Tamati Coffey faces candidacy fight

By Adriana Weber -
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Dr Angela Sharples and Hugh Kininmonth
Dr Angela Sharples and Hugh Kininmonth

Two other hopefuls will challenge TV personality Tamati Coffey for the Labour Party's Rotorua candidacy in this year's election.

Rotorua Lakes High School deputy principal Dr Angela Sharples and Integrated Health Services company director Hugh Kininmonth have been nominated for selection for the Rotorua electorate alongside Mr Coffey.

Nominations closed on Friday. Next day, The Rotorua Daily Post reported Mr Coffey hoped to win the candidacy.

Tamati Coffey
Tamati Coffey

Labour Party general secretary Tim Barnett said the calibre of nominees was exceptional and all nominees showed great promise.

"Rotorua needs and deserves a strong and worthy Labour Party representative. We are looking forward to an exciting but challenging selection process," he said.

Dr Sharples, who has lived in Rotorua for 16 years, said she decided to seek the role because she wanted to make a difference in the community she cared about.

"We need a government that cares. Rotorua needs an MP that listens and understands the issues affecting our community. The Labour Party cares and I, personally, care," she said.

Dr Sharples, who has a PhD in environmental science, has many years' experience in the education sector, being deputy principal at Lakes High School and having taught at Rotorua Boys' and Rotorua Girls' high schools.

In 2011 she won the Prime Minister's Science Teacher Prize.

Dr Sharples said she wanted to address several issues in Rotorua, including economic growth and ensuring the economic benefits were felt by all, child poverty and ensuring everyone had access to health and education services.

Having played an active role in getting central government funding to address the poor environmental health of Rotorua Lakes, she said the continuation of the restoration programme was another thing in which she had a personal interest.

Mr Kininmonth, who is born and bred in Rotorua, said if selected he wanted to concentrate on job creation in the region.

"I think one of the most important issues for the Rotorua community is the need for employment opportunities. When I finished school, I could walk into 12 or 15 jobs easily, everyone in my class could. But that is not the case today," he said.

"We need to ensure people have jobs to go into when they finish their education and that the jobs are sustainable."

Mr Kininmonth said jobs needed to be kept in New Zealand, rather than outsourced overseas. He believed there was a widening gap between the "haves and the haves not" and said he wanted to see that gap reduced and for Kiwis to live in a more equal society.

With 20 years experience in the health-management sector and owning companies employing dozens of people, ensuring everyone had access to affordable medical care was something he passionately believed in, he said.

Mr Kininmonth stood for Labour in the Coromandel electorate in 2008 and 2011.

"However, Rotorua is my hometown. My family still live in Owhata and I'm very passionate about the Rotorua community and environment. There are great council/iwi/business relationships there and I would like to add a supportive central government to that mix."

The selection process is expected to take about a month.

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