Todd Barclay’s real problem: naïveté

Written By: - Date published: 5:30 pm, May 1st, 2014 - 79 comments
Categories: election 2014, national, spin - Tags:

There are those – like today’s editorial writer at the Dominion Post – who think that working for the tobacco industry at all is indefensible, and pretty much rules you out of seeking public office.

But I think Todd Barclay, and his political patrons, have committed a far worse crime: being a bit bloody naïve about how his professional background was going to play.

It doesn’t involve any specialist PR knowledge to figure out that a young man whose CV contains the words “Phillip Morris” is going to be criticised, if not downright attacked, for working for an industry which is generally perceived as having caused, and tried to cover up, the deaths of millions of its customers.

The obvious answer was to play by the Steven Joyce/Judith Collins rules and come out swinging. Take a leaf from the (first half) of Thank You For Smoking. Tobacco is a legal product! The industry has worked hard to ensure users are aware of the risks, but what about freedom of choice, eh? Todd Barclay has proven experience in a multinational industry! He doesn’t do things because they’re popular, he does them because he believes in freedom of speech. Every company has a right to representation!

And throw in some snide digs at the fun-hating Green Party. Try to paint Labour as hypocrites. Declare that your enemies are just jealous that they don’t have a bevy of young up-and-comers to refresh the ranks.

It’s not perfect. It’s an argument better-suited to an ACT party candidate. And it isn’t particularly believable. But it isn’t meant to be. Once you’ve worked for Big Tobacco you’re always going to wear nicotine stains.

And it probably wouldn’t have been too clever to trumpet such a philosophy while the country’s in the midst of a panic about legal highs.

But overriding all that, in the interests of Todd Barclay’s street cred, it also wouldn’t have looked so utterly out-of-touch.

Instead of being a Gerry Brownlee-esque “I make the hard decisions and won’t apologise for it, you simpering leftie schmucks” figure, Todd Barclay has let himself be painted as a vacuous, uncertain empty shirt from day one. He’s taken the John Key approach – make hand-wavey feel-good statements and hope no one pays close attention to the disaster capitalism behind the curtain –without Key’s unnerving middle-New-Zealand appeal.

There was never going to be any getting around the fact Todd Barclay is a tobacco man. National’s options were to rule him out as a candidate; figure out how to make his weakness a strength, at least so the voters of Southland can convince themselves their votes aren’t being taken for granted; or look like utter numpties who can’t predict a story and can’t manage bad news.

Given their history in government, it’s baffling that they went with Option 3.

79 comments on “Todd Barclay’s real problem: naïveté”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    CS is full of solid National Party locals who would’ve been considering standing…so I’d quite like to know why this young fella with several obvious political blemishes was handpicked by his sponsors and patrons…

    • It’s not the worst strategy on the surface: get someone in young in a safe seat and a few decades later they could be a disgraced Minister for Conservation.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Quite right. So why not get a politically ambitious 35 year old dairy farm manager in, someone raising a family and someone who would resonate with the electorate. Barclay is just a weird weird choice. Who does he know, who does his parents know, are questions which voters in Clutha Southland need to be asking.

  2. mickysavage 2

    I am stunned that they would give such a plumb seat to someone who is so inexperienced.

    And it is a sign of their arrogance that they would choose a Phillip Morris employee against Liz Craig who is seriously intelligent and dedicated. She would win a face to face exchange every time against him.

    Having said that I can’t see Liz winning regrettably but I can see the majority decreasing by a substantial amount.

    • “I am stunned that they would give such a plumb seat to someone who is so inexperienced.”

      Every non-MP is inexperienced. It’s difficult to get appropriate experience without becoming an MP. Even people generally regarded as ticking many suitable boxes don’t make it as MPs. Shane Jones for example. Others without much apparent background can fit the role well.

      But Barclay does seem an odd choice for Clutha Southland which makes you curious about why he was selected, and a big risk for National.

