Mayor Justin Lester

Profile photo of Mayor Lester.

Mayor Justin Lester

We all want Wellington to thrive: to be a place with lots of jobs, plenty of events and a strong cultural scene. Our city also needs to be fair, and provide quality local services to those who choose to settle here.

Wellingtonians have told me they want their Mayor and Council to be innovative, decisive and have new ideas. I’m going to work hard with a united team of Councillors and Council Officers to deliver on that.

Biographical details

Justin Lester was elected Mayor in 2016. He joined Wellington City Council as a Northern Ward Councillor in 2010 and then served as Deputy Mayor from 2013 until 2016.

During his time as a Councillor, Justin championed the living wage, prioritised good quality local services and supported local businesses. He feels strongly that good local government services make a huge difference in people’s lives.

Justin’s priorities as Mayor include kick-starting the economy, making housing affordable, improving Wellington’s transport, replacing outdated bylaws and prioritising arts funding. He also wants to establish the country’s first wet house, provide a rates rebate for first-home builders and create the world’s first predator-free capital.

Justin grew up in Invercargill with his mother and two brothers. He received an AFS scholarship in 1996 and spent his seventh form year in Germany. He has an LLB and a BA (German) from the University of Otago and a Masters of Laws (LLM) from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

In his mid-twenties, Justin co-founded Kapai, a Wellington food enterprise. He says the values behind Kapai directly reflect his own: the company has a distinctly New Zealand theme; is sustainably operated; encourages entrepreneurship; and gives back to the Wellington economy and community.

Justin has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He was formerly the Director of Property and Asset Management at 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.

Justin met his wife Liz at university and in 2016 they celebrated their 10-year anniversary. They have two young daughters and live in Johnsonville.

Justin and Liz chose to move to Wellington to raise a family because of the city’s cosmopolitan and diverse make-up, and because it’s a liveable city where nature is so accessible. Justin wants to ensure future generations also see Wellington as a viable option for their careers and families.

Committee membership

Committee Position
 City Strategy Committee
 Long-term and Annual Plan Committee
 Regulatory Process Committee
 CEO Performance Review Committee  Member
 Grants Subcommittee  Member
 Finance, Audit and Risk Management Subcommittee  Member
 Council Controlled Organisation Subcommittee  Member
 Arts and Culture, Major City Projects, Governance  Portfolio Leader
 Joe Aspell Trust  Board Member
 Creative Communities Local Funding Scheme  Representative
 NZ International Arts Festival Trust  Representative
 Thomas George Macarthy Trust  Representative
 Art Collection Group  Representative
 Wellington Regional Strategy Committee  Representative
 Wellington Regional Amenities Fund Joint Committee  Representative
 LGNZ Zone 4  Presiding delegate

Contact details

Phone 04 499 4444
Address PO Box 2199, Wellington, New Zealand