Don Brash to contest North Shore

NO. 1: ACT party leader Don Brash.
NO. 1: ACT party leader Don Brash.

ACT leader Don Brash has changed his mind about standing in an electorate and has picked North Shore as the place to do so.

The North Shore seat has already attracted media attention for National's candidate choice of Maggie Barry, a political newcomer and former broadcaster.

 Brash says Act's board  persuaded him to stand on the Shore and seek the party vote, where it believes it has strong support.

''It's a very important part of the country for us,'' Brash said. ''Originally I planned not to stand in any electorate because I felt it was important to travel the countryside to encourage the party vote, and I'm still planning to do that.''

He says he would be delighted if people give the party and himself the tick at the election but  he is primarily after the party vote.

Brash says he has ''quite strong links'' to the electorate despite now living in Epsom.

He lived on the North Shore for 17 years before going to Wellington to be Reserve Bank governor. Brash's children and their families live in Takapuna.

The former National list candidate and party leader has twice failed to win the East Coast Bays electorate as a National candidate.

He lost the 1980 byelection and 1981 general election to Social Credit's Gary Knapp.

His 1980 bid may have been hampered by Prime Minister Robert Muldoon's pre-election announcement of  the harbour bridge toll rise.

Brash says the prime minister told him he wouldn't announce the rise until after the election but the Sunday before the election he told the media.

He believes his 1981 bid was hampered by strategic voting by Labour voters for Social Credit. He was the third highest polling National candidate that year, he says.

North Shore Times