      • Pete, in my opinion you have wilfully misinterpreted mickysavage’s comment in order to make a snide remark about Shane Jones – who has been in Parliament for 10 years, so heavens knows what your personal definition of “make it as an MP” is.

        I do not want further comments from you to derail this post. If you wish to discuss Shane Jones, you may do so in the Open Mike.

        • mickysavage

          Good call Stephanie.

          My first response was “what the …”.

          My comment was about giving a plumb seat to someone so inexperienced. Sure people have to start somewhere. But in such a safe seat?

          And the reference to Shane Jones provoked a second “what the” response.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      The appointment of a corporate shill as opposed to a conservative means the Oravida party are risky risk takers f’sure Micky.

      • karol 2.2.1

        My question is still,”Why does this guy want to be an MP?” Doesn’t seem to have any great desire to represent citizens. And he seems learning business PR skills are the best skills a pollitician could have?

        • weka

          For Key and his ilk, politics is about power, how you get it and how you wield it. Nothing to do with representing the people.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      The real answers lies in internal power struggles in National

      By going on the list NOW English gets his own gumboot in as an MP. Thats one extra vote in his pocket!

      After all English has abandoned his electorate years ago, even when in opposition. His kids must be past school age now and hardly need to be dragged back to the sticks one or two times a month

  3. Hayden 3

    Naïveté, and poor taste in furniture.

  4. weka 4

    “Given their history in government, it’s baffling that they went with Option 3.”

    It’s arrogance. They think that they can do what they like and no-one will really mind. Which is kind of true.

    (it took an Australian journ on RNZ this morning to point out that Key is a liar. He did it indirectly, but he basically said that Key’s version of events regarding the drone killing of a NZ citizen was wrong).

  5. chris73 5

    I don’t think that someones previous employment should preclude them from running from office (or be criticized for it) as long as its legal

    For instance there are some out there that would think that:

    a former prostitute shouldn’t be an mp
    a bookmaker shouldn’t be an mp

    there are probably more occupations in ministers past that some people would think precludes them from being an mp but the problem I have with Barclays nomination is his age, hes just too young.

    Whether they be from the left or right someone in their 20s is just too young and inexperienced in life to be a minister (I’ll accept that theres always an exception to the rule)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Yeah nah.

      People who have no work experience other than National Party sinecures and drug dealing are poor choices for parliamentary candidates in anything other than rotten boroughs.

      • chris73 5.1.1

        I agree (well not the wording of course), he probably is a smart cookie but more work experience or running his own business or something for a few years and then go in around 10 years time would be better

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          No, he probably isn’t a smart cookie: low IQ predicts for right wing political beliefs, remember?

        • BM

          As an outsider he seems far too young for politics.

          The only thing I can think of is that that he’s demonstrated a real talent for ideas and lateral thinking to senior National politicians and they want him on board as soon as possible.

          • Hayden

            Surely in that case he’d be better off in an advisory role with an eye to standing him in 3 or 6 years; and based on his utterances thus far it doesn’t seem that likely.

            • BM

              Maybe they thought they may lose him.?

              Bit like Jeff Wilson getting picked for the All Blacks because the black Caps were trying to sign him up.

              Offer him a position before he takes up another offer.

              • Tamati

                Maybe, but why wouldn’t do a “Cunliffe” and go and work for some flash management consulting firm for a couple of terms? Earn himself some quick $ before entering Parliament. If he was so good, couldn’t he simply be assured a high list place when he returned?

                Sounds like a right royal tory stitch up to me. This guy is totally unqualified to be a member of Parliament.

                • Wensleydale

                  So is Simon Bridges, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped him at all. Sadly.

              • Hayden

                Offer him a position before he takes up another offer.

                Maybe, in which case you’d have to give him credit for having the balls to say, “look, I may be a 23-year-old numb-nuts who hasn’t achieved anything other than getting shuffled around some ministers’ offices and trying to flog fags, but if I don’t get the nomination I’m going to the Labour Party”. If that was what he said, of course.

