Rotorua Lakes councillor Tania Tapsell has today been selected to be the new National Party candidate for the East Coast electorate.
Both former National Party leader Simon Bridges and Rotorua MP Todd McClay made the announcement on their Facebook pages.
Bridges said Tapsell would make “an awesome Member of Parliament”.
McClay offered his “huge congratulations” to Tapsell in his Facebook message.
“Tania is a successful campaigner, hard-working and deeply passionate about the East Coast. She will be a very successful MP for National,” McClay said in his post.
If successful, Tapsell would be replacing MP Anne Tolley who was not seeking re-election but would be on the party list.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she would need to discuss Tapsell’s future on the council, including her role as chairwoman of the council’s operations and monitoring committee.
“We now need to sit down together and have a discussion about her chairing role and how she will conduct herself during the election period.”
Chadwick said she stood down temporarily from the council during the election campaign period when she was a Rotorua District Councillor and stood for Labour in 1999.
She resigned officially from the council when she won the Rotorua seat.
“It’s not looked upon well and it is advised for MPs to stand aside from local government.”
Chadwick, who has mentored Tapsell since she became a councillor, said she was disappointed she could be losing her on the council.
“I saw her as a future leader for Rotorua and council and I am disappointed but I understand her political ambition and aspirations and we’ve discussed it.”
When asked how she felt about Tapsell choosing to stand for National, Chadwick said:
“She’s chosen her party and that’s her choice so kei te pai.”
Tapsell announced her engagement to Kanin Clancy in April.
She told the Rotorua Daily Post at the time that the pair had decided to keep the news under wraps for a while, giving them time to enjoy it with whanau first.
“We just found each other in the crowd at a concert, and it sounds really cheesy, but it was love at first sight,” Tapsell said.
“We just couldn’t take our eyes off each other. We kept in touch and started dating for a few weeks, he is a real gentleman. It became quite clear we really liked each other so it didn’t take long for us to make it official.”
Tapsell has previously been named deputy chairwoman of the Community Boards Executive Committee, an advisory committee to Local Government New Zealand’s national council.
The board represents the country’s 110 community boards, supporting and advocating for them while helping build stronger relationships between those boards and their partner councils.
Tapsell represents more than 30 boards across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and East Coast.
“Community board advocacy is a big part of it. It’s really important, it’s like grassroots politics and making sure all communities, big or small, are being represented.”
Tapsell has been the highest-polling candidate on the Rotorua Lakes Council for the past two elections and surpassed even the mayor in vote numbers in 2019.
Her popularity increased by 326 votes in the 2019 election, going from 9567 to 9893.
Of Rotorua’s 21,215 voters, 46 per cent put their faith in Tapsell.