Former Westland mayor to stand for National
Former Westland District Mayor Maureen Pugh has been picked as National's West Coast-Tasman candidate in next year's general election.
She is likely to go head-to-head with Labour's Damien O'Connor.
Pugh was first elected to the Westland District Council in 1998 and served two terms before becoming the district's first woman mayor in 2004. She stood down at this year's local body elections.
Her selection was confirmed at a meeting of local party members in Murchison on Saturday.
Pugh said her family had history on the Coast going back more than a century.
"It's an immensely proud day to have been selected by National to contest the 2014 election and given the challenge of winning back the electorate for the National Party. This region has massive jobs and growth potential and National has a good story to tell here. I am looking forward to getting out and telling that story," she said.
National Party Canterbury/Westland regional chairman Roger Bridge was delighted to confirm a candidate of "such calibre with such strong connections to the West Coast-Tasman area".
Pugh and husband John live on their dry stock farm in Turiwhate. They have three adult children and six grandchildren.
Before entering public life, Pugh balanced being a full-time mother with part-time work and a substantial involvement in community work.
Throughout her working career she has worked in many different fields from hospitality to school administration.
She is currently serving as a trustee or director of several groups including the West Coast Power Trust and the Pike River Memorial Scholarship Trust.
"I am a passionate West Coaster. This is where my family are from and this is where I have made my home. I want to be able to make sure that the issues that matter to us here on the West Coast and Tasman are represented inside the next John Key, National-led government."
Another National party candidate is expected to be confirmed later this week when the Kaikoura electorate makes its pick between sitting MP Colin King and challenger Stewart Smith.
- © Fairfax NZ News