                • McFlock

                  maybe they were afraid he’d leave the country after winning the Nobel Prize for propaganda 🙂

          • chris73

            Maybe but i think they made a mistake all the same

          • McFlock

            maybe he just parrots the mantra

    • Hayden 5.2

      Prostitute > Bookmaker = Currency Speculator > Tobacco Company Lobbyist

    • I don’t think someone’s previous employment precludes them either – the editorial writer of the Dominion Post does.

      However, when a person works in an industry which is obviously going to attract some comment on entering politics, and doesn’t have a good, consistent explanation prepared for it, they’re clearly lacking in some key political skills.

      And given that Todd Barclay will hardly have decided to run and get nominated without input from the current MP, it’s fair to question what kind of strategy they’ve chosen – or if they’ve bothered to choose one at all.

  6. Hayden 6

    Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030

    CDC Fact Sheet

    When working for an industry that kills more people in 3 years than the Holocaust did in 7, perhaps “it’s only a job” is a little bit close to “I was only following orders”.

    And yes, I’m aware that smokers choose to smoke, even though most start when they’re young and stupid, as did I.


    • Do we really have to Godwin the thread?

      • Traveler 6.1.1

        Just because Hayden used the word ‘holocaust’ doesn’t mean Godwin’s law applies. What Hayden wrote is factual and in no way means he’s lost an argument (as Godwin’s states).

        There is a book called ‘The Golden Holocaust’ subtitled ‘the cigarette catastrophe and the case for abolition’ by historian Robert Proctor that provides evidence of these figures. He’s also online, and worth a look. Surely you’re not going to suggest Godwin’s law applies to his work?

      • Hayden 6.1.2

        Referencing Nazis isn’t necessarily a Godwin. Imagine trying to fight WWII if you weren’t allowed to mention Nazis.

        Seriously though, the language reminded me of the Nuremberg defence, that’s all, as it might to other people, and this discussion is about the naivete of using that job as a useful stepping stone into politics, then defending that point using that language, i.e., of expediency in the face of what should be moral concerns.

        I thought the numbers were interesting too… (although I’m using the more inclusive figure of 12 million people as opposed to 6 million Jews).

        • Hayden

          and this discussion is about

          I should have said, “and I thought this discussion was about”; not trying to tell you what your thread’s about.

        • In the strictest sense, referencing Nazis is a Godwin:

          However I also find the comparison inappropriate because, whatever lies, spin, corruption and wilful marketing of a dangerous substance the tobacco industry has conducted, it is categorically not the same thing as a deliberate and sustained attempt to erase an entire culture(s) through imprisonment, forced sterilisation and execution.

          You can also make the “I was just following orders” comparison without it specifically referencing the Holocaust, as it’s an excuse used in pretty much every atrocity-committing situation.

          • Traveler

            Hayden said:
            “When working for an industry that kills more people in 3 years than the Holocaust did in 7, perhaps “it’s only a job” is a little bit close to “I was only following orders”.”

            There is a comparison. While the tobacco industry may not set out to erase entire cultures, their ongoing survival (despite existing knowledge about tobacco harm) is at the expense of human lives, resulting in the factual information above. And this continues.

            “Only following orders” are the words of Eichmann at the Neuremberg trials, documented by author Deborah Lipstadt, who reflects on Hannah Arendt, and the ‘Banality of Evil’.

            The tobacco industry defend their business, despite their deliberate role in producing these deaths. ‘The Banality of Evil’ concept applies to their justification of this.

            When discussing tobacco, a variation on Godwin’s law should be introduced:

            In the 21st Century:
            – any person or company disputing that tobacco causes death, and
            – who fails to account for the industry role in this, and
            – who states there is a ‘controversy’ surrounding these products,
            is most likely an uninformed citizen or a tobacco industry representative.

