The appointment of Simon Bridges as the new National Party leader is encouraging, according to a Te Arawa leader.
Bridges, the Tauranga MP, was appointed leader yesterday while Paula Bennett retained the deputy's role.
Rotorua Lakes Council Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Te Taru White said his Maori heritage would put Bridges in an interesting position.
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"I'm sure he's proud of his Maori heritage, he's a very experienced politician and we look for some good outcomes from this.
"I am encouraged by his selection, he's part of a young new generation that's coming through Parliament."
White said he hoped the appointment might change some of the National Party's views on Maori issues.
"He's smart, savvy, intelligent and when we add to that an understanding of Maori values, that's a good thing.
"Like everyone else, I hope it will bring benefits for Maori and the wider community."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick welcomed Bridges' selection.
"It shows a new generation and that is the step that, in my view, needed to happen. The new generation is there with a deputy beside him, who knows the traps of politics," she said.
"He knows our region so well. That has to be good for us as the wider Bay of Plenty."
But Chadwick wasn't sure there would be the same level of 'mania' as with Jacinda Ardern.
"It's going to be very interesting watching them up against Labour," she said.
"Politics is tough but caucus knows those with the ability and they've chosen."
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said Bridges' appointment was great news.
"Simon and I came to Parliament 10 years ago and he was singled out then as having leadership potential," McClay said.
The Rotorua MP said Bridges had always worked hard for the Bay of Plenty.
"[Simon] is a very hardworking local MP and people will still have access to him, but we have now given him the responsibility of leading New Zealand's largest political party."
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey wished Bridges all the best but said Labour was a strong party.
"We have the leadership of Jacinda Arden and a strong mandate from Maori," he said.
Coffey said the Labour Party was "leaving the National Party to the National Party".
"The Prime Minister has already faced one of the most formidable leaders in Bill English."
National Rotorua electorate chairman Trevor Newbrook said Bridges would be a strong leader.
"I know him personally and think he will be an excellent leader who will lead the party into the next election.
"There may be some advantages of having a party leader in our region, but I don't think there will be any special favours. It won't do us any harm having a leader an hour away."
Newbrook said the central North Island was already a strong National Party area but he thought Bridges' appointment could result in an increase in memberships.
"I'd also add that seeing Paula Bennett retained as deputy leader shows there is real stability in the party and I think from here on out we will see everyone getting behind Simon and Paula."
Rotorua-based MP Fletcher Tabuteau was announced yesterday as the new New Zealand First deputy leader.
Rotorua Principals' Association president Briar Stewart said it was "really neat for the Bay to have these leaders to keep the region at the forefront".
"I like that this has been dealt with in a prompt manner and I think having both Simon and Fletcher in leadership positions will be positive for the region."
She said from an education point of view, having political leaders who knew and understood the region would help with lobbying important issues at the coalface.
"We need everyone heading as much in the same direction as possible when it comes to education so to have leaders with good, sound connections to the area will be a great step towards this."
A spokeswoman for the Lakes District Health Board said chief executive Ron Dunham had no comment to make.
- Additional reporting Stephanie Arthur-Worsop and Alice Guy.