National MP Carter steps aside

By Claire Trevett

National MP David Carter has decided not to stand in National's plum safe seat of Selwyn, saying it will help local party members put acrimony from the ousting of Brian Connell behind them.

Mr Carter was selected for the newly created electorate last year, but the selection was reopened after complaints from local party members that Mr Carter was parachuted in without giving others a chance.

Nominations for the coveted National seat in the South Island re-opened last Friday and Mr Carter said he was "confident" he would have won selection.

However, he said he was standing aside so a new face could bridge a division in the electorate after Rakaia MP Brian Connell's suspension from caucus in 2006.

Mr Carter said the National Party offered him one of its five list-only places, which made his decision easier. He expected a lot of competition for the seat and said he was approached by several people interested in running for it as long as he wasn't standing.

Names of possible candidates include Environment Canterbury councillor Angus McKay and Alex McKinnon, the nephew of former National Deputy Prime Minister Don McKinnon.

The seat takes in part of the current Banks Peninsula electorate and much of the Rakaia electorate, which is currently held by Brian Connell.

Mr Connell was suspended from National's caucus after confronting former leader Don Brash over rumours of an affair. He decided not to stand again last year after it was clear he would not be reinstated.

Mr Carter said his decision was prompted by acrimony toward him from supporters of Mr Connell.

"They feel he was poorly treated by the National caucus and I'm copping the blame for that."

Mr Connell said it was not only his supporters who were disgruntled about the initial selection of Mr Carter. He said there was widespread concern that the initial selection had not followed fair processes.

"I think David would be a worthy candidate but there are lots of others in the same boat and as long as it's a transparent process, the best man should win."

Nominations for the seat will stay open for two weeks.

- NZ Herald

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