National candidacy race on

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Interest is building in the chase for the National Party Clutha-Southland candidacy to replace Todd Barclay.

Federated Farmers Southland president Allan Baird, Gore district councillor Nicky Davis and Dunedin businessman Hamish Walker have confirmed they are seeking selection.

Former Community Trust of Southland chief executive John Prendergast will neither confirm nor deny whether he has submitted his name for consideration.

Nominations closed at noon yesterday.

Mr Barclay will step down at the September 23 election following allegations he made secret recordings of a staff member at the Gore electorate office.

Mr Baird, a fourth-generation Dipton Valley farmer and an accountant, said he hoped he would garner the support of farmers and the wider community.

Allan Baird

He had worked overseas before returning home to the farm.

Mrs Davis, a long-time Gore district councillor, said she was keen to expand her political involvement.

She and her husband John had been members of the National Party for 15-20 years.

Mr Davis was campaign chairman for three terms.

Mr Walker, a Dunedin business adviser and former Dunedin South National candidate, confirmed he had submitted his name for the candidacy.

Hamish Walker

He declined to comment further.

National campaign communications manager Clark Hennessy said, when asked for the number of nominations received for the Clutha-Southland candidacy, the party did not comment on the details of nominations.

“There is still the preselection process to run through, which is a bit like vetting applicants for a job,” Mr Hennessy said.

A shortlist would be confirmed before the final selection was announced on the evening of August 16.