Three months out from the national elections, three candidates have raised their hands for the East Coast electorate.
For the first time in 15 years, the electorate will have a new member of parliament, with sitting MP Anne Tolley not seeking re-election but remaining on the party list.
Rotorua Lakes councillor Tania Tapsell was named as the National party candidate over the weekend.
Tapsell will, so far, be up against Labour candidate Kiri Allan, who gained a list seat at the last election, and newcomer Jennie Brown from the Outdoors Party.
Tapsell said although she had some big boots to fill, she was up for the challenge and was very excited to be chosen as National's candidate for East Coast.
"I'm looking forward meeting with the hard-working people across all parts of our electorate and helping to ensure we see a National Government come September 19," she said.
Tapsell lives in Maketu, where her Te Arawa iwi is from. She joined the National Party when she was 16 and was elected to the Rotorua Lakes Council in 2013 at the age of 21. If she wins the East Coast seat she will have to resign from the council possibly forcing a by election that will cost $125k.
During the Rotorua Lakes elections, Tapsell gained more votes than the mayor, something she puts down to her hard work serving the community and delivering on her promises during her seven years as councillor.
She said her biggest concern for the future was building business confidence and rebuilding the East Coast with infrastructure.
Local councils have recently been concerned with the cost of upgrading three waters infrastructure in line with new Government standards and Tapsell said the Government should support local councils and communities with this significant cost.
"I'm coming into this with seven years' experience setting local policy and I understand first-hand the challenges facing local ratepayers," she said.
"I will be ensuring prudent spending of public money."
Tapsell said the current Government's policies demonised the agricultural sector and only a National Government could support farmers now and in the long-term.
Although she said the country should take pride in how it came through the Covid-19 crisis, it now faces an economic crisis that will require a different set of skills.
"We need the values and experience of a National Government to help guide the East Coast, and the rest of New Zealand, out of this economic crisis," she said.
Allan announced several weeks ago that she would be Labour's candidate for East Coast and has since been vocal and visible on the ground throughout the large electorate.
Allan is based in Gisborne and has family from Te Teko and Kawerau.
She holds the position of junior whip in the Labour Party and is a director of a company in the horticulture sector and an executive member of a national kiwifruit growers association.
She said the biggest issue facing the East Coast was the Covid-19 recovery, of which rebuilding a strong economy was key.
"A critical component of this is jobs, jobs, jobs," she said.
"This is critical for me and my background of working in the primary sector."
She said the measures her Government had put in place provided for the health and safety of New Zealanders, but it was now time to provide wrap-around support for those most affected such as local tourism businesses.
Part of this is the $1.6 billion trades and apprenticeships training package announced in the budget to support New Zealanders back into work.
Allan said this would help many kiwis train in a broad range of trades such as construction, engineering, and counselling.
Recently, Allan has been running a series of live Facebook videos called the East Coast Town Hall in which she speaks to the "movers and shakers" of the East Coast about resilience and how the region can recover and move on following major crises such as Covid-19.
She said she was on the ground during the Edgecumbe floods, the tornado in Ohope, Whakaari and now Covid-19.
"We've been talking about and learning how we endured and survived, they have been lessons in resilience," she said.
"Last week, I had Mark Inman on, who spoke about the tornado ripping apart his entire business and this week we will be speaking about learning to work differently following disruptive events."
Allan said the web series was part of the work she had been doing in parliament over the past three years,ensuring the East Coast was heard.
The two candidates from the major parties will be challenged by Jennie Brown of the Outdoors Party.
Brown is a preschool teacher and mother of two based in Gisborne.
She said she joined the Outdoors Party because she was concerned about her children's future. She said her party's policies included bringing the power back from Government into the hands of the people, promoting garden-to-table life skills, self-reliance, and sustainability.
"We don't approve of Government over-reach, such as when the Government allowed the police new powers to search your home without a warrant," she said.
"That was a huge breach of our human rights."
Brown said her party also wanted to support the primary sector as it supported New Zealand's entire economy, it also supported hunting and fishing and was against the use of 1080 and other poisons.
"I am going to listen," she said. "I will listen to the people who have been disenfranchised and who currently no one else is listening to. I want to create real change in our communities."
Brown has submitted a petition to parliament asking for it to stop the installation of 5G cell towers until the technology has been confirmed as safe. At the time of publication, the petition had over 18,000 signatures.
"If 18,000 people are asking for it, then the Government needs to listen," she said.
"Why are they rolling it out if we don't know it is safe. It needs to be independently tested, and if it is safe, then fine. But if it isn't, we need to know."
Brown encourages people to look up her party, read its policies and, if they are supportive, vote to have the power brought back to the people.