Sitting MP Colin King has been passed over by National in his Kaikoura seat.
After speculation for months that King was in trouble in the seat, National confirmed this evening that it had selected vineyard owner Stuart Smith to stand at the next election.
"National’s selection process is highly democratic. Nothing is pre-determined and I congratulate Stuart for securing the nomination," said Canterbury-Westland Regional Chairman Roger Bridge.
"Stuart has been an advocate for Marlborough communities for many years and will offer voters a strong voice in John Key’s National Party at the next election.
"I also wish to acknowledge Colin King. Colin has worked hard as the MP and served these communities well over three terms."
King is one of National's lower profile MPs, which means he is unlikely to get a winnable place on the party list.
His deselection comes amid a rash of retirements in National's ranks as part of a rejuvenation drive.
In a statement National said Smith was a fourth generation South Islander, former chairman of the New Zealand Winegrowers Association, and a founding member and current chairman of the community-owned Southern Valley’s Irrigation Scheme.
Smith said he was "grateful for the confidence that the Party have shown in me tonight".
King, who was elected as the MP for Kaikoura in 2005, encouraged local members and supporters to get in behind the new candidate and help return National to Government next election.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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