Who should be the city's deputy mayor? A legislation change six years ago gave mayors powers to choose their own deputies, ahead of highest polling candidates. At today's first Rotorua Lakes Council meeting, previous deputy mayor Dave Donaldson is tipped to continue with the role, after being chosen by mayor Steve Chadwick. But what does highest-polling candidate Tania Tapsell think about that? They talk to journalist Kelly Makiha.
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Highest polling Rotorua Lakes Council candidate Tania Tapsell says she would have been happy to step up to deputy mayor if asked.
Donaldson polled ninth in election but he has been given the nod by mayor Steve Chadwick to be her deputy.
Donaldson's selection by Chadwick is expected to be rubber-stamped at the council's first official meeting since the election today.Since a change to the Local Government Act in 2013, mayors have been able to select their own deputy mayors. Councils have the power to overturn the appointments but they must follow a process.
Previously, highest polling councillors were made deputy mayors.
In today's meeting, the new council will be asked to affirm the appointment by the mayor of councillor Dave Donaldson as deputy mayor.
Chadwick has made no secret of her choice to have Donaldson as her deputy, announcing him as her "running mate" at her campaign launch and again declaring he would be her deputy at her victory party on the day election results came out.
However, there have been several suggestions on social media that top-polling councillor Tania Tapsell should have been given the nod. Such a decision would have been backed by fellow councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, who said Tapsell was the face of future leadership.
Tapsell got 10,213 votes while Chadwick won the mayoralty with 9221 votes. It was the second election in a row that Tapsell has been the top polling candidate.
Donaldson polled ninth, making the council cut by 356 votes ahead of 11th place getter Trish Hosking and ahead 87 votes of 10th place getter Trevor Maxwell.
Tapsell told the Rotorua Daily Post today the choice of deputy mayor was the mayor's decision.
"But I would have been happy to step up to the role if I was given the opportunity. Whilst I generally support the mayor's direction, I am independently minded and stand up for what I believe is right. At times this has meant I've opposed some of her decisions."
Tapsell said she respected Chadwick's desire to keep Donaldson as her deputy.
"He's hardworking and trustworthy and they make a good team together. However, I would like to see better succession planning of our council moving forward so that we can support and bring through new skills and perspectives into leadership roles."
She said in the meantime she was pursuing a role as chairwoman of council's Operations and Monitoring Committee which looked after $1.2 billion worth of assets.
"I really appreciate the faith and trust shown in me by the 10,000 people who voted for me. I will continue serving them to the best of my ability regardless of what title I'm given."
Raukawa-Tait, who was re-elected, only just missed out on becoming deputy mayor after being the highest polling councillor in the 2013 elections.
She said Chadwick's decision at the time to appoint Donaldson deputy mayor didn't bother her but she believed it didn't go unnoticed in the community.
Raukawa-Tait said the mayor must have someone they believed was dependable, loyal and hardworking.
"I have observed all these qualities in Dave over the past six years. However I would have liked to see Tania given the opportunity this term to be deputy mayor. She is ready for the job and by the votes she captured the community and I want to see her given the opportunity to grow. It's called succession planning."
Raukawa-Tait said Tapsell was the "face of new leadership".
"Young, open to new ideas, well connected across all age and interest groups. A staunch advocate of strong families making a positive contribution to the community and society as a whole."
Donaldson said he was "absolutely delighted" to have been recommended to the role by Chadwick.
"I have worked in a high-trust relationship with her since before the 2013 elections. We second guess each other and we share a common understanding of quite a lot of our community."
Donaldson said he and Chadwick worked exceptionally well together.
While conscious of where he polled in the election compared with Tapsell, Donaldson said he respected Tapsell and worked well with her.
"I have a great working relationship with Tania and we speak frankly with each other. I have great admiration for the way she has matured into the role as an elected member of council. I am sure she has a stellar future ahead of her as a politician."
Chadwick said it was a mayoral decision as to who served as deputy mayor, rather than an outcome of the election results.
"I've asked Dave to continue as my deputy because we've had a successful six years previously, and I value his loyalty and vision. Dave has both mine and the wider community's trust and I'm looking forward to continuing the momentum we've gained over the past term."