Barclay foe Simon Flood not seeking National nomination in Clutha-Southland
The man who tried to dislodge Todd Barclay as the National party's Clutha-Southland candidate last year has decided not to run again.
Queenstown company director Simon Flood had been considering another tilt at the position after Barclay announced last month that he would resign at the election. The MP has been embroiled in a scandal following allegations he secretly recorded an electorate staffer in his Gore office.
Flood challenged Barclay last year – a rare move against an incumbent in a safe National seat – and was believed to have strong support outside the party's membership for another attempt.
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"I've decided I'm not going to pursue it," he said on Monday.
"Having been through the selection in December and not been successful, my family and I have basically moved on. The current circumstances were obviously a surprise to us. We've re-evaluated the opportunity but we've just decided that now is not the right time."
Flood said he talked extensively with his wife before making his decision. He had received "a lot of encouragement from across the party" about running again after Barclay announced his resignation plans.
Allegations of the covert recording and ructions in the electorate office first surfaced in early 2016. Flood said he challenged Barclay in December because he "thought the electorate deserved a stronger voice in Parliament". He would not be drawn on his opponent's subsequent demise.
"In all my dealings, even right through the challenge, I have worked hard to stay out of those issues. I have no intention of engaging in them now."
A former investment banker, Flood is now involved in the pharmacy industry, and has interests in several pharmacies in Christchurch.
Candidate nominations close at noon on Tuesday. Hamish Walker, who stood for National in the Dunedin North seat in the 2014 electorate, is the only contender so far to confirm a run.
Gore district councillor Nicky Davis, a nominee along with Flood when Barclay won the candidacy in 2014, appeared to be readying for another attempt.
"I've got my nominations ready to go. I'm just weighing up one or two things. You'll know tomorrow," she said.
Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird has also publicly expressed an interest.
A maximum of five nominees can run for the candidacy. Once they are chosen, "meet the candidate" meetings will be held in Queenstown, Balclutha and Lumsden ahead of a final meeting, likely in August, where party delegates select a candidate.
The general election is on September 23.