National party Clutha-Southland chairman Stuart Davie resigns
A third resignation has rocked National Party ranks in MP Todd Barclay's Clutha-Southland electorate.
The party's electorate chairman Stuart Davie resigned on Sunday evening.
He said on Monday it was "untenable" for him to carry on at this time.
Davie declined to comment further, but his departure raises further questions about 25-year-old Barclay's relationship with his staff and party members in his electorate.
Davie's resignation follows on the heels of Barclay's Gore-based senior electorate agent Glenys Dickson resigning this month, with a party figure saying it was due to an "employment problem" between Dickson and Barclay.
Dickson was a respected figure in the electorate and her departure is understood to have caused disquiet among many people in National Party ranks.
Barclay's Queenstown-based electoral agent Barbara Swan resigned in January, with Barclay releasing her resignation letter which said she had enjoyed working in the MP support role for the last seven years but now wanted to spend more time travelling and with family.
Barclay could not immediately be contacted on Monday about Davie's resignation but later released a statement acknowledging it.
"Stuart has been the National Party Clutha-Southland electorate chair since April 2013 and has worked tirelessly for the Party and the electorate during that time.
"He's a passionate supporter of the National Party and I'd like to thank him for his service and support since I became an MP in 2014. I wish him all the best for the future."
A new chair would be elected in the next few weeks, he said.
Last week, when asked if he had fallen out with both Dickson and Swan, he said: "No, not at all."
When contacted on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and former Clutha-Southland MP Bill English's office declined to comment on the matter.
Former Clutha-Southland Labour candidate Liz Craig said while she was not aware of Davie's resignation, a high turnover of staff within the National offices could have negative consequences for the "diverse Clutha-Southland communities".
The combination of a "first-time" MP and inexperienced staff in regional offices could mean people in need in the community would "slip through the cracks", she said.
"Clutha-Southland is a really diverse electorate. What you really need on the ground is really experienced staff members."