Resort pair in Nats bid

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Former Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden wants to take disgraced local MP Todd Barclay’s job.

She and ex-Queenstown councillor Craig Allan are believed to be among nine would-be National Party candidates for Clutha-Southland in the upcoming election.

Despite National MP Barclay’s resignation, following a secret taping scandal, the party’s candidate in the rural-dominated seat is all but guaranteed a safe ride to Parliament.

Two other possible Queenstown candidates, Simon Flood, who unsuccessfully challenged Barclay last December, and Wakatipu branch chairman Mark Wilson, announced this week they’re not standing.

It’s expected the National Party will whittle down the nine candidates to a maximum of five.

They’ll then face off in three meet-the-candidates meetings before a selection meeting in Winton on August 16.

To date, the only other confirmed candidates are Gore councillor Nicky Davis, Federated Farmers’ Southland president Allan Baird and ex-Dunedin South National candidate Hamish Walker.

Mountain Scene couldn’t contact either Van Uden or Allan yesterday.

Van Uden served two terms as Queenstown-Lakes mayor, after one term as a councillor, before stepping down last October.

In the last New Year honours list she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government.

In March she was appointed to the NZ Taxpayers’ Union board. The following month, Transport Minister Simon Bridges appointed her to the NZ Transport Agency board.

Meanwhile Allan, a fourth-generation Queenstowner, is understood to be the only other local candidate.

A long-time airport Customs Service officer, he was chairman of the Young Nationals in the late 1980s and later a local councillor.

Allan also put his hat in the ring three years ago.

That selection contest was won by Barclay, who that year became the first MP born in the ’90s to be elected to Parliament.

scoop@scene.co.nz