National’s Clutha -Southland candidate selection

National has announced it’s selection process for a candidate to replace Todd Barclay in the Clutha-Southland electorate. This is a very safe seat so is likely to be sought after by people wanting a relatively secure political career.

NZ Herald: National re-opens selections for Clutha-Southland seat

National has re-opened selections for the Clutha-Southland seat and already there are three names in the mix -including the man who unsuccessfully challenged Todd Barclay for it a few months ago.

The National Party’s Southern Region Chair Rachel Bird said nominations will close on July 18 and the candidate will be selected in August – leaving the new candidate between 4-7 weeks to campaign.

There are already three names in the mix.

Hamish Walker, 32, has confirmed he will seek the selection after standing for National in Dunedin South in 2014.

Walker has family in the electorate. Before moving back to Dunedin in 2014, he had a property management company in Auckland.

I’ve heard he may have an association with people on one side of the rift, if so he will have to manage that.

Barclay was from the electorate but had obvious difficulties dealing with established identities in the electorate (long standing staff) and with both Queenstown and Gore constituencies.

Simon Flood, an ex-Merrill Lynch investment banker, is believed to be considering it again after challenging Barclay for the seat last year.

He seems another odd option in a mostly rural electorate. Empathy and connections with high flying Queenstown are important, but so is a connection with the farming community.

Gore District Councillor Nicky Davis has also confirmed she is considering it.

She has tried before – she was a nominee when Barclay won the candidacy in 2014.

The person at the centre of the Barclay staff dispute, Glenys Dickson, is also a Gore District Councillor. Davis will need to be seen as either neutral or able to work with both sides of the bitter dispute if she wants to get support for the candidacy. She looks very much a Gore person so I don’t know how she would be seen around the largest general electorate in the country.

Whoever gets selected by National will havea lot of repair work to do in the electorate and for the party as a whole.