By HELEN TUNNAH
National's old-guard cleanout has swept aside another of its long-serving MPs, this time Hunua MP Warren Kyd, who had one of the party's biggest majorities at the last election.
Mr Kyd, a rural South Auckland MP for 15 years, yesterday lost National's nomination to contest the new and marginal seat of Clevedon at this year's election to Remuera lawyer Judith Collins.
He follows colleague Brian Neeson into National's political wilderness after the Waitakere MP in March lost the nomination for the new Helensville seat.
Both men have fallen to the new broom sweeping through National's caucus since party president Michelle Boag said last year that it might be time to replace some old wood with new talent.
Since then, long-time MPs such as Doug Kidd, John Luxton and Max Bradford have announced their retirements, while Ms Boag has helped to persuade former Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash and former party president Sue Wood to join the fray.
Ms Boag was at Clevedon to see Ms Collins win the party's nomination, ahead of Mr Kyd and the third nominee, pilot Ian Lupton. The seat contains much of Mr Kyd's present electorate, but is now more urban and multicultural - and Labour on paper.
In Hunua, Mr Kyd secured one of the party's biggest majorities in 1999, with a personal majority of 5195 - double National's party vote lead. He had hoped that personal backing would see him withstand the challenge, but it was locals who decided they wanted a change.
Fifty-six of the 60 delegates who voted in Clevedon were from the area.
Mr Kyd went quietly when told he had lost. Although clearly upset, he urged his supporters to unite behind Ms Collins to ensure National won the seat.
"It's sort of the end of an era and the new guard takes over," he told the delegates.
He told the Herald he would not get angry. "I'm not going to let myself get bitter. I would have liked to have done another term. I'm disappointed I couldn't. There's not much one can do. You just have to accept it and get on with life.
"I've represented these people well and I've had a huge majority, but they wanted something different and they've got it."
Mr Kyd said National had not come to grips with losing power after nine years in Government.
"They haven't looked forward enough yet and I think they're a bit despondent, which is why I suffered."
Ms Collins, 43, intends now to move to the electorate and is confident of her ability to represent the community. Her husband, lawyer David Wong-Tung, is half-Chinese and half-Samoan.
Also a candidate for National's list, Ms Collins said she did not consider herself a carpetbagger, without local connections.
"I have the skills that even though I haven't lived in the electorate I can represent it better than anyone else can.
"Obviously the people of Clevedon didn't think I was a carpetbagger, and nor will they."
Ms Boag offered her sympathies to Mr Kyd, and said she had not asked Ms Collins to stand for Parliament. "I was not aware Judith had ambitions to be an MP until she put in her nomination.
"I thought Warren's reaction was excellent. It's very hard for him.
"He's a very well-liked MP, he's done a good job, but it's a reflection of changes that are happening.
"This is democracy at work in the National Party."
By HELEN TUNNAH