Fran Wilde ends long political career

Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Fran Wilde is standing down from Council to take up the role as head of the Remuneration Authority.

After three decades of local and national politics Ms Wilde will now be in charge of determining the pay of MPs, judges and local government politicians.

The former two-time Wellington City Mayor, had been chair of the regional council for seven years until June when she resigned from the chair’s position in the fallout on the super-city debate but remained as a councillor.

Ms Wilde had backed the Local Government Commission’s Wellington super-city proposal, which would have replaced the region’s nine existing councils. When the proposal was dropped, she was presented with a letter of no confidence from nine of her fellow councillors.

Following the announcement that she is headed for a new job Cr Wilde said she said that when she ran for office this term, she was committed to making the region’s councils more effective.

“However, now that we are back to considering less effective solutions, this term on council would definitely have been my last.”

Wilde was a Labour MP from 1981 to 1992, the year she was elected mayor of Wellington. She resigned after a single term. In 2003, she was elected to the regional council, and became its chairwoman in 2007.

Wilde said she was not a career politician, saying she had spent as much time in the commercial world as in politics. While she was not ruling out re-entering politics, she had no plans to run for office.

The three-year appointment to chair the authority started on November 30, with Ms Wilde replacing John Errington.

Since her new role began within 12 months of the next council elections, set for October 2016, the regional council would not need to hold a by-election to replace her.

In announcing her appointment, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said Ms Wilde came highly qualified for the role, “with extensive leadership and governance experience in both the public and private sectors.”

Kāpiti’s Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson said Ms Wilde had made a huge contribution to politics in the region.

“Fran is a person who likes to get things done. When the Amalgamation discussions stalled it was clear changes were likely. I expect she will continue to make her mark on the political landscape. Much of the progress we have made in the last eight years at Regional Council is down to the commitment and drive from Fran.”