Teacher enters fray for Tauranga seat

A 47-year-old school teacher, Sally Barrett, has entered a fascinating race for the Tauranga seat in this year's general election.
Mrs Barrett is an English teacher at Tauranga Girls' College and was selected on Saturday as the Labour candidate to replace Margaret Wilson, who pulled out of the contest in January after being chosen as Speaker of the House.
A first-time candidate, Mrs Barrett joins New Zealand First leader and incumbent Winston Peters and National's Bob Clarkson, in the campaign later this year.
"I won't be focusing on either of them," she said. "I want to run a positive campaign and focus on the achievements of the Government.
"I will be different. I'm a female - that's a point of difference. And I will be a voice of reason."
Mrs Barrett will attempt to give Mr Peters and Mr Clarkson a good run for their money - but she will also work hard at making sure the party vote stays intact in Tauranga.
Labour came out on top in the 2002 election, capturing 10,608 party votes (just over a third), to New Zealand First's 7278, National's 7250 and United Future's 3155.
In the individual race, Mr Peters won 17,145 votes - well ahead of Mrs Wilson (6783) and National's Tim Macindoe (5312).
Mrs Barrett, a mother of two, said she would be reminding voters about the success of the Government.
"We have more people in jobs - unemployment is low - and we have a growing economy. This is a golden time for New Zealanders and they have to be reminded that there have been big gains for them in the last few years.
"I'm going out to increase the party vote in Tauranga," she said.
Mrs Barrett has been teaching at Tauranga Girls' for five years after shifting from Palmerston North when her husband Patrick got a new job.
She gained a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English from Canterbury University and has been teaching for 20 years.
Mrs Barrett headed off Tauranga party chairwoman Carol Devoy-Heena in the selection contest at the weekend.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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