National picks another tobacco man

Last updated 11:05 22/05/2014
Christopher Bishop
TOBACCO MAN: The National Party has selected Christopher Bishop, a former tobacco lobbyist, as its candidate in the Hutt South electorate.

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National's Christopher Bishop, a Beehive staffer and former tobacco lobbyist, will take on Labour's Trevor Mallard in Hutt South in the next election.

Bishop, a senior adviser in the office of Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, announced his desire to contest the seat when electoral boundary changes were announced last month making Hutt South more marginal.

Announcing his selection, electorate chairman Peter Salmon said: "It's time for a fresh face for Hutt South.

"Our communities need a strong voice that will represent us in John Key's National Party."

Bishop, who has worked for tobacco giant Philip Morris, said he was looking forward to the challenge.

Mallard held the seat with a majority of 4800 votes from National's Paul Quinn in the 2011 election, but the National Party says that under the new boundaries the majority would have been halved.

Bishop's nomination hit the headlines when Todd Barclay, who was still working at Philip Morris at the time, was selected as National's candidate for Clutha-Southland, one of the safest National seats in New Zealand.

Barclay, another former Beehive staffer, immediately claimed that he was anti-smoking and had joined the company to gain "real-world" experience.

Bishop, announcing his desire to contest Hutt South, also said his time in the corporate sector had given him valuable experience.

"I learned a lot, very quickly, about what makes business tick," he said.

"I believe it is important MPs understand not just Wellington and government, but also how government decisions affect business and economic growth. My time in the private sector has given me that knowledge."

Bishop, the 2006 Young Wellingtonian of the Year, was a competitive high school debater, and according to his website was president of the NZ Schools' Debating Council between 2008 and 2012, a charity that organises high school debating across New Zealand.

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