Labour backs Problem Gambling Foundation manager to win back Christchurch Central.

National's election-year overhaul of MPs and contenders continued over the weekend with the selection of Wayne Walford to contest the battleground Napier seat against former Labour list MP Stuart Nash.

Mr Walford's selection on Saturday to replace departing former minister Chris Tremain follows the selection on Friday of medical practitioner Shane Reti as the replacement for former minister Phil Heatley in the safe Whangarei seat.

Mr Walford, chief executive of the Hawkes Bay Chamber of Commerce, said National had delivered "real results for the Hawkes Bay" and strong local representation in the party had been critical in getting major local projects including roading upgrades "over the line".

"I'll be working hard to win the confidence of the electorate to keep that strong voice and continue delivering jobs and growth for Napier, Wairoa and the Bay."


Dr Reti is a Harvard graduate and former assistant professor at the Ivy League college. His candidacy in Whangarei follows a career in the health sector which included stints in the UK, the US and the Middle East and a strategy and economic development role with NZ Trade & Enterprise.

"It would be a great privilege to commit both my overseas economic development experience, and many years serving the local health sector, to advocate strongly for Whangarei in Parliament", the father of three and former Northland District Health Board member said.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Tony Milne, national manager of public health at the Problem Gambling Foundation, was selected as Labour's candidate for Christchurch Central on Saturday.

"I will be standing up for the urgent issues facing Christchurch Central now, such as housing shortages, EQC roadblocks and the need for good jobs and higher incomes," he said.

Labour president Moira Coatsworth said members and supporters were determined to bring Christchurch Central back to Labour after Brendon Burns lost it to Nicky Wagner in 2011 by just 47 votes.

She said the electorate needed "a powerful voice in Parliament".

New contenders
Wayne Walford: Napier
Shane Reti: Whangarei

Tony Milne: Christchurch Central.