Vote2020

Bay of Plenty voters will have a chance to hear first-hand from local candidates standing in this year's General Election.

Simon Bridges (National, Tauranga), Jan Tinetti (Labour, Tauranga), Angie Warren-Clark (Labour, Bay of Plenty), Erika Harvey (NZ First, Tauranga) and Josh Cole (Green Party) will attend the Parliamentary Election Candidates Forum, hosted by Forsyth Barr Tauranga and Tauranga Chamber of Commerce on August 20.

National MP for Bay of Plenty, Todd Muller, has been invited but has yet to confirm his attendance.

Event organiser Anne Pankhurst said the event would provide an opportunity for the Tauranga business community to hear first-hand from their local candidates before polling day and offer a forum in which they can put their questions to them.

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"Given the political rollercoaster that we have seen play out since Covid-19 hit our shores, we're excited to be co-hosting this event and expect a lively debate between the candidates.

"It's rare to get an opportunity to get them together in one place and this is the only event of its kind, so we encourage you to come along, hear from the candidates and have your say as well."

Pankhurst said to ensure effective and efficient debate for both event attendees and panellists, the chamber had only invited candidates from the main parties that are currently in Parliament, and that are standing in Tauranga and Bay of Plenty electorates.

"We want to ensure issues discussed are relevant to our business community, and that everyone has a chance to speak, to engage with the debate, and that attendees felt they got the information they needed."

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Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley urged anyone in business to attend – whether owner or employee – to better understand how the political landscape of our nation would directly impact the regional outlook for the coming years.

"The nation's recovery plan from Covid-19, including how we will pay for it, will last for a generation. The region needs to understand how decisions made in Wellington will impact us in the Bay of Plenty."

Event sponsor Forsyth Barr has come on board to support the chamber and provide an opportunity to ask the candidates questions about how they will work for the Bay of Plenty business community.

"It is a pleasure to be involved in this important election forum, offering insights to the policies of our local parliamentary candidates. We look forward to a robust debate," Forsyth Barr's Paul O'Driscoll said.

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Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Forsyth Barr, will be holding the forum on Thursday, August 20 at Baycourt Community & Arts Centre in the Addison Theatre.

The forum is free for anyone to attend but registrations are essential. Visit the Chamber's website tauranga.org.nz for registrations or email anne@tauranga.org.nz for more information.