Don Nicolson’s race against Bill English: he is standing but won’t be busting a gut to beat him

Dunno why you would enter a race if you don’t intend to run flat out to win.

But Don Nicolson – it would seem – is doing just that.

The former Federated Farmers president was confirmed as an Act Party candidate a week ago.

Nicolson will stand against Finance Minister Bill English in the Clutha Southland electorate.

He will be the party’s farming spokesman.

The Dom-Post reported at the time the candidacy was announced:

“I’m very pleased to be standing for the party,” he said.

Standing, it should be noted. But not necessarily running, at least not to win the seat.

This was the nub of what he said in response to a question on Q+A yesterday:

PAUL Well, which we’ll talk about shortly. Are you going to beat, uh, can you beat Bill English?

MR NICHOLSON Uh, I’ve got no intention of beating Bill English, but if I can get some of that Clutha-Southland electorate vote for ACT and actually spread the word about ACT for a party vote round the country, I’m a very happy man.

But he should be given credit for revering his party’s leadership.

He sees them as gods.

PAUL Where would you expect to be on the list?

MR NICHOLSON Well, look, as high as I can be. Uh possibly that’s in the lap of the gods. There’s a board and a leader that are gonna make that decision. I don’t know at this point.

But it is no secret that Act leader Don Brash is aware that the party needs more young women and brown faces as candidates to more broadly represent New Zealand society at the election.

When asked about the gender imbalance in the party’s confirmed candidates, Dr Brash quipped: “I’m always uneasy about being asked if I’m courting females.

“We certainly do want to ensure that our list includes some highly competent, able women, and, indeed, some younger people, and, indeed, some people who are not European. We want the Act list to be broadly representative of New Zealand society.”

Age could be a handicap, too, which might explain why Don Nicolson will stand but might not run (although he should be a helluva lot friskier than the other Don).

The Herald noted that

…the addition of Mr Nicolson, 54, will do nothing to counter the perception that Act is the party of old white men – Don Brash, 70, John Banks, 64, John Boscawen, 54 – out of touch with contemporary New Zealand.

This could work to the advantage of Cathy Odgers, aka blogger Cactus Kate, a 35-year-old corporate lawyer who will be an Act candidate for the election.

Dr Brash would not confirm her candidacy yesterday, saying the list would be confirmed at the end of the month.

Personally, Alf regards Nicolson as a comparatively young buck.

Moreover he sees nothing wrong with age. Indeed, he has a strong view that with age comes wisdom, and that just a few minutes in Alf’s presence will affirm the truth of this observation.

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