Mark Mitchell doesn't buy Stuart Nash's reason for not fighting him in charity boxing match, says minister should get up earlier

By Anneke Smith of RNZ

National MP Mark Mitchell says he's disappointed Police Minister Stuart Nash won't go head-to-head with him in a charity boxing match.

Mitchell has asked Nash to join him in the ring in a Fight for Life event to raise money for the mental health charity.

Proceeds from the April fight will go towards Mike King's 'I Am Hope' charity supporting those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, he said.

But Nash isn't taking up the challenge, saying he's too busy helping his constituents get back on their feet to train.

"I think if the people of the Napier electorate saw me in a gym training for a boxing match when they were out there struggling and wanting help from their local MP they wouldn't be terribly impressed."

Mitchell said he was "really disappointed" Nash had not taken up the challenge and didn't understand his reasons for saying no.

"All he has to do is get up an hour earlier and he can use the whole time to actually highlight the plight of his own people down in Hawke's Bay."

Mitchell, whose brother killed himself, said he wanted to do the fight to raise funds to support those struggling with mental health in Hawke's Bay.

"People are starting to come off the adrenaline now and many have had their whole lives ripped out from underneath them.

"I just think Stuart Nash had a big opportunity to highlight that and support a really important charity that's down there now doing the hard work."

Asked who would win in a Nash versus Mitchell contest, Mitchell said, "Look, I gotta back myself of course."

Nash has denied being afraid to get into the ring with Mitchell, saying "I'm scared of a few things, I'm not scared of Mark Mitchell".