The decision by Wayne Walford, National's candidate for Napier, to stand down from his role as Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO is a good one.

This newspaper raised his dual role as a potential issue months ago, but it is good to see that Mr Walford has removed any possible conflict of interest in his campaign to replace Chris Tremain as Napier MP.

Mr Walford told us this week that it had become "more and more difficult" to do the two roles and maintain the integrity of the chamber role.

This is not surprising because there would be many functions that Mr Walford would have attended in both roles. Some people would have been confused as to who he was representing - the chamber or the party.


Mr Walford said it was always his intention to step aside from his role in August, but the opportunity arose for him to relinquish the role earlier and he took it. If he is unsuccessful in his political ambitions, he will presumably go back to his CEO role. I find it surprising that he wanted to continue until August because surely any candidate would want as much time as possible out on the hustings?

Earlier this month Mr Walford said his party's internal polling had him trailing Labour rival Stuart Nash by 10 per cent. Both candidates said they were only interested in the poll that counted, election day. However, Mr Walford will need to up his tempo if he wants to catch Mr Nash, who had a head start by announcing his candidacy early.

In the end it will boil down to who wants the seat more and whose message resonates with the voters. We shall see in September.