Voters: It serves Connell right

By Jarrod Booker

Suspended National MP Brian Connell has received little sympathy from his Rakaia constituents.

"I wouldn't stand by him," said Rakaia postie John Nordqvist "He's been a bit too wayward this time. He's too disloyal for my liking."

Most of the people spoken to by the Herald on the streets of the National Party stronghold yesterday were unwilling to back Mr Connell, saying he had gone too far.

Mr Connell held the Rakaia seat last year with more than 57 per cent of the electorate vote and a majority of 10,448. But most spoken to yesterday said they would not vote for him if he stood as an independent.

The Rakaia electorate is a predominantly rural chunk of Canterbury, stretching from the Southern Alps to the sea. Mr Connell inherited the seat from former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.

He recently moved out of the electorate to live in Christchurch, which annoyed some constituents.

Rakaia housewife Colleen, who asked that her surname not be used, said Mr Connell had gone down sharply in her estimation recently.

"I'm very disappointed in him. I said the other day: 'I bet he gets dropped.' It serves him right. He shouldn't have done what he did."

Mr Nordqvist said Mr Connell's behaviour and reputation had deteriorated. "I think he should do the decent thing and pull his head in and become part of the team. I'm not saying he shouldn't voice his opinion, but there is a certain code of conduct."

Mr Connell's decision to confront National leader Don Brash about his alleged affair riled many.

"I wouldn't support him whatsoever because of his actions," said Bruce, a Rakaia contractor who asked his surname not be printed.

"Bringing up things about other people's personal lives, that's a no-no. Get on with doing the job."

Pensioner Janice Dent was almost a lone voice in backing Mr Connell.

"I can't understand why they are so angry with him. He stood up and spoke his mind. I think it is good when people express themselves."

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