Former United Future MP National candidate for Wigram

Former United Future MP Marc Alexander has been selected as the National Party's candidate for the Wigram electorate.

Mr Alexander lost his seat in the 2005 election when United Future was reduced from eight to three MPs.

He said today that he was selected about a week ago to be National's candidate in the electorate currently held by Progressive leader Jim Anderton.

Mr Alexander said he was stepping aside from his role as crime prevention spokesman with the lobby group Sensible Sentencing Trust as it was important that organisation remain apolitical.

He fought off another contender to become National's candidate for Wigram, a seat he said had changed under shifts in boundaries.

These changes meant the Wigram seat had lost parts of Mr Anderton's former Sydenham seat while parts of what used to be the Ilam electorate had been added.

Mr Anderton had spent some years as a minister, and would be 70 in January so retirement "must be looming large as an option" although that was Mr Anderton's call.

Mr Alexander said he had not considered standing for any other party apart from National.

After he lost his seat in 2005, he said he had not been a good fit with United Future and that being the only atheist in a religious group of people had put him at odds with the others.

"I was on the wrong horse," he said today. "It just wasn't my cup of tea."

He had been working with the National Party since the last election and said it was good to working with people "on the same page".

He was looking forward to being part of a National government, he said.

- NZPA

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