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National Party leader Todd Muller has refused to comment on an incident involving fellow MP Michael Woodhouse and a photo of a toilet seat with Dunedin MP Clare Curran's face on it.
Muller was in Dunedin today on his first visit as leader.
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He toured ADInstruments headquarters in the former Donald Reid Store in Vogel St this afternoon before fronting media on a range of issues including the Government’s border control measures.
During the short briefing, Mr Muller was asked to comment on the recent revelation from outgoing Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran that, in 2012, she was sent photos from the National Party's Mainland Region conference.
They included one showing Dunedin-based Mr Woodhouse posing with a blue toilet seat with her face emblazoned on it - a photograph she said traumatised her.
‘‘My focus is on pulling together an economic recovery plan for this country and so is New Zealand’s focus,’’ Mr Muller said.
Mr Woodhouse, who was standing at Mr Muller’s side, did not say if he regretted the incident when questioned.
He said he had made no public or social media comment on the incident in eight years ‘‘and I don’t intend to do so now’’.
‘‘My sense of New Zealanders - they want to see a fair play, a robust play, but actually they want to see the plans of a future National government, contrast it with the disorder of this Government, and make their own mind up,’’ he said.
‘‘I think that sort of stuff ends up being a distraction from the real issues.’’
Mr Muller did say he believed National would win the newly formed Taieri electorate, which takes in the former Dunedin South.
‘‘The feeling on the ground is fantastic; we’ve got a superb candidate in Liam Kernaghan, he’s from this area, and I think that’s important.
Labour’s Taieri candidate Ingrid Leary moved to Dunedin late last year.