            What will the outcome of the September vote say about how ‘informed’ the Clutha-Southland constituents are about the tobacco industry?

            The industry Todd Barclay still represents (despite his resignation) rely on consumers ‘knowing’ these facts. But that doesn’t address the industry’s deliberate role. That’s where there’s a contemporary example of ‘The Banality of Evil’ also. A former UK MP put it: “They know they are selling death now…”

            Robert Proctor mentions this in his book. I would suggest Godwin’s law doesn’t apply, and that you introduced it, not Hayden.

            • Traveler

              One mistake I have made here, is concerned with the time difference between the Nuremberg trials post WW2, and the Eichmann trial in 1961. My apologies.

              If the harm caused by tobacco manufacturers is to be truly arrested and dealt with, it is important to move beyond this perception of ‘controversy’ (a tool they use to maintain legitimacy), and account for the similarities between the two examples, despite any conjecture about Godwin’s law. This means accounting for the similarities (such as ‘The Golden Holocaust’, by Robert Proctor).

              The reason: If not, needless suffering and death will continue. Consider how the following relates to contemporary defences of tobacco:

              “Arendt states that aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann was not driven by antisemitism nor psychological damage. Her subtitle famously introduced the phrase “the banality of evil,” which also serves as the final words of the book. In part, at least, the phrase refers to Eichmann’s deportment at the trial, displaying neither guilt nor hatred, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was simply “doing his job” (“He did his duty…; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.”


    • AB 6.2

      “I’m aware that smokers choose to smoke”
      Well, they sort of do, but choosing to stop is an entirely different matter because the product is intentionally made to be addictive.
      And all this silly nonsense about ‘choice’ doesn’t greatly change the ethical position of the seller.
      Offering someone the opportunity to make a choice that you know may fatally harm them, and indeed encouraging them to do so, is I suppose marginally better than forcing them to smoke at gunpoint. But not much better. One is direct coercion the other a deeply cynical deception.

      • McFlock 6.2.1

        So you’d be against bungee jumping and skydiving, then?

        • miravox

          lol McFlock. You’re logic is better than that, being a stats person and all!

          The of addiction and the probability of bad health outcomes makes tobacco and entirely different proposition to bungee jumping and skydiving.

          • McFlock

            Adrenaline junkies, for example?

            What’s the acceptable probability?

            somewhere between the two are high-caffeine sugar drinks. In favour of them?

            • miravox

              Are you playing devil’s advocate because you’re a smoker? I’m not – my mother was – burned badly in a fire caused by a cigarette down the back of the couch and lung cancer – still she survived to live on disabled. I’m the last person to play this sliding scale game with. Sorry.

              • McFlock

                No, it’s because it pisses me off how otherwise sensible people switch off their sanity whenever tobacco comes up. Especially as it is a capitalism issue, not a tobacco issue.

                Of course it’s a sliding scale. Tobacco might be the most serious issue, but do you think it will stop there? When the same techniques are already being used against fast food?

                Fuck, I’ve even read NZMJ articles where ASH folk have itemised their tactical template for other social attitude campaigns.

                • miravox

                  ” how otherwise sensible people switch off their sanity whenever tobacco comes up. “
                  I feel the same whenever a socially aware leftie smoker turns all neolib when their addiction is under fire (I’m not saying that is you -but I’ve seen plenty of people do this – just as I hope you don’t think I’ve switched off my sanity, I’ve explained why I won’t ‘do’ a sliding scale debate).

                  ” it is a capitalism issue, not a tobacco issue
                  Yes it is. I don’t happen to think that capitalists should be able to create a demand so they can produce whatever they like, nor should they be able to market however they like to hook any customer they like. However it’s still pretty difficult to ignore the level of harm created by tobacco.

                  “do you think it will stop there?”
                  No, I don’t – debate each of them on their own merits, within your own ethical and experiential framework.

