Labour confirms new candidate for Southland seat

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QUEENSTOWN native Jon Mitchell has been selected as the Labour party candidate for the Southland electorate in this year’s September election.

Mr Mitchell, who has a professional background in tourism and emergency management, was confirmed as his party’s candidate yesterday.

“We’re delighted to have a local, experienced leader as the candidate to campaign for Labour in the Southland electorate,” Otago-Southland Labour convener Ruth Chapman said.

Mr Mitchell has an uphill battle to enter Parliament; the former Clutha-Southland seat was won by sitting MP, National’s Hamish Walker, by 14,354 votes.

Other confirmed candidates for the seat are Queenstown businessman Basil Walker (Act), Joel Rowlands (The Opportunities Party) and Victoria Hoskins-Bonham (NZ Outdoors Party).

NZ First list MP Mark Patterson, who was based in the electorate until boundary changes moved his residence to the Taieri seat, has yet to confirm which seat he will stand for at the election.

Mr Mitchell said agriculture, water rights certainty and environmental protection were significant election issues for Southland.

“Supporting agriculture and employment for local youth, and encouraging even better land and water management are crucial in Clutha and Southland.

“The aluminium smelter dross issue must be resolved for Mataura and wider Southland.”

Tourism, health and sustainable growth were other significant issues, Mr Mitchell said.

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