Bodies on the line in MPs' bet
Smith strips if Gigatown support dipsBILL MOORE
Nelson MP Nick Smith and his Waitaki counterpart Jacqui Dean are accustomed to pressing the flesh but one of them will be exposing it in public and online come the end of the year.
Smith hopes it won't be him.
"I really need Nelson to pull out all stops as they do not want to see me wearing my togs in Trafalgar St," he said.
Dean has a similar view: "I don't think that Wanaka is ever going to be ready to see me in a bikini, not now, not ever."
The National Party pair, with an eye on pre-election publicity, are backing their electorates in the Gigatown competition, which is currently led by Wanaka, with Nelson holding third behind Timaru.
They've pledged to take a "selfie" wearing their togs on the town's main street and posting on their website or Facebook if their town is pipped.
If neither town makes the final top five, to be selected at the the end of September, they'll both be stripping.
Oamaru-based Dean, in Nelson yesterday for a whistlestop tour in her role as parliamentary private secretary for tourism, was only able to produce her bikini top and first told the Nelson Mail that "there is no rest of it". She later said she could find the bottom half "if I had to", but wouldn't need to.
"It has been dragged up from my very distant past and I'm absolutely confident that I won't have to don it. Wanaka is leading at the moment and we intend to stay that way."
It was, however, "an absolutely rash and foolish bet".
Both are regular swimmers. Smith said he used the Richmond Pool often, aiming to reduce his weight.
"I'm trying to do it a bit more at the moment, because it's going backwards, and people don't vote for overweight people."
Dean said she swam weekly, but in "a very sensible black thing which I didn't think was stylistically up to the challenge".
Gigatown is a nationwide contest run by Chorus NZ, and encourages teams to complete multimedia challenges and spread the hashtag #GigatownNSN across social media in return for points. The town with the greatest number of points by New Year's Day will be rewarded with an ultrafast broadband internet connection.
In a joint statement Smith and Dean said they were "hugely proud" that Wanaka and Nelson were in the top five.
"Nelson and Wanaka are isolated geographically but the beauty of ultrafast broadband is the new economic and social opportunities it opens up."
Smith said his campaign team was "terrified a selfie in my togs will cost me votes". He needed businesses posting YouTube messages, signups to Gigatown's Facebook page and as much use as possible of the hashtag #GigatownNSN.
"My wife and children are so worried that they have joined me in helping Nelson win Gigatown."
- The Nelson Mail
Does Nelson deserve to be classed as a city?Related story: (See story)