                  • McFlock

                    However it’s still pretty difficult to ignore the level of harm created by tobacco.

                    Tobacco deliberately cultured and cured to be addictive as possible, aggressively advertised for decades, and accompanied with decades of deceit and fraud, all for financial gain.

                    debate each of them on their own merits, within your own ethical and experiential framework

                    But it doesn’t exist in a policy vacuum – each alteration creates acceptance and tolerance for the next step on the scale. There’s no clear ethical threshhold that needs to be crossed to continue down the slippery slope (as opposed to, say, the argument that a minimum price for alcohol was the same as refusing to give women the vote, which was raised in a recent discussion).

                    Meanwhile, the same capitalist system will simply repeat the process with other things – legal highs and asbestos immediately spring to mind. Cellphones are still up in the air AFAIK.
                    That’s not a neolib argument, it’s an argument that we need to consider things like making decision-makers in companies criminally responsible for the actions of their companies. Not worrying that someone 50 metres down the street smoking might give someone else lung cancer – that’s the sort of thing I mean about “switching off their sanity”.

                    • miravox

                      “But it doesn’t exist in a policy vacuum – each alteration creates acceptance and tolerance for the next step on the scale.”

                      Policy doesn’t exist in an ideological vacuum and that is why a person can link minimum price for alcohol with the vote for women. They’re ideologically opposed to both things, albeit they are completely unrelated moral/ethical stances to most people in NZ, I would hope. it’s a way of seeing the world, not a slippery slope, that’s the problem.

                      Should we hold capitalists to account for the products they produce and market? Yes. We both agree, and that’s an ideological standpoint. Where it gets tricky is how much freedom should people have to use dangerous products in the way they think fit. There must be some controls e.g. no smoker, alcohol user, bungee jumper (adrenaline junkie) should permit a child to take up their habit . No company that produces the above should be able to market or sell that product to a child, imo (the easy policy objective, that one). The question is then does the person being coerced as an adult understand the risks and benefits of the product and how much control should the government have to ensure that coercion doesn’t happen? The government has a responsibility to the public to work to minimise harm as much as possible when they know it exists. The questions are how do we agree on what’s possible and what is acceptable to the population at a given time? Your own ethics and experience will colour your views on that.

                      If a person down the road smokes, drinks or jumps with a cord tied around the ankles – do i care? Not really as long as they don’t coerce or endanger others (and don’t drop a lit cigarette down the back of a couch). There are societal risks in health costs, but to a large degree, that’s life.

                      Ideologically? I’m not a free-marketeer and I have socialist tendencies. For me, government policy should deal with harm minimisation, especially at the corporate level. A company should just be allowed to go and produce stuff with no concern for the environment, worker, consumer or society. As for individual products that can cause harm that we have anyway? I still want to treat them on their own merits, or lack of.

                    • McFlock

                      The connection between the franchise and minimum alcohol pricing was described as being a bit closer than just worldview.

                      I’d argue that the ethical threshhold that needs to be crossed from keeping the availability of a product but minimum pricing, and disenfranchising part of the population is (at the very least) the removal of political power.

                      I see no such threshhold between banning smoking in the street and banning KFC. If you can show one, I’d be reassured.

                      I do actually think that there is a line beyond which harm minimisation becomes absurd or even dangerous. A guy was recently killed in the men’s room of a Dunedin bar. Does that mean we should mandate that security cameras should be in all toilets? Hell no.

                      As for your use of “coerced” – pfft.
                      By that logic I could argue that (because nicotine addiction is physical) banning smoking in the workplace is discrimination on the grounds of disability.

                      And no, I don’t want a return to workplace smoking.

        • Hayden

          Well, they’ll only kill you if something goes wrong… Likewise driving, crossing the road, playing rugby, jogging (Jim Fixx!), sitting still, breathing etc.

          • McFlock

            Given probability of “something going wrong”, though.

