New face at the helm of the Coromandel National Party

27 Apr 2021

There’s a new face at the helm of the Coromandel National Party with Sue Edens taking over the role of chairperson for the next three years.

Mrs Edens was elected at the recent AGM and succeeds retiring chair, Lawrie Smith, who held the position for nine years. “Lawrie has been a very steady hand for the Coromandel National Party over the years. He never gets flustered, he takes everything that comes and deals with it with calmness and sound counsel. He has been great to work with for all our local National Party supporters and we’re all very grateful to have had his knowledge and guidance,” Mrs Edens said in tribute to her predecessor.

Coromandel MP, Scott Simpson, also acknowledged Mr Smith’s dedication and service as chair of the local branch for nearly a decade. “The contribution he has made to the Coromandel and to the National Party cannot be overstated,” he said.

Mrs Edens who resides at Opito Bay and has long connections to that area has been involved with the National Party “since the turn of the century,” playing an active role in the local administration and serving as vice-chair for several years. She said the timing was right to take on more responsibility. “I’ve always been a National Party person, I already attend all the conferences so have that knowledge that I can bring to the role. My business life has been very busy in the last few years completing a successful subdivision up at Opito Bay. That is now coming to an end so it’s a good time for a change of direction and a new challenge,” she said.

Mrs Edens said getting the membership more engaged in planning for the future direction of the National Party was important. “I think we need to be hearing more from our membership, so we are looking at things like bringing our smaller branches together into area groups with more events where we can get different thoughts and ideas being shared. From there we can feed that back to our MP,” she said.

The new chairperson wouldn’t be drawn on any further strategies to reverse the trend in the last two elections in particular that saw the National Party relinquish a hefty chunk of its party vote to Labour. However, she said the fact that the electorate had successfully returned their National MP to Wellington in 2020, despite the party’s poor performance, was testament to the work being done by supporters on the ground across the Coromandel.

Congratulating Mrs Edens on her election, Mr Simpsons said, “I am looking forward to working with Sue in her new role as I have done for several years through her capacity as vice-chair.”

Pictured: Outgoing Coromandel National Party chairperson, Lawrie Smith (on the left), with Coromandel MP, Scott Simpson, and newly elected chairperson, Sue Edens.