If Tania Tapsell resigns to further her political career, will there be a by-election and who is keen to stand? Journalist Kelly Makiha takes a look.
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There will be plenty of people wanting to put their hand up to replace Tania Tapsell if she chooses to resign as a Rotorua Lakes councillor.
But there are concerns a by-election will cost the district money that is better spent helping to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus economic crisis. It is estimated a by-election in Rotorua would cost $125,000.
Tapsell has been selected as the National candidate for the East Coast electorate and has moved from Rotorua to Maketu.
She said it was too early to make any decisions about standing down or resigning from her position as councillor, although mayor Steve Chadwick said she would need to discuss how Tapsell intended to conduct herself during the campaign period and advised it wasn't "looked upon well" to remain in local government as an MP.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 states if a vacancy occurred more than 12 months before the next general election, the vacancy must be filled by an election. Last year's local body elections were October 12 and this year's general election is September 19.
Patricia Hosking, who missed out on a seat around the council table by 269 votes behind 10th placegetter Trevor Maxwell said she would stand again if there were a by-election.
She hoped for Rotorua's sake there were provisions in the rules to allow the 11th placegetter to automatically step into the role.
"My concern is that rather than support another election the community will be preoccupied with recovering from the impact of Covid-19 and surviving in a new economy. I believe the cost of running another election will also be an issue for ratepayers and for charities such as the Salvation Army food bank which could really do with increased funding."
She said Rotorua already had a housing crisis, there were too many homeless and too many people living in poverty. She said Covid-19 had compounded those issues and an election was unlikely to attract a high voter turnout.
Local Government New Zealand principal adviser Mike Reid said the Act couldn't be changed and a by-election would need to be held.
He said it would be undemocratic to put the 11th placegetter into the role.
"If a National Party MP resigns from a role, you don't automatically put the Labour person in as the second placegetter ... The law is the law and that is the price of democracy."
Council chief executive Geoff Williams said the indicative cost to run a by-election was $125,000.
There were 20 candidates who missed out on the council in the last election. The Rotorua Daily Post approached the top 10.
Lachlan McKenzie, who came 12th, said he would stand again.
"I am definitely disappointed in the performance of the council to date and that was my motivation for standing last time."
He said he had just read the council's Annual Plan and was concerned about debt levels.
"We need people to stand who understand the economic consequences of such high debt ... I'm not unemployed, I don't need another job but as the saying goes, if you want a job done, ask a busy person."
Peter Jones, who came 13th, said he would probably stand again.
"A lot of water has to go under the bridge between now and then but I'm still here."
Kevin Coutts said he wouldn't stand again.
"I don't think I have the temperament to sit through a council meeting without doing my prunes. Also I'm 66 now and there are probably younger people who have the patience for it."
Former district councillor Mark Gould, who lost his position on the council after 15 years by coming 17th, said he couldn't stand again because he didn't want to be a part of the "death of the council".
He said debt and parking issues were just two of the issues.
"I don't want to be a part of accused of increasing the debt ... One person isn't going to make a difference to the present council."
Matthew Martin said he was undecided but leaning toward having another go.
"Many of the same issues exist in Rotorua almost eight months after the election and with Covid-19 the district needs competent, experienced and forward-thinking leadership more than ever."
Alan Tāne Solomon, who came 19th, said it would depend on when the by-election was because he was the Rotorua candidate for the New Conservatives Party in this year's general election.
Ryan Gray, who came 20th, said if Tapsell chose to resign, it would pave the way for someone else dedicated.
"I will be looking to stand again on a platform of ensuring Rotorua uses post-Covid-19 to build for the future, more housing, improved environmental policies, better roads and infrastructure along with working hard to see that Rotorua remains a beautiful place to call home while continuing to attract visitors and investment so our people can thrive."
He said many people would be gutted that someone they voted to represent them less than a year ago was leaving to represent a different part of New Zealand.
"However the writing has been on the wall that Tapsell is destined for bigger things and I wish Tapsell well in furthering her political career; the National Party needs all the help it can get right now and Tapsell is quite the catch."
Conan O'Brien couldn't be reached for comment and Oscar Nathan said he was unable to comment.
Final Rotorua Lakes Council 2019 election results for candidates who missed out:
Trish Hosking, 5961
Lachlan McKenzie, 5661
Peter Jones, 5328
Kevin Coutts, 5286
Oscar Nathan 5139
Conan O'Brien, 5072
Mark Gould, 4994
Matthew Martin, 4889
Ryan Gray, 4846
Linda Rowbotham, 4678
Rob Kent, 4153
Liz Carrington, 3874
Kaya spark, 3796
Brendan Davis, 3418
Shirley Trumper, 3148
Harina Rupapera, 2846
Alan Deverson, 2363
Bam Whare, 2065
Richard Collins, 1847