Justin Lester

Mayor of Wellington


Justin Lester was elected Mayor of Wellington in 2016 after two terms as a councillor. He has championed making Wellington a more resilient city, creating the world’s first predator-free capital, kick-starting the economy, making housing affordable, improving Wellington’s transport, prioritising arts funding and championing the Living Wage.

In his mid-twenties, Justin co-founded Wellington food enterprise Kapai. He formerly worked for international commercial property firm Jones Lang LaSalle. He has served on the boards of Wellington SPCA, Wellington Waterfront Ltd, Capital Football, Johnsonville Charitable Trust, Johnsonville Property Trust and as a Guardian at Zealandia. He and his wife Liz have two young daughters and live in Johnsonville. They chose to live in Wellington because of its cosmopolitan make-up, liveability and because nature is accessible. Justin says everyone in Wellington wants the city to thrive: to be a place with lots of jobs, plenty of events and a strong cultural scene. The city also needs to be fair, and provide quality local services. He is proud the Council he has led has not shied away from making difficult decisions. The Kaikōura earthquake forced some Wellington buildings to be demolished and raised questions about others.

However, the Town Hall strengthening work is now forging ahead, the Basin Reserve’s Museum Stand is being refurbished and work will start later this year on the Convention and Exhibition Centre. To improve resilience, Council is constructing the Omāroro water reservoir in Mt Cook. It will hold 35 million litres of water, double current water storage capacity and which will provide a crucial lifeline for Wellington Regional Hospital. Millions of dollars is being spent ensuring infrastructure can cope with growth and climate change. To help the city’s homeless, the Council is partnering with Government to build and provide supported living accommodation. The Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme will also transform how people move about the city.