            Tobacco companies are evil, yes – but that’s capitalism. Likewise car companies cover up defects rather than fixing them, and fast food companies make their food as “appealing” (addictive) as possible.

            I occasionally wonder what cannabis would be like if it had been in the corporate capitalism environment, rather than largely separated from it.

  7. Traveler 7

    The editorial you refer to makes a salient point in the second last paragraph:

    “One tobacco lobbyist in the National caucus might be an accident. Two begins to make National look like a party whose anti-tobacco stance is hollow and hypocritical”

    If what you say is true about Todd Barclay and those who chose him committing a far worse crime of being ‘a bit bloody naïve about how his professional background was going to play’, this expresses the role of the Clutha-Southland voters in understanding National’s motives.

    It also shows that despite the electorate chair’s claim that ‘they weren’t taking the seat for granted’, they are willing to risk the extent of constituent knowledge/ignorance about the tobacco industry in a bid to profit from a 16,000 vote majority, and the claim is therefore questionable.

    And one observation that backs up your post, and also agrees with the Dominion editorial:

    The September election will be approximately one year since Todd Barclay commenced his role with Philip Morris. That’s way too early for a candidate seeking selection for Parliament.

    • chris73 7.1

      Ok but how is this different to a bookie wanting to be selected for labour, I think gambling is a far more damaging vice then smoking but nary a words being said about that

      • Hayden 7.1.1

        You must be dead against the convention-centre-for-pokies deal then.

        • chris73

          What I’m saying is that someones previous occupation shouldn’t be held against them when entering politics but some people think Barclay shouldn’t be an mp because he worked for a tobacco company but no ones saying a word about the bookie

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Is it because he’s been sucking Big Tobacco teat? There was me thinking it was because of his associations with the Oravida Party.

      • Traveler 7.1.2

        @ Chris73:
        You demonstrate my point. This is a red herring – because there is no comparison in the extent of harm. You’re paying lip service to that caused by tobacco with your example.

        If there are voters in this seat who think like you, and others who attempt to encourage this mindset, that distracts from the point: Todd Barclay has worked for a global industry who know they are selling death, and downplayed his role in this. If a week is a long time in politics, how much damage has he done in 8 months?

        I just hope the constituents of Clutha-Southland are more informed than you, for their sake.

        Please tell me what parts of the Dominion editorial you can reasonably disagree with.

        • chris73

          Ok so tell me what legal occupations should preclude someone from a position as a politician then

          • Traveler


            You’re interpreting what I’ve said as saying Todd Barclay should not run, but I haven’t said that.
            I agree that he has every right to run in what is currently a safe National seat.

            However, his selection raises several implications for the constituents. Given his background, voters deserve to know what the reasoning of his selectors was, and whether he will be carrying a pro-tobacco stance into Parliament if he’s successful.

            Also, his comments about smoking ring hollow, as do the claims by the electorate chair they will not take the seat for granted. It appears that National are seeking to capitalise on the 16,000 vote majority regardless of the harm caused by his recent employer. That’s true, isn’t it?

            To paraphrase my earlier question:: If a week is a long time in politics, how much damage has he done with 32x that? (The 8 months for Philip Morris).

            Also, voters on the campaign trail deserve to know if he endorses the NZ legislative programme for plain packaging OR the stance of his recent employer. Since his former role entailed trying to derail this government initiative, there is a potential conflict of interest here. He cannot do both.

            You have not identified parts of the Dominion article you can reasonably disagree with.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.3

        NZ doesnt have any bookmakers !

        All odds betting is done by the TAB.

  8. Not Petey 8

    ‘ I now call upon the leader of the opposition to test me on my latin vocab. ”

  9. SPC 9

    The real story is that two National MP candidates have since university either worked for the National government (post 2008) in Wellington or Philip Morris.

    Shaw the candidate in Hutt South had the Philip Morris job 2011-2103 before returning to his handlers and his job went to Barclay.

