Dunedin's new Mayor Aaron Hawkins might keep hitch-hiking to work

Dunedin locals should keep their eyes peeled for their new Mayor-elect on the side of the road.

Green Party member and two-term Councillor Aaron Hawkins has a habit of hitch-hiking to work - and says that may continue. 

"I haven't given my future hitch-hiking plans that much consideration, but it is a very effective way of engaging with the electorate and getting a sense of what the priorities are for people in the community," the 35-year-old told Newshub.

Hawkins doesn't drive, having been involved in a near-fatal accident in 2016. He still only has his learner's licence.

True to his party's values, Hawkins usually catches the bus home. 

"I think what we've heard from our community in recent years is an increasing concern for our collective environmental wellbeing."

As for his first term as Mayor, Hawkins wants to focus on "building more public housing, making our public transport system cheaper, and a greater investment in our natural environment... zero carbon ambition for tackling biodiversity loss".

Hawkins won the mayoralty thanks to Dunedin's STV voting system, which lets voters rank the candidates rather than just pick one. He was in second place after voters' first preferences were taken into account, but picked up support from voters who backed defeated candidates.