Cutting it fine with candidate selection

Todd Barclay
Todd Barclay
The Clutha-Southland National Party candidate is not likely to be selected until mid-August, close to a month out from the September 23 general election.

A new candidate is needed to replace disgraced MP Todd Barclay who will not stand for re-election, despite winning a selection contest against Simon Flood late last year.

The MP announced he would not seek re-election for the National stronghold he has represented for only three years following a scandal over a recording he allegedly made of a staff member.

Party sources told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the pre-selection closes next Tuesday, following which a selection panel, including party president Peter Goodfellow, the regional chairwoman Rachel Bird, and a panel of locally-elected electorate representatives, will be announced.

The panel will cut the number of nominations to five, if there are more than five, and 100 delegates representing 18 branches and close to 1200 members will vote in mid-August.

Three meet-the-candidate evenings will be held in the electorate and the candidate will be selected at the last one.

In National Party selections, the electorate representatives have the most votes, unlike Labour selections, where head office has the final say on which candidate is selected.

It will be important for the electorate to select a candidate to heal the deep divisions caused by the factions who previously supported and opposed Mr Barclay.

Concerns were expressed to the ODT the selection was close to advanced voting papers being sent out, not giving the candidate much time to make themselves known to voters.

Interest is high within the electorate, but most people interested are not putting their names forward until the last minute, the newspaper was told.

The Dunedin South candidate in 2014, Hamish Walker, has previously announced his intention to stand for selection.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said he was considering putting his name forward for selection.

While Mr Baird believed he would be a good pick for the role, there was a potential detraction to his bid - his court appearance to determine the outcome of an effluent spill from his farm into a tributary of the Winton Stream, Fairfax reported.

A staff member's error led to the discharge. Mr Baird was expected to appear in court today.

The website shows nominations for individual electorates open on August 24 and close on August 29. Overseas voting starts on September 6 and advanced voting starts on September 11.


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