From the new mayor to the old: ‘Losing your dreams and ambitions is tough’

Andy Foster is confident the mayoral chains won't be handed back to Justin Lester. - Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

Wellington's new mayor is confident he will hold the reins for three years - even though there is a recount on the cards.

Andy Foster won the election by a narrow margin of 62 votes, but the now former mayor Justin Lester has gone to the District Court, asking for a recount. The decision is expected next week.

Mr Foster and 14 freshly elected councillors lined the stage for the inauguration which was opened with waiata, kaikaranga and karakia.

The room was filled with whānau and friends of the city's newest representatives - poised and ready to applaud as they made their declaration.

Justin Lester handed over the mayoral chains after losing the election by 62 votes.

Justin Lester handed over the mayoral chains after losing the election by 62 votes. Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

The jingling of mayoral chains could be heard, while the audience silently watched the outgoing Mr Lester place them round the Mr Foster's neck.

Mr Foster said he's confident that he won't have to hand them back.

He used his first official speech to highlight Mr Lester's loss after just one term as mayor.

"Thank you too to the outgoing councillors and mayor not getting elected ... that is one thing, but being elected once and then not being elected, that's really tough so my sympathies, losing your dreams and ambitions is really tough."

Despite the new mayor appearing to take a dig at his rival's one-term loss, Mr Lester still offered his congratulations.

For his part, Mr Foster wants to get on with projects in Wellington - particularly transport and the building of a second Mount Victoria tunnel.

Yesterday the Chief Ombudsman ordered the Associate Transport Minister Julie-Anne Genter to clarify the contents of a letter regarding Wellington's long term transport plan.

She doesn't have to release the full letter, but did make clear she wanted to prioritise public transport over the development of the tunnel.

Despite her clarification, Mr Foster said there are still big questions.

"That's probably not very helpful because that still leaves a question mark as to what the letter ever said and to how the decision making process occurred but we'll work together, I'll look forward to doing that."

He said there'll be some disagreements between them but that's life.

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