    So who has their Philip Morris Corporate Affairs job now and when will they be declared a candidate for National?

    • Tamati 9.1

      I think you mean Christopher Bishop, who hasn’t official got the nomination yet.

      I don’t think there’s too much wrong with being a Parliamentary staffer before coming an MP. Many current MPs were at one stage staffers. You wouldn’t want to see a caucus full of them though…

      The warn you at Uni career services about taking jobs a tobacco companies. They tend to not look so good on a CV a few years later! Apparently they pay quite well though.

      • SPC 9.1.1

        It’s just the way National pose their candidates as having experience in the private sector and yet two Young Nats get fast tracked to become MP’s straight out of uni and use the same job to get “multi-national corporate” experience.

        • Tamati

          I’d be surprised if Chris Bishop wins in Hutt South.

          • SPC

            Me too, but National will consider someone in the Valley on their list to represent the National Party vote there. As Paul Quinn once did.

            If that is not Bishop, then he will soon be looking at a winnable seat in the City.

  10. freedom 10

    People seem to be focusing on the tobacco issue, fair enough, but looking at his study/work life to date it looks likely Barclay was trained for the TPPA environment National are driving us towards.

    • Traveler 10.1

      Great point. And tobacco is at the heart of that. It’s for that reason voters have to discover if he supports the Australian government in their case against tobacco manufacturers, or his recent employer. Good on you for mentioning the TPPA.

  11. ghostwhowalksnz 11

    For Clutha Southland, who were the other candidates in the ‘terna’ that Head office passed back for them to choose from ?

    BTW the terna ( 3 or 4 candidates) is the way the Vatican chooses Bishops

  12. Wyndham, George 12

    National’s Doug Graham’s son was the British American Tobacco conduit. He helped National sell $10k tables at fundraisers in Sky City. The Tobacco lobby would pay for the tables and fill them with anybody with a pulse.

  13. “Queenstown’s next MP looks like being the youngest in Parliament – but he has a lot to learn about the Wakatipu.

    Ex-big tobacco PR man Todd Barclay will be just 24 when he almost certainly wins National’s safe Clutha-Southland seat – which includes the Wakatipu – in September’s election. It has a 16,000 majority inherited from outgoing MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

    However, the Nats’ smoking young gun is clueless when it comes to who’s who in the Wakatipu – admitting this week he had no idea who the mayor or council chief executive are. In a Mountain Scene quiz, greenhorn Barclay also failed to identify Ngai Tahu Tourism as owner of world-famous attraction Shotover Jet, plastered over the media weeks ago during a visit by the Royals.”

  14. captain hook 14

    barclays problem is that he is a precious pompous half baked little twerp. i.e. just right for a national party safe seat!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 14.1

      Following in Bills footsteps too, left the paddocks behind and spent all his time in Wellington.

      BCom from Victoria, Parliament, Public Relations, Big Tobacco.

      Looking at the makeup of the selection committe from someone who was there:

      “As per party rules, the committee comprises the electorate chair, who chairs the meeting, four other from the electorate, who were elected at the AGM, two people nominated by the party president and two nominated by the regional chair.”

      From that you would have to say , out of 9 people , 5 were in Bill Englishs pocket as Deputy party leader they would do his bidding.

      You would have to wonder if any of the local selectors even recognized him from school days. Thats if he went to local schools and wasnt a boarder at St Bedes in Christchurch or St Pats at Silverstream

  15. Russell Tuffery 15

    Seems the Queenstown paper Mountain Scene already has it in for him with headlines like
    “Fag firm’s PR man to be Queenstown’s new MP”
    “Queenstown’s clueless shoo-in MP says: ‘Mayor who?'”

    Found this on his home town site
    “Todd Barclay won the nomination for the National Party on the first ballot.
    Some of you will remember Todd as a student at the Primary School in the late 1990’s. His parents, Paul and Maree Barclay owned the Four Square grocery shop and did the mail run.”

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