MP says move will benefit rural constituents

Hamish Walker
Hamish Walker
A southern MP's move from rural South Otago to Queenstown will help him work harder and smarter, he says.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, who is the National Party's associate spokesman for agriculture and sits on the primary production select committee, announced the move from Warepa, near Balclutha, in an email to party members last week.

After the announcement, critics on social media raised concerns it reflected a move away from grassroots supporters in the region.

However, Mr Walker denied the move would "detach'' him from his rural constituents, and said in future he would be able to spend more time in the electorate "working hard for the people of Clutha-Southland''.

The move would allow for another 30-40 half-days in the electorate each year, rather than travelling to Dunedin Airport for flights to Wellington.

"This decision has been incredibly difficult as we love living in Clutha, but will result in more time being spent in the electorate.''

Mr Walker said he believed constituents would understand his reasoning, which was dictated by the challenges of "engaging'' with the country's largest general electorate.

"I travel huge distances to reach and connect with hundreds of small communities, and enjoy that diversity of engagement. Being close to an airport will allow more time for me to do my job.''


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