Lesley grew up in Kawerau, lives in Whakatane and is married to Walter with three adult children. She is affiliated to Tuwharetoa and Ngati Apa iwi and has a strong connection to the East Coast region.
Lesley has 35 years of experience in the tourism industry and corporate leadership. She worked her way up through the hotel industry from housekeeping to hotel management roles making her uniquely qualified as a practitioner and people management specialist. She founded highly successful inbound tour company NZ Educational Tours in 1992, a NZQA approved Private Training Establishment (PTE) and chocolate souvenir company. Over fourteen years the company won numerous business, environmental and sustainability awards, including Lesley being a HER Business-Woman Of The Year Finalist.
After selling the company in 2006 she taught tourism and hospitality at secondary and tertiary level before taking up her current position as CEO of the Tourism Export Council NZ in March 2011. Her role involves advocacy, lobbying and leadership, representing the interests of the tourism industry to government, and establishing a new generation of future tourism leaders with the Young TEC organization.
Lesley is not afraid to speak up on behalf of others and she will defend the right for every New Zealander to have warm, affordable housing, more spend in the pocket of everyday kiwis and a sustainable environmental future.
Kia ora koutou katoa! For the past six years I have been representing tourism interests in Wellington which has given me insight into how things work in the public sector. I have been increasingly discouraged at the lack of vision from government and in particular their freshwater ‘smoke and mirrors’ policies which offends the intelligence of everyday kiwis, especially regarding the importance of water quality.
That in conjunction with the growing divide of the haves and have nots is just not acceptable. While it is great that New Zealand has traded through the Global Financial Crisis as one of the better countries in the world, it has been at the detriment of our society with New Zealand now having some of the worse statistics in the world for domestic violence, teen suicide, inequality, water pollution, species extinction and climate change. Clearly, something is not working!
To protect our future New Zealand needs bold and courageous new tax, environment and social policies.
I believe The Opportunities Party (TOP) can help New Zealand become the first genuinely sustainable nation. We have the natural assets and people to make this possible, but we risk these assets being eroded by poor decision making, poor business practices and carelessness. We are better than the solutions that the Establishment parties present.
I’m looking forward to representing the East Coast electorate, the tourism industry and the people of New Zealand who are dissatisfied with the Establishment parties, and who want smart and sustainable policies where more New Zealanders benefit.