Dame Fran Wilde
Wilde in 2017
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
for Wellington Central
28 November 1981 – 10 October 1992
|Preceded by||Ken Comber|
|Succeeded by||Chris Laidlaw|
|31st Mayor of Wellington City|
10 October 1992 – 14 October 1995
|Preceded by||Jim Belich|
|Succeeded by||Mark Blumsky|
|Chairperson of the Wellington Regional Council|
30 October 2007 – 30 June 2015
|Preceded by||Ian Buchanan|
|Succeeded by||Chris Laidlaw|
Frances Helen Kitching
11 November 1948
Wellington, New Zealand
|Alma mater||Victoria University|
Dame Frances Helen Wilde DNZM QSO JP (née Kitching, born 11 November 1948) is a New Zealand politician, and former Wellington Labour MP, Minister of Tourism and Mayor of Wellington City. She was the first woman to serve as Mayor of Wellington. She was chairperson of the Greater Wellington Regional Council from 2007 until 2015.
Early life and career
Wilde was born Franes Helen Kitching on 11 November 1948 in Wellington, New Zealand. She attended St Mary's College and later at Wellington Polytechnic (gaining a diploma in journalism) and Victoria University (graduating with a degree in Political Science). Upon finishing her education Wilde gained employment as a journalist.
In 1968, she married Geoffrey Gilbert Wilde, and the couple went on to have three children before divorcing in 1983.
She joined the Labour Party in 1972 and was later the editor of the party newsletter, New Nation. She later became the chairperson of the electorate in which she resided and a member of Labour's executive council in the Wellington region.
Member of Parliament and Minister
|New Zealand Parliament|
Wilde was a Member of Parliament for the Wellington Central seat, winning it from sitting National MP Ken Comber in the 1981 general election. Wilde retained the seat at the subsequent 1984 general election.
In 1985, Wilde moved what became the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986, which legalised homosexual acts in New Zealand between consenting men. The 16-month debate about the bill polarised the country, and sparked violent demonstrations and angry rallies at Parliament. Her other main legislative achievement in Parliament was an Adoption Reform Act, which made it possible for adopted people and their birth-parents to contact each other.
Wilde was Labour's junior Parliamentary Whip from 1984 to 1987, and became Minister of Tourism, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister of External Relations and Trade during Labour's second term. Between 1990-92 she was Labour's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
Mayor of Wellington
In 1992 she resigned from Parliament to stand for Mayor of Wellington. Her seat was retained by Labour, with Chris Laidlaw winning the 1992 by-election caused by Wilde's resignation. She won the Mayoralty, and remained in office until 1995 when she chose to retire. During her time as Mayor, Wilde worked to improve Wellington's image and continuing on from the city's strong anti-nuclear sentiments she declared Wellington a Peace Capital in 1993. Wilde also spearheaded initiatives like the planning and construction of the WestpacTrust Stadium which features an elevated accessway to its entrance known as the "Fran Wilde Walk" which was opened in June 2005.
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Since then, Wilde has been appointed CEO of Trade New Zealand (until February 2003) and was elected as a councillor for the Wellington Regional Council. The council has occupied much of her time in recent years. Wilde was re-elected to the Regional Council in 2007. On 30 October, Wilde was elected by her fellow councillors Chair of the Council.
Wilde was a strong proponent of the super city proposal for Wellington. When the Local Government Commission rejected the proposal, Wilde received a letter signed by nine of her fellow councillors asking her to stand down as chair. Wilde has announced that she would step down from the chair's position from 30 June 2015, but that she would remain a regional councillor. She was succeeded as Chair by Chris Laidlaw and did not stand for re-election in 2016.
Career after politics
Following her departure from the Regional Council she was appointed as the Chair of the Remuneration Authority.
In 1993, Wilde was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal. Wilde was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order in 1996; a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to local-body affairs and the community; and a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 for services to the State and the community.
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|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Wellington Central
| Mayor of Wellington
| Chairperson of the Wellington Regional Council