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True blue candidate selected

Mike Butterick. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Two months later than planned, Wairarapa National Party has democratically selected its candidate for the 2020 general election.

Mike Butterick of ‘50 Shades of Green’ will face off against other main party candidates, Ron Mark, Kieran McAnulty, and Celia Wade-Brown to keep the Wairarapa seat blue.

The electorate has been held by National since 2005, and National’s Wyatt Creech had it for four terms from 1988 before Labour’s Georgina Beyer took it from National in 1999.

Butterick said it was hard for everyone to have to wait for the covid-19 crisis to pass [when no selection meetings could be held], but it is “all on now”.

“We couldn’t speak out during selection which was tough,” Butterick said.

“But the whole campaign was very clean and honourable, and I thank Mark Bridges and Monique Kloeg for the selection events too. It takes a lot to put yourself forward.”

National was the only party to have more than one person interested in being the candidate.

It held many selection meetings around Wairarapa culminating in the final debate held at the Copthorne Solway on Saturday afternoon.

About 100 people were present.

David Holmes organised phone and internet voting.

Another 100 members watched the videos of the final selection speeches and the question and answer session from their homes.

Butterick went through with more than 50 per cent of member votes in the first round.

Wairarapa National Party chairman David Holmes said it was all go for ‘Team Wairarapa’.

He said the whole process had been “very graceful and good to build up the party ready for the election”.

The election is September 19, and there are only two weeks until spending by political parties on promotion is capped under Electoral Commission rules.

National has promotions booked now to get its candidate known.

Butterick is a sheep and beef farmer who began his farming career shepherding in Canterbury before moving to Wairarapa in 1990.

A few years ago, he and his family moved to Masterton.

He is married to Rachel. They have four children: Jack, 22; Annabel, 20; Emma, 19; and Charlotte, 16.

He said the biggest questions for Wairarapa were around water management and use and infrastructure development across the whole region.

“There needs to be some big discussions about priorities.

“Water usage is not just about farmers but the big businesses that use a lot of water and employ a lot of people.

“We have to make decisions that sustain businesses into the future.”

“Wairarapa now needs to work out what it needs and be clear to separate that right now from what it wants.”


  1. You may see some snide comments on here… given the absolute vacuum of support from our current National MP, people will be very slow to believe National might actually give a damn about the Wairarapa now. That’s not Mike’s fault, but he will probably bear the burden of it. And I don’t know Mike much at all, but I’m going to be pretty cynical about National here too.

    Having a current National Wairarapa MP who doesn’t live locally, who has said that Wairarapa house prices are affordable because “that’s what my discussions with Auckland friends showed”, who has stated there’s absolutely no homelessness issue in Wairarapa, and who has been practically invisible during recent months, doesn’t give Mike a great base to start from.

    I constantly have people I talk to assuming that Kieran McAnulty is our local MP. He even got announced as such a while back at the Volunteer Firefighters Championships, and had to correct the announcer. I get it: he’s incredibly active in the community and he’s a politician, and people just make the assumption.

    He’s not. People think he is because he’s doing what we’d hope our MP would do- work hard for us, both as a leader and a supporter of local endeavours.

    My request: regardless of how you vote on a nation-wide level, at the next election, pick the local candidate that you see doing the most good in our community, the one you see constantly fighting for a better deal for Wairarapa.

    Don’t just double-tick out of habit or reflex or some lazy “oh, that other candidate I see doing all that stuff is still just part of a turn-NZ-communist/mad-greeny conspiracy” thought.

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