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Scott calls time early

Alastair Scott. PHOTO/FILE

Scott praised despite lack of visibility

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National MP Alastair Scott is calling time on his political career, giving his replacement time to bed in for the fight to hold Wairarapa for National in the 2020 election.

Scott told National’s caucus on Tuesday he won’t be seeking a nomination for the next election, unaware that finance spokeswoman Amy Adams was doing the same.

Scott’s replacement won’t be Tina Nixon, the Wairarapa resident who is on the National Party executive, as she’s sticking with running for Masterton District Council in this year’s local body elections.

“I have to make a decision one way or another and I have made that decision for council,” she says.

Sources say some interesting people may come forward for Wairarapa, possibly from the electorate’s north, as the issues of land conversion to forestry, the state of rural roads, climate change and capital gains tax have politicised many, and brought members to National.

It’s a credit to Scott to signal his intentions early, as he  secured selection on April 25 of the 2014 election year after challenging incumbent John Hayes.

Scott is remembered for work on rail transport and the inland port.

“He was one of those guys who wasn’t as visible as he could have been but was a hard worker behind the scenes. That is the strength of him,” one insider said.

The seat has previously been held by Georgina Beyer but otherwise it’s been a roll call of men, including Wyatt Creech, Reg Boorman, Ben Couch and, back in the early 1960s, Haddon Donald.

National’s majority was cut to 2872 at the last election after Greens candidate John Hart urged people to give Labour’s Kieran McAnulty their candidate vote.

National’s electorate chairman David Holmes says he knows of people who are interested in the seat.

They will be vetted and the selection made by delegates from the electorate.

He says it will happen by the end of the year, but others say the candidate will be selected by September or October, and as early as August is possible.

“The electorate runs from Waipawa in the north to Cape Palliser in the south so it is a huge electorate. We will be going for a local candidate who lives here,” Holmes says.

He agrees Scott is not that visible but “by god, he does a hell of a lot behind the scenes”.

And there are still a lot of things he is determined to get sorted out before the end of his term, Holmes says.

Scott says the highlight of his time in Parliament was kick-starting the debate on drug-driving.

He says the government has admitted they do need to do something about it, and he expects to see a drug-driving regime in place in the near future.

Many people expected him to stay for another term, or even two, he says, but he’s decided to return to where he came from, which is working on boards and in business.

Scott says his early call “gives potential candidates a couple of months of free-thinking space”.

Being an MP was a massive commitment, he says. In one day this week he drove for four hours to two events in the electorate.

Scott still owns Matahiwi Wines, north of Masterton, which has been for sale.

Business Wairarapa thanked Scott for his support and willingness to engage with its members.

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