinging criticism of the current council, saying there were "15 different agendas" and the council was not getting anything done.
"I cannot recall in all my years on the council or subsequently, a worse council than this last one. Quite frankly, it's an indictment on local government."
He reserved his most strident criticism for Ms Prendergast. "This present mayor, after three rather lacklustre terms, is seeking a fourth, with a total inability to get people to work together.
"She's responsible for a lot of the bad behaviour on the council because she doesn't control it."
Wellington was suffering through "idiotic" decisions such as the one to build an indoor sports centre at Cobham Park, near the airport, rather than somewhere nearer the railway station, where it was easier for out-of-town people to get to.
Ms Prendergast dismissed the criticism, saying councils had evolved since Sir Michael's reign.
Most voters had already made up their minds, she said. Former mayor Mark Blumsky supported her. "Previous mayors can endorse whomever they like."
- The Dominion Post
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