New Tauranga city councillor Clayton Mitchell is resisting
calls that he resign from the council if he makes it to
Parliament in the upcoming elections as a New Zealand First
Mr Mitchell, who was elected to the Tauranga City Council
nine months ago, revealed yesterday that he had put his hand
up to become the NZ First candidate for Tauranga. Mr Mitchell
believed he could juggle the demands of being a councillor
with those of being an MP.
"I think there is enough evidence of failures and success
that shows it is really down to each individual," he said.
He said he had put a lot of thought into it, had a huge
amount of energy and could do both jobs.
"I'm not saying it will be a skip in the tulips but it can be
done," he said.
However, Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said Mr Mitchell should
resign as a councillor if he became an MP.
"He has assured me he could maintain his council duties, but
if he is successful [in becoming an MP], my personal view
would be that he should resign," he said. "You have to
dedicate yourself to one job or the other, you can't do both.
"Despite Clayton's energy and enthusiasm, it won't work." Mr
Mitchell is the second newly elected councillor to announce
national political aspirations.
In March, Steve Morris announced his intention to stand for
National in the Bay of Plenty electorate. He was unsuccessful
and Todd Muller was named the candidate.
NZ First Mount Maunganui branch chairman Roy Townhill said Mr
Mitchell was one of three people who had put their hand up
locally for the position. A selection panel, made up of the
board chairman, the deputy leader and the party director, had
picked him yesterday.
Mr Townhill said Mr Mitchell's candidacy was likely to be
ratified overnight and the process was "a formality".
NZ First Leader Winston Peters said the selection process
"hadn't been completed"and he would not talk about the
Tauranga candidate until the matter had been discussed by the
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said it was good to see most of the
major parties represented in Tauranga.
Labour Tauranga candidate Rachel Jones said the selection of
candidates indicated an "interesting"election race.
Meanwhile, Moana radio host Pat Spellman has announced he
will run as the Waiariki candidate for the NZ Independent
Coalition in this year's elections.
The 23-year-old will join Brendan Horan, the party leader and
current Independent member of Parliament, who will stand in
the Bay of Plenty electorate, while former regional council
councillor Michael O'Neill will stand in the Tauranga
electorate. - additional reporting Ruth Keber
- By Anita Moran of the Bay of Plenty Times