Former Wellington mayor Andy Foster standing in Mana electorate for New Zealand First

Former Wellington mayor Andy Foster is standing for New Zealand First in the Mana electorate for this year's General Election. 

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced Foster as the candidate for Mana on Tuesday. Mana is the parliamentary electorate in the Wellington metropolitan area. 

Foster will be competing with incumbent Labour MP Barbara Edmonds, National's Frances Hughes, the Green Party's Gina Dao-McLay and ACT's Lily Brown.  

"As a former mayor of our capital city, Andy has an exceptional resume and level of professional and governance experience that will be an asset to the team," Peters said.  

He said Foster is one of New Zealand's most experienced local government politicians and has served the capital as both a councillor and mayor.  

"He also has served on many boards and trusts including the world-leading Zealandia. Before this he had a background in investment finance, taught economics and was a Parliamentary researcher," Peters said.  

"Andy is recognised for his leadership in transport, urban planning, and finance. He spearheaded the world-leading restoration of Wellington's natural environment and is well known for his long-term involvement in Zealandia eco-sanctuary." 

Foster launched his campaign by saying the country has "gone backwards" on "almost every important measure".  

"Health, education, law and order, economic performance, and productivity. We are all struggling with the cost of living, and we've become a lot more divided. Like most New Zealanders I believe we are going in the wrong direction. We need a change, a reset, and a new beginning," he said.  

"I've agreed to stand because I think New Zealanders deserve a lot better from our Government. I want to be part of a New Zealand First team working constructively within a much better Government, getting stuck into getting our country back." 

Foster said New Zealand First is the "party of the centre" and can play a unique role in "moderating extreme policies or wild policy swings".  

"MMP was intended to reduce the likelihood of the 'unbridled power' of a single party Government and the risk of relative ideological extremism. In a system which currently has few checks and balances, I believe we are at our best when we have a range of views involved in making decisions and are firmly focused on what is good for New Zealand and New Zealanders. I know New Zealand First is the party best placed to help ensure that." 

Labour leader Chris Hipkins recently ruled out working with New Zealand First and accused the party of "seeking to divide New Zealand communities".  

National leader Christopher Luxon however is staying mum about whether he would work with the party or not.