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New Wellington mayor Andy Foster concedes Sir Peter Jackson's backing was crucial

The new Mayor of Wellington, Andy Foster, has conceded the help of Sir Peter Jackson was crucial to his win.

After 27 years as councillor, Mr Foster is now mayor elect, having beaten Justin Lester by just a few hundred votes over the weekend. 

The new mayor is keen to get cracking with a review of the controversial Shelly Bay housing development. The previous council voted to sell and lease the land for development. 

"What happened there was that we, as a council, the majority decision was to essentially cut the community out of having a say," Mr Foster told 1 NEWS.

He shares his long-held opposition to the development with the country's most successful filmmaker, Sir Peter Jackson, who helped fund his campaign.

"The finance is essential. The fact that I had that high profile backing, that's a help as well," Mr Foster said.

Sir Peter and his partner Dame Fran Walsh phoned the new mayor to congratulate him and have released a statement.

"Along with the thousands of Wellingtonians who voted them into office we share in their aims of bringing greater transparency and accountability to local government," the statement read.

Andy Foster has assured Wellngtonians the director will not influence his decisions.

But a local union group, Wellington Unions, has questioned the relationship.

"There's no such thing as a free lunch. But I'm confident there's a strong council and I'm confident that Wellingtonians are very engaged," said Ben Peterson of Wellington Unions.

Mr Foster said: "There's no such thing as a quid pro quo. The only thing I could say is I've been a fan of having a movie museum in Wellington city for probably 15 to 20 years." 

The museum is a pet project of Sir Peter's and the mayor said he would abstain from any future vote on it.

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Mr Foster concedes the help of Sir Peter Jackson was crucial to his ascension to power. Source: 1 NEWS