Bay of Plenty and Coromandel candidates have been announced for the Conservative Party but leader Colin Craig says he is not ready to announce the candidate for Tauranga.

Mr Craig was in Tauranga yesterday to announce who the candidates would be, but said he was not yet ready to reveal the identity of the Tauranga candidate.

Mr Craig announced Deborah Cunliffe as the Bay of Plenty candidate and David Walkden as the Coromandel candidate.

Mrs Cunliffe, who is a director of Bay of Plenty Health Services Ltd, said she would represent the Bay of Plenty.


However, she said the focus of their visit to Tauranga yesterday was to encourage the party vote.

Mr Craig said he was delighted to announce Mrs Cunliffe as the new candidate.

"Deborah is an outstanding individual with a strong career serving people.

"She has integrity, intelligence and a heart for delivering healthy communities."

Mrs Cunliffe's experience in both hospital governance and at grass roots level gave her a unique perspective on health and social welfare issues.

The ageing population would be a focus for her, addressing accommodation, quality of care and fair pay for those care workers, she said.

As well as addressing social issues, Mrs Cunliffe would campaign on the party's four key policies: binding referenda, $20,000 tax-free income, tougher penalties for serious crime and abolition of Maori seats.

Mrs Cunliffe moved to the Bay of Plenty from the UK with her husband and children in 2003.

Craig spells out party policies

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig launched the party's Bay of Plenty campaign at a public meeting in Tauranga last night.

Focusing on promoting the party vote, Mr Craig addressed the party's four key policies: binding referenda, $20,000 tax-free income, tougher penalties for serious crime and abolition of the Maori seats.

The party also wanted to see fewer MPs in Parliament, tougher justice, and the anti-smacking law removed as it targeted the wrong people, he said. "Instead of going out and catching the bad guys, we're harassing parents who are trying to do good."

Tax was hard on low-income families and the party would want to introduce no tax for people earning $20,000 or less annually, he said.

The level of safety in New Zealand was a concern and the re-offending statistics were concerning, he said.

"There are places in New Zealand you wouldn't want to walk at night for fear of your own safety."

He wanted to see prisoners working to fund their living costs and to give back to the people affected by their offending.

The existence of Maori seats created division, which the party wanted to see removed, he said.

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