Marlborough grapegrower and fourth-generation farmer Stuart Smith is to challenge sitting MP Colin King for the National Party’s Kaikoura electorate candidacy for next year’s election.
This is the second challenge of a sitting MP.
Former banker and owner of Matahiwi Vineyard Alistair Scott is challenging John Hayes in Wairarapa.
MPs should always be aware they have a use-by date and it’s better to retire gracefully than lose a challenge.
However, if they are as good as they think they are they can survive a challenge and be stronger for it.
Challenges can be messy for a party and cause problems within electorates.
But they can also invigorate them, bringing in new members and offering refreshment.
Prime Minister John Key and Justice Minister Judith Collins both won their seats after challenging sitting MPs.
Sometimes the challenger doesn’t win as once the challenge is public more contenders join the race.
This happened in what was then Wallace when someone challenged the sitting MP who decided to retire. Several others were nominated, one of them was Bill English who won the candidacy and the seat.
National selections are democratic – providing an electorate has enough members it is they who choose the candidate under a proportional voting system.
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