Labour MP Paul Eagle confirms Wellington mayoral bid

Paul Eagle.
Paul Eagle. Photo credit: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Rongotai Labour MP Paul Eagle has finally confirmed he is having a tilt at the city's mayoralty.

There has been widespread speculation the former deputy mayor would run.

Eagle said he would take a leave of absence from Parliament from 8 July for three months and donate his salary to charity during the campaign.

A former deputy mayor and city councillor, Eagle will stand as an independent but has been endorsed by the Labour Party.

He said his priorities were water infrastructure, public transport, housing, parks, and restoring the city as an events and arts capital.

"What we need is master plan blueprints so we can have conversations with central government.

"We can take the whole city and say here's our issues, this is what we need help with and here's our plan. Everyone responds well to plans but they don't respond well to a piecemeal approach."

In response to criticism of a survey of people in his electorate in his capacity as a local MP asking what local issues he should make a priority, Eagle said: "No Parliamentary resources will be used for this campaign."

Mayoral candidate Tory Whanau said five people in the electorate had contacted her to express concern about the survey and its timing.

"I'm still the MP for Rongotai, people expect me to engage on the issues," Eagle said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the MP was passionate about the capital and wanted to make sure it thrived.

"He's decided that he's putting his name in, he's going to take a period of leave from being an MP, he's going to donate his salary to charity and focus himself on getting elected."

Labour Party general secretary Rob Salmond said Eagle's candidacy would reflect the city's progressive values and the decision to endorse him was unanimous.

If Eagle won the mayoralty it would trigger a by-election in the safe Labour seat.