Nicolson to stand for Act in Clutha Southland

Don Nicolson. Photo NZ Herald
Don Nicolson. Photo NZ Herald
Former Federated Farmers' boss Don Nicolson is to stand for Act in Finance Minister Bill English's Clutha Southland electorate.

But Prime Minister John Key was quick today to rule out any Epsom style electoral accommodation that would gift the safe National seat to Act.

Act Leader Jamie Whyte this afternoon announced Mr Nicolson's selection to contest the seat which Mr English is giving up after holding it since 1990 when it was called Wallace. Mr English will take a high spot on National's party list at the September election, allowing young former ministerial staffer and former tobacco industry lobbyist Todd Barclay to stand there.

Asked whether National would consider pulling its punches in the electorate in an Epsom style deal to allow Mr Nicholson into Parliament, Mr Key said: "No I don't think we'd consider that in Southland".

Mr Nicolson, who farms near Invercargill downplayed any suggestion he actually wanted the seat anyway , saying simply, "I will be seeking the party vote in the Clutha Southland electorate".

Meanwhile, Mr Key told reporters this afternoon he expected to give voters as clear as possible an indication of any electoral accommodations National was considering pursuing at the election with three parties: Act, United Future and Colin Craig's Conservative Party.

He was likely to make an announcement on all three at once sometime in coming weeks to "give voters as much transparency about our thinking as possible".

- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald

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