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Electorate chair ‘rattled’

Wairarapa farmer Mike Butterick [foreground] in discussion with Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott [centre], Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule, list MP for West Coast-Tasman Maureen Pugh, and David Holmes [in cap]. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Butterick ‘right person’ to hold seat for National

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Wairarapa National MP Alastair Scott was called to a Wellington caucus meeting on Tuesday night to participate in the party’s leadership election process – again – after Todd Muller stepped down on Tuesday morning.

Scott was involved in the same matter just over two months ago when Muller rolled then leader Simon Bridges.

Commenting on the sudden resignation of Muller, National’s Wairarapa candidate Mike Butterick said he knew Muller and his family, and what he had done was genuine.

“It takes courage and integrity to put your family and health first when you are in a leadership position,” Butterick said.

“Nothing has changed for me and my focus. In fact, what matters is right in front of us here, and that is building the Wairarapa and national economy up after the biggest crash since the Great Depression.

“My motivation is to represent Wairarapa where I have lived for a long time and brought up my children.”

With the election just over two months away, the party is in a position like Labour was before the 2017 election.

After a series of leadership changes Andrew Little made way for Jacinda Ardern on August 1 with the election held on September 23.

Her leadership brought the party up around 10 points in the polls and the rest is history.

But National Party electorate chairman David Holmes said the leadership issue was disappointing.

He acknowledged Muller’s resignation was likely health related but said he wanted the caucus to work very hard for the party now.

“They need to get tougher down there,” Holmes said. “It doesn’t affect us a great deal here, but I want the party headquarters to keep the pressure on the National politicians in the Beehive. They can’t go soft on them.

“I am a bit rattled and disappointed, but Mike is very focused on Wairarapa and we have the right candidate and the right person to be the MP.”

The party has just paid for and received more than $4000 of hoardings with Todd Muller on them.

They are now obsolete and took a chunk out of the election campaign budget.

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