Otago locals react to National candidate Stephen Jack's resignation after social media controversy

The National Party's candidate selection process is again under the spotlight tonight, with its Taieri candidate resigning over Facebook posts leader Christopher Luxon's labelled offensive and sexist.

Stephen Jack's political career went up in flames after just 28 days. 

Another one bites the dust, add now former Taieri candidate Stephen Jack to National's recent list of disgraced candidates.

It's the sort of stuff Luxon's been desperate to cut out. He was keen to talk economy at a Hawke's Bay food rescue, instead drawn into another selection bungle. 

"From my perspective as a father of a 21-year-old daughter, I found those comments crass and offensive and sexist and it's a good thing that he's resigned," Luxon said.

Strike one for Jack was sharing a video containing an offensive joke about young women. 

Strike two was disseminating a poem, comparing then-PM Jacinda Ardern to Adolf Hitler. 

The posts were either not picked up, or glossed over by National's beefed-up selection process.

"We've interviewed and vetted over hundreds of nominees and sure we, I think, there's things the Party's learned from this process but I think the most important thing is that he's resigned," Luxon said.

The Nats have been troubled by selection slip-ups, in 2021 Jake Bezzant resigned as National's Upper Harbour candidate after allