Jo Coughlan to stand for Mayor to get Wellington moving

MEDIA STATEMENT   I    2 April 2016

Councillor Jo Coughlan will stand for the Wellington Mayoralty with improvement of city infrastructure her top priority.

Jo is in her third term as a City Councillor and welcomes the opportunity to lead the city and drive progress so Wellington can meet its true potential.

"Wellington has made some progress but we can do much better.

"I will work with Government to accelerate building of city infrastructure.  We need to grow our economy, keep the city moving and create more jobs.

"We need more action.  Residents are frustrated they are sitting in their cars trying to get about. Wellingtonians have been let down on roading.

“Who wants to spend hours in the car getting to work, other engagements, or transporting children around the city to after school and weekend activities? 

“We need to double-tunnel the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels and see four lanes along Ruahine St to the airport. – Wellington’s Mayor must lead on this and that is my commitment.

"I want Wellington to be a city where my children can get a world-class job. We need to future-proof the city to accommodate growth.

"As Mayor I will take the lead in identifying significant projects which will make a real difference, and help make Wellington resilient, safe, smart, and sustainable.

“We need to take a strategic view. Fixing congestion across the city is a priority. There is no point growing our port and airport capacity if we can't get freight and passengers to them.  Sensible cycleways have a place but squeezing cycleways onto local roads hasn't worked well. Electric cars still need roads.

"I will also promote Wellington's unique points of difference as a world class city to do business in. Attracting talent and investment is critical to growth.  We are a smart, liveable city in a beautiful natural environment that we all want to preserve

“We can be a Silicon Valley of the South Pacific.  Wellington should be to tech what Mystery Creek is to agriculture.  As Mayor I will lead development of a Wellington Tech “field days” 

showcasing the Capital’s innovation and tech sector to the world.

"We are home to a world class public sector.  We can export public sector and professional services globally. For a city with excellent education institutions we have under-performed in attracting international students. We should be more ambitious with targets, set clear goals with the education sector and crack on and achieve them.

"Our cultural capital status needs a boost and further action is necessary. Investment in the arts, entertainment and events is critical to ensure this.

“Attracting audiences to Wellington is essential.  I will continue to promote investment in a 10,000 to 12,000 seat covered-arena for our city and additional hotel capacity.

"A strong and thriving local economy means we can afford to invest more in social infrastructure and the environment. We need to upgrade more pools, park-spaces and sports fields.  Supporting our libraries in a changing world and affordable housing also require strong council leadership.

“Wellington can be great again, but we can't do it alone and we should not settle for less.  I will take our agenda to Government, identify areas of commonality for NZ Inc, and agree a course of action for the growth of the capital and the part government can play in that."

In coming months I will outline more plans and actions that 'Jo Coughlan for Wellington” will mean for the city.



Jo Coughlan was elected to council in 2007 and has represented the Onslow Western Ward for three terms. Since re-election in October 2010 she has led the city's Economic Development Strategy as Economic Portfolio Leader and Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee.

Jo is married and has six children aged 13 to 24. She has a degree in Biochemistry from Otago University.

Jo's business, Silvereye Communications, provides PR and government relations advice to a range of public and private clients both in NZ and offshore.

Prior to establishing her own business, Jo has held senior communications roles in the public and private sector; and worked as a Press Secretary for NZ Foreign Minister Sir Don McKinnon.

Jo Co-Chair’s the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust and Chairs the Life Education Trust Wellington City. Jo has just stepped down, after six years, as Deputy Chair of The National Board of Life Education which provides health education to over 250,000 children nationally with 50 mobile classrooms across 30 trusts nationwide.

In 2015 Jo was a Finalist in two categories in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2009 she was a Finalist in Wellington's Women in Business - Best New Business Award.

Jo was formerly involved in crèche and kindergarten committees, coached primary school netball for 10 years, and led the fundraising of more than $100,000 for secondary school rowing.

Jo Coughlan to stand for Mayor to get Wellington moving

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