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Former mayor throws her hat in election ring

Former Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown has been announced as the Green Party’s candidate for Wairarapa in October’s general election.

The primary focus of Wade-Brown’s campaign – which is her second time running for the seat – will be boosting the Greens’ party vote, which is “the best way to say you want a government that cares about our people and our planet”, she said.

Wade-Brown has lived in the Mangatarere Valley since 2017.

Before that, she was mayor of Wellington from 2010 to 2016, after serving as a city councillor since 1994.

When it comes to transport policy, Wade-Brown said the Greens strongly support the joint bid by Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils for $800m of government funding for new trains for the Palmerston North and Masterton lines [the Masterton trains will reach the end of their service life in 2028].

Wade-Brown said she also supports expanding rail transport, including northbound train services connecting Masterton with Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay.

“Everyone would benefit from improved public transport, and trains are one of the best ways to reduce our transport carbon emissions,” she said.

Wade-Brown said she would strongly advocate for bringing agricultural and horticultural education back to Wairarapa after the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre closed in 2018.

“There are ways that we can grow and produce food that are more sustainable for our planet and still turn a profit.

“It would be great to have a place in Wairarapa where people can go to learn those techniques.”

Wade-Brown also supports the development of a Department of Conservation “Great Walk” in the Tararua Ranges, as well as ramping up pest and weed control in the park.

Historically Wairarapa has been a two-horse race between the National and the Labour candidates, but Wade-Brown said she is not concerned about splitting the left-wing vote in what could be a close election.

“Mike Butterick [National] and Kieran McAnulty [Labour] are both good candidates; they stay focussed on policy.

“I’m looking forward to being on the campaign trail with them,” she said.

Wade-Brown said the Greens will work with any party committed to serious climate action.

“The Green Party has solutions to protect our climate, restore nature, and end poverty in Aotearoa. This can only happen with more Green MPs in Parliament.

“I will be asking Wairarapa voters to give their party vote to the Greens, which will bring many of these candidates into government and give a stronger voice to the Green vision,” she said.

In the 2020 general election, McAnulty beat Butterick by 22,042 votes to 15,497; Wade Brown ranked fourth with 1,359, 3.01 per cent of the vote.

The Greens received 5.14 per cent of the party vote in Wairarapa.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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