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Jo Coughlan Wellington Mayoral Campaign 2016

Get to know Jo

I have lived in Wellington for 25 years, built my own business here and raised six children, now aged 13 to 24.

They have more than 70 years of education in Wellington between them!

I was drawn to the city having grown up on a sheep and crop farm in Mid-Canterbury in the ‘80s. It was a challenging time. It taught me grit and resilience. I wanted to come to a city where I could secure my future.

Like Mum, I wanted to contribute to my community as she had done while raising children and working. With corporate and business experience, I stood for the Wellington City Council. This is my ninth year of service.

I was elected to the Council in 2007 to represent the Onslow-Western Ward. I have a proven track record. Since October 2010, I have led the City's Economic Development Strategy as Economic Portfolio Leader and Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee.

Our Economic Development Strategy of 2011 set a goal for 10,000 new jobs and among other things focused on:

  • attracting a long-haul flight

  • promoting infrastructure to support tech start-ups and further development of Creative HQ as an incubator for innovative high growth companies

  • developing an investment and talent attraction strategy

  • a convention centre

  • an 'open for business' culture.

I am proud to say we have achieved these things and a lot more (see Infometrics report, March 2016). I am also very proud to say that Wellington City's CBD GDP growth has just outpaced Auckland’s.

My business, Silvereye Communications, provides Public Relations and Government Relations advice to a range of public and private clients both in NZ and offshore.

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

I have held a number of other governance roles including:

  • Co-Chair of the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust

  • Chair, Life Education Trust Wellington City.

  • Deputy Chair, National Board, Life Education Trust - providing health education to over 250,000 children nationally with 50 mobile classrooms across 30 trusts nationwide.

  • Director Positively Wellington Tourism, now Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, from 2007 to 2013.

In 2015 I was delighted to be named a Finalist in two categories in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2009 I was also a Finalist in Wellington's Women in Business - Best New Business Award.

I have been involved in crèche and kindergarten committees, coached primary school netball for 10 years and more recently led a fundraising appeal for secondary school rowing. 

I have a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Biochemistry from Otago University.

My life has been about community, contribution and commitment. I would be privileged to be your Mayor. Together let’s make things happen.

Let’s go Wellington!


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