Wagner pondering her future in Christchurch Central

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 07:52 09/01/2014
Nicky Wagner
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ
WINNING SMILE: A jubilant Nicky Wagner toasts her election success.

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Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner has sent out mixed messages about her political future, dropping hints she may quit, before vowing to stand again in a seat she concedes is "unwinnable".

She confirmed yesterday her decision would be revealed soon after Parliament resumes on January 28.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Wagner flitted from resolving to stand in the seat again to suggesting she might call time on her political career on her own terms instead.

Unfavourable draft electorate boundaries made the seat "almost unwinnable" for National. Wagner said: "I don't want to be a loser."

She followed that with: "I'm a Christchurch Central person and that is where my inclination is to stand."

Wagner, over three elections, gradually reduced Labour's hold on the Christchurch Central seat until the 2011 election when she won it with a wafer-thin 47-vote majority. But new draft boundaries have stripped her of some areas where National polled best.

Most pundits say the changes threaten National's chances of retaining the seat.

Wagner confirmed she would talk to National officials before announcing her decision.

"I"ve always been a list MP until 2011 so after winning the seat it would be really disappointing to lose."

Wagner, 60, said she had built her career "going forward and I don't want to go backwards", but admitted some politicians stay too long in the job.

"It's really tough for me because I enjoy what I'm doing and I think I add value."

When asked what her gut told her, Wagner was again evasive.

"My gut tells me I am going to be better off after the election. I'm either going to be better off in Parliament or better off in another job."

She doubted she would be high enough on the party list to be returned to Parliament that way.

"I have to get my head around how I can be the best MP for Christchurch Central with the fact the boundaries could go against me. How do I prepare to fight an election I could lose?"

National Canterbury-Westland regional chairman Roger Bridge has said the Christchurch Central selection would happen after boundary changes were confirmed in late April.

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