Flood won’t pur­sue se­lec­tion

The Southland Times - - NEWS - MICHAEL WRIGHT

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.

‘‘I’ve de­cided I’m not go­ing to pur­sue it,’’ he said yes­ter­day. ‘‘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 na­tion 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 his re­sig- 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 to­day. 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 [on Tues­day],’’ she said.

South­land Fed­er­ated Farm­ers pres­i­dent Al­lan Baird has also pub­licly ex­pressed an in­ter­est.

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