Watkins on Mitchell

Tracy Watkins writes:

National’s next leader may not even have put his hand up yet. Former police officer and hostage negotiator Mark Mitchell is emerging as the dark horse in what is currently a three-way race, even though he hasn’t yet declared his intentions. …

First elected to Parliament in 2011, Mitchell is a candidate in the mold of former prime minister Sir John Key, though they have very different backgrounds.

Mitchell arrived at Parliament with a successful career behind him and a to-die-for back story – he’s had violent confrontations with gangs and criminals as a police dog handler and member of the Armed Offenders Squad.

He was stabbed in the line of duty but after leaving police he sought out even more danger as a top international hostage negotiator, surviving a five-day siege in Iraq.

Mitchell set up the Threat Management Group to provide security to a logistics firm. It grew from 8 staff to 3,000 staff. He’s also been involved in over 100 hostage negotiations.

Mitchell and Joyce are yet to decide if they stand. The more candidates there are, the less likely it is that anyone can get 29 votes on the first ballot. So it could all come down to second and third choices.

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