Todd Barclay entered Parliament as a National Party MP in 2014 with a landslide victory in one of the safest seats in the country.

Aged just 24, Barclay seemed certain to enjoy a Parliamentary career as long as he was willing to stand as the successor to English in the Clutha-Southland electorate.

Barclay was born in Gore in 1990, the first of the country's MPs to be born in that decade, and then raised in Southland's Dipton.

The small town was also the seat of English's support for many years, before he moved to Wellington. Barclay was born the same year English entered Parliament.


Barclay's parents Maree and Paul Barclay ran the local Four Square and post office before the family moved to Gore. He now prefers to live in Queenstown, and recently bought a house in Arrowtown, where the average price is more than $1 million.

After finishing Gore High School, Barclay went to Victoria University in Wellington to study for a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in commercial law.

He got a internship with English after emailing him out of the blue, and later worked for then-Prime Minister John Key and Cabinet ministers Gerry Brownlee and Hekia Parata.

He left those roles for a job with the public relations firm SweeneyVesty before becoming corporate affairs manager for the cigarette company Philip Morris.

He told Fairfax after his election: "The company's a legal company selling a legal product. No smoker, or non-smoker in the country can say they're not aware of the consequences of smoking and that they didn't know where to go to seek assistance if they want to quit."

Entering Parliament, Barclay took on the role of deputy chair of the Law and Order Select Committee.

His chances of retaining his safe seat were reduced after it emerged that police were investigating claims he had recorded staff working in his office. Several long-serving staff members for Barclay's predecessor English also resigned in quick succession.

But he survived a potential deselection late last year and was reconfirmed as National's Southland nomination. A number of sitting MPs rallied behind him during the nomination process, including Judith Collins.


Barclay suggested that he had been vindicated by his victory, saying it was robust and transparent, and that he had won "quite convincingly".