Andy Foster

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Andy Foster
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for New Zealand First party list
Assumed office
14 October 2023
36th Mayor of Wellington
In office
19 October 2019 – 15 October 2022
DeputySarah Free
Preceded byJustin Lester
Succeeded byTory Whanau
Wellington City Councillor for Onslow-Western Ward
In office
Wellington City Councillor for Western Ward
In office
Personal details
Andrew John Whitfield Foster

(1961-12-21) 21 December 1961 (age 62)
Pembury, Kent, England
Political partyNew Zealand First (2017–present)
Other political
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington

Andrew John Whitfield Foster MP (born 21 December 1961) is a New Zealand politician. He was elected to the New Zealand House of Representatives as a list MP for the New Zealand First party in the 2023 New Zealand general election.

He was previously Mayor of Wellington from 2019 to 2022 and a Wellington City Councillor for nine terms from 1992 until 2019.

Foster has described himself as a "Bluegreen", a conservative environmentalist.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Foster was born on 21 December 1961 in Pembury, Kent, England, and moved with his family to New Zealand aged 5, originally settling in the Wellington suburbs of Ngaio and Khandallah before becoming a long-term Karori resident.[1][2] He became a naturalised New Zealand citizen in 1978.[2] Foster later studied at Victoria University of Wellington, gaining a Bachelor of Arts in history and economic history and a Bachelor of Commerce in business management.[1]

He shares two children with his wife, Ann.

Local government political career[edit]

In the late 1980s Foster became politically active and joined the National Party and worked as a parliamentary researcher for National for three years.[1] When party colleagues were looking for people to stand in local government, Foster accepted nomination and stood for election in the 1992 local elections for the Wellington City Council on a Citizens' ticket. He was successful winning a seat from the Western Ward.[3] Citizens did not operate as a ticket post-election. He held a seat in the Western Ward until 2004 when local electoral boundaries were re-drawn and he stood for the newly created Onslow-Western Ward and held a seat from there until 2019.[4]

Foster stood for Mayor of Wellington on four occasions; first in 2001, coming fourth, then in 2016 placing fifth.[5][6] Foster announced his third campaign for the mayoralty at the 2019 local elections and gained endorsement from Sir Peter Jackson.[7] In a surprise, he narrowly beat the one-term incumbent, Justin Lester, by 62 votes after special and last-minute votes had been counted.[8][9][10] Lester became the first Wellington mayor in 33 years to be replaced after just one term.[10]

Foster was the president, and is now a life member, of TRAFINZ, which represents local authority views in New Zealand regarding road safety and traffic management.[11] As a city councillor he was appointed to the boards of council-owned companies Capital Power (1991–1992),[12] Wellington International Airport from 1996 to 1998,[13] and Wellington Water's predecessor Capacity Infrastructure (2004–2014).[14][15]

Mayor of Wellington, 2019–2022[edit]

Significant policies undertaken in his tenure included the funding of the climate change "Te Atakura – First to Zero" action plan and the announcement of preferred options for the Let's get Wellington Moving transport infrastructure package. This included a second Mount Victoria Tunnel and a mass transit route from the Wellington railway station via the Basin Reserve to Newtown and Island Bay.[16]

In April 2021, local mana whenua iwi Ngati Toa Rangatira and Taranaki Whanui were invited to have a representative with voting rights at council committee meetings.[17] On 30 April 2022, a new strategic partnership was signed with local Iwi at Pipitea Marae.[18]

In July 2021, Foster received acclaim from colleagues typically referenced as his political adversaries for his decision to light up the exterior of the council-owned Michael Fowler Centre with the colours of the transgender flag following confirmation a group considered by some to be transgender-exclusionary would speak there.[citation needed] In addition, Foster attended a counter-rally with Labour Party councilors Fleur Fitzsimons and Teri O'Neill, draped in the transgender flag.[19]

In October 2021, Foster expressed disagreement with the Sixth Labour Government's Three Waters reform programme, which proposes transferring the management of water utilities from local councils to four new entities.[20]

In October 2022, Foster became the second person in 36 years to hold the Wellington mayoralty for just one term. Voters selected Tory Whanau to replace him, with her gaining over twice as many votes after seven rounds of preferences.[21][22]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Foster stood unsuccessfully for Parliament on two occasions. In 1996, he stood as an independent in the 1996 New Zealand general election for Wellington Central.[23] In the leadup to the 2017 general election Foster contemplated standing for Parliament as a candidate for New Zealand First.[24] On 15 August 2017 he was confirmed as the New Zealand First candidate for the Wellington Central electorate.[14] He was placed 18 on the party's list, too low to be elected.[25] Foster did not stand for Parliament while Mayor of Wellington.

