A new dynamic has been added to the Tauranga council elections with the possible first appearance of candidates standing on the ticket of a national political party.
Delwyn Walker and Dr Ian McLean are standing under the banner of the Green Party for the Tauranga City Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Dr Walker, who is running for one of the regional council's Tauranga seats, understood it was a first for the Bay.
Their link with a political party drew criticism from Tauranga's deputy mayor David Stewart who said local government should be about councillors seeing local issues through local eyes rather than party-political eyes and trying to represent national politics at local level.
"It is not a recipe for success," Mr Stewart said.
He was concerned national politics was entering local politics and believed it would be quite confusing for voters. "Are they towing the party line?"
Dr McLean denied their independence would be restricted by pushing the party line at the expense of seeing issues through a local perspective. While they would operate under a Greens national policy framework, he said they would still be local councillors working on local issues.
"In that sense, we are no different from anyone else."
While he understood some voters might be confused about the Green Party ticket, they would still be using their local skills and local knowledge when dealing with local issues.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said it was the first appearance of national politics in a Tauranga council election since 1989. He was unsure about earlier elections. "It will bring a new dynamic to the election which is interesting."
Mr Crosby said large numbers of councillors belonged to political parties but never brought their political allegiances to the debating table.
He had "no problem" with the candidates standing on the Green Party ticket and said Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch had been in that environment for a long time.
"At the end of the day, we have our different philosophies and values."
Ms Walker, who is standing for the council's Welcome Bay/Te Papa Ward, said it had been quite easy for voters to grasp that she had a Green stance.
Dr Ian McLean
PhD in biology
University lecturer Canterbury, Auckland and Otago
Worked on the black robin and other endangered bird projects
Worked for the United Nations for five years
Still publishing papers and involved in scientific projects
Waikato University degree in social sciences majoring in public policy and history
Graduate Diploma in Business from Auckland University
Senior assessor Department of Social Welfare
Manager of health and social services for Ngai Te Rangi Iwi
Community development adviser for the Welcome Bay Community Plan
Now a fulltime mother of four children