Tania Tapsell, candidate for mayor of Rotorua. Photo/Andrew Warner
Rotorua mayoral candidate Tania Tapsell will appoint Sandra Kai Fong as deputy mayor if both are elected to the council in local elections in October.
Tapsell, who officially launched his mayoral bid on Friday night, said Kai Fong was an “outstanding councilor” and it would be his “absolute pleasure” to appoint Kai Fong to the position, should the two be elected.
“There is no certainty in politics…we need people to vote us first.”
Kai Fong introduced the launch, saying Tapsell was “the most experienced mayoral candidate”.
Addressing some 200 people in a conference room at the five-star Pullman Hotel in central Rotorua, Tapsell said the election couldn’t “come soon enough”.
“We need to get Rotorua back on track and we need to do it quickly.”
Rotorua needed someone who could be effective “from day one”.
“I can give you the advantage of being a mayor who has nine years of experience in local government to fight for Rotorua.”
She said community safety would be her top priority, with communities facing high levels of “crime, drug abuse, theft and vandalism”.
Tapsell has committed $1.5 million a year for more CCTV cameras and staff to monitor them to enable crime prevention, as well as more patrols on Fenton St and downtown and funding for crime prevention programs. community-led security.
“We must restore Rotorua’s reputation as a safe destination, a home of choice to live, work and raise your family.”
Any board funding commitment will require a majority vote of the board. Current funding for Community Safety in the Rotorua Lakes Council Long Term Plan 2021-2031 is $1.13 million.
She would also push for increased government funding for Rotorua Police “to deal with the increasing problems of a broken emergency accommodation system”.
She said she would invest in destination marketing and pledged to complete a Rotorua development strategy.
Tapsell entered the Rotorua mayoral race with a promise to focus on stopping “spending” in May.
She would lead a review and refresh of the board’s operations.
When asked by Local Democracy Reporting whether this included the council’s seven deputy chief executive roles, Tapsell said it was important to consider what would be in place if they were removed, but she “l ‘would certainly consider’ if the examination revealed they were not necessary.
In her speech, she also took aim at Vision 2030, a policy framework first developed in 2013 when incumbent Steve Chadwick became mayor, and Tapsell was first elected councilor, aged 21.
“We cannot go ahead with a plan that was drawn up at a time when the world was prospering. We are on the brink of economic recession and we need to be careful in our spending.”
Tapsell was the National Party’s candidate for the East Coast in the 2020 general election, but lost to Labour’s Kiri Allan.
Tapsell is joined in the mayoral race by five other announced candidates: Kalaadevi Ananda, Raj Kumar, Reynold Macpherson, Ben Sandford and Fletcher Tabuteau.
Chadwick confirmed in June 2021 that she would no longer be performing, after nine years in the role.
Resident Shelly Elvin attended the launch, saying she hadn’t decided who to vote for yet, but she saw “a lot of promise” at Tapsell.
Elvin said she wanted to know what Tapsell had to say and “where she plans to move the leadership of the city right now.”
She believed the biggest issues facing Rotorua were infrastructure, housing shortages and emergency accommodation, and how to respond when tourists returned to Rotorua in greater numbers.
Former mayor Grahame Hall was also present and said he did not yet know who he would vote for.
He wanted to listen to all the contestants before doing so, but said Tapsell’s performance was “very powerful”.
“I just want the city to come back good and be back to what it was.”
The election, a postal ballot, will take place on October 8.
Tapsell covered his stance on some of Rotorua’s most talked about topics.
Proposed reservations: “I would like the reservations to stay the same… it’s very clear from the comments from this community that they want it to stay.”
Three Waters: Strongly against.
Rotorua Museum: “We need to re-evaluate, openly share the challenges, then check and listen to our community to find out whether to continue and at what cost you would be satisfied.”
Maori neighborhoods: “While other councils may have needed it, we didn’t.”
Westbrook Sports Area / Springfield Golf Course: “I support maintaining the golf course and have no intention of changing it.”
Environment: Improved flood collection and introduction of organic waste collection. Modernization of the treatment plant
Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air.