Kaikoura's King considers future
Kaikoura MP Colin King has yet to announce whether he will stand again for another term, but potential candidates to stand for the National Party to replace him are starting to line up.
Party sources say Stuart Smith, co-owner of Fairhall Downs winery and outgoing chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers, is tipped to put up his hand for selection, as is BNZ Blenheim senior partner and Marlborough College Charitable Foundation chairman Domenic Romano.
Other possibilities are Marlborough district councillor Jessica Bagge and Marlborough Research Centre chief executive Gerald Hope.
Under National Party rules, any National Party member can seek the electorate nomination. The next general election is in 2014.
Mr King said he would decide over the summer break whether to stand again and would make his intentions clear in a speech at the National Party's Kaikoura electorate AGM early next year.
"I'm enjoying the job and there are things yet to come."
He cited the passing of the legislation to put in place the Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Rangitane, the completion of the Kaikoura hospital project, and irrigation projects in North Canterbury.
"I've had conversations with the minister and he's agreed to free up the cash settlement for Rangitane. That's pretty positive. When we raise the income base of iwi, we deepen the investment opportunities for the region.
"Water is not flowing yet in irrigation for North Canterbury.
"Kaikoura hospital is very close, but it isn't quite there."
Mr King said there was lots in the pipeline, but the electorate was not yet quite where he wanted it to be. "So, we'll see."
Mr Smith declined to comment on the speculation.
"I would like to get the [NZ Winegrowers'] Romeo Bragato conference out of the way."
Mr Romano said he didn't want to comment.
"I am enjoying my role as Blenheim branch chair in supporting the party and Colin in the work he does for the electorate . . . Colin hasn't declared his intentions yet. It is way too early."
Ms Bagge said she was honoured that people might think her a potential candidate, but the electorate was too large for her, and her children were still young.
"Central government is not in my plans . . . I don't see it as my thing."
Mr Hope could not be contacted for comment yesterday.
- The Marlborough Express