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2023–present 54th List 7 NZ First

On 5 September 2023, Foster confirmed that he would be standing as New Zealand First's candidate in the Mana electorate during the 2023 general election. Foster had initially denied he was running for the party two weeks earlier.[26] He was placed at 7 on the party list.[27]

During the 2023 election, Foster came fourth place in the Mana electorate, gaining 1,848 votes.[28] With New Zealand First's election night result of 6.46% entitling it to eight MPs, Foster was elected as a list MP.[29][30]

Community activities[edit]

Foster has been involved with the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust, Karori Sports Club, and the Karori Brooklyn Community Trust.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Nikki (22 August 2016). "Wellington mayoral candidate profile: Andy Foster". Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "New Zealand, naturalisations, 1843–1981". Operations. 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  3. ^ Bly, Ross (1992). City of Wellington: Local Body Elections, 1992 (Report). Wellington City Council.
  4. ^ Forbes, Michael (20 July 2016). "Wellington mayoral contest heats up as councillor Andy Foster joins the race". Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Election Results – 2001". Wellington City Council. Archived from the original on 1 October 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Election 2016: Preliminary results for the Mayor". Wellington City Council. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Sir Peter Jackson backs Andy Foster for Wellington mayoralty". 16 August 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Wellington Mayor Andy Foster wins by just 62 votes". The New Zealand Herald. 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  9. ^ "As it happened: New Zealand local body election results 2019". Newshub. 12 October 2019.
  10. ^ a b Donnell, Hayden (13 October 2019). "Winners, losers, big losers, and gigantic losers from the 2019 local elections". The Spinoff.
  11. ^ "Trafinz". TRAFINZ. TRAFINZ. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Our history and ownership". Wellington Electricity. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Andrew John Whitfield FOSTER – Wellington – NEW ZEALAND". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  14. ^ a b c "New Zealand First announces Wellington region candidates". 15 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  15. ^ "History of Wellington Water – Wellington Water". Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  16. ^ Green, Kate (29 June 2022). "Let's Get Wellington Moving: Top takes on Wellington's light rail decision". Stuff. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  17. ^ George, Damian (28 April 2021). "Iwi to have voting rights on Wellington council committees, with mayor's support". Stuff. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Tākai Here to be signed at Pipitea Marae". Wellington City Council. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  19. ^ "How trans issue sprouted a moment of unity in fractious Wellington council". Stuff. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Wellington mayor disappointed by Government's move to force through Three Waters reforms". The New Zealand Herald. 28 October 2021. Archived from the original on 27 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Elections 2022: Mayor". Wellington City Council. 8 October 2022. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  22. ^ Daalder, Marc (8 October 2022). "Whanau bucks trend in referendum on leadership". Newsroom. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Young, Green and Keen" in The Evening Post 10 July 2001 p1
  24. ^ Devlin, Colette (27 June 2017). "Wellington city councillor Andy Foster chasing seat in Parliament with NZ First". Stuff. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  25. ^ "The NZ First Party list for the 2017 General Election". 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  26. ^ Campbell, Georgina (5 September 2023). "Election 2023: Former Wellington Mayor Andy Foster running for New Zealand First". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  27. ^ "New Zealand First Party List 2023". New Zealand First. Archived from the original on 28 November 2023. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  28. ^ "Mana - Official Result". Electoral Commission. 3 November 2023. Archived from the original on 23 November 2023. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  29. ^ "Official count – Overall Results". Electoral Commission. 3 November 2023. Archived from the original on 7 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  30. ^ "2023 General Election: Successful candidates". Electoral Commission. 3 November 2023. Archived from the original on 17 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.

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