Labour chooses Problem Gambling man for crucial Christchurch seat

Wayne Walford
Tony Milne
Colin Craig: says would lose East Coast Bays if Murray McCully won't stand aside

Problem Gambling Foundation lobbyist Tony Milne has been selected Labour's candidate for Christchurch Central - a marginal seat won by National's Nicky Wagner by just 47 votes in 2011.

Mr Milne was formerly Jim Anderton’s Mayoral Campaign Manager and worked for Labour MP Tim Barnett when he held the seat between 2003 to 2008.

The former Labour Youth Vice President, stood for the party in Rakaia in 2002 and 2005, getting thumped by National's Brian Connell on both occasions.

In the safe Whangarei seat, National selected Shane Reti ahead of incumbent List MP Paul Foster-Bell. Mr Reti worked in general practice in Whangarei for 17 years, and was a member of the Northland District Health Board for seven years, before being awarded a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard, in 2007.

And in Napier - also blue ribbon - National has selected Hawkes Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO Wayne Walford, a business consultant and speaker with just a hint of a hippy ponytail.

Meanwhile, National's Murray McCully has said he has no intention of retiring from the Auckland electorate of East Coast Bays - at times mooted as a possible electorate for Conservative Party leader Colin Craig if National does a deal to help his party.

Yesterday, on TV3's The Nation, Prime Minister John Key said not decisions had been made at this point in regard to a possible accommodation for the Conservatives.

For his part, Mr Craig said would lose East Coast Bays to Mr McCully if the veteran National MP did not stand aside.

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