The Herald reports:
Chester is one of the loveliest people in politics and is a genuinely good guy. I’ve known him for around 20 years and will be sad to see him go.
There are also challenges mounting in other electorates – the Otago Daily Timeshas reported Simon Flood – a 52-year-old former Merrill Lynch investment fund manager plans to challenge incumbent Todd Barclay.
It is understood Flood was widely expected to get the selection in 2014 but pulled out at the last minute for family reasons.
Barclay’s first term has been blemished by resignations of long-standing staff and reports of disputes. He said he had full support from his party electorate. “There’s obviously a disaffected aspect of former staff members who aren’t too comfortable with change. But I’ve worked hard over the last two years or so and we’ve got a lot to show for it.”
Bill English, Barclay’s predecessor in the seat, refused to endorse either, saying it was up to the party to select a candidate.
However, other colleagues expressed support on Twitter – including Police Minister Judith Collins who tweeted she was “looking forward to supporting @ToddBarclayMP … in Dipton on Friday 4 Xmas” and Maggie Barry who tweeted she had spent time in the “Deep South” and “found him to be a very engaged, diligent and popular local MP”.
It is very unusual for a first term MP to be challenged. I can’t recall this having occurred before. But the National Party has a selection process in the control of local members, not the hierarchy, and anyone can challenge if they get enough support.
While a first term challenge is very rare, a number of MPs entered Parliament through challenging incumbents – such as John Key, John Carter, Judith Collins and Stuart Smith. Also MPs such as Nikki Kaye got in by defeating an incumbent List MP for the candidacy. So this is not unusual in National – except for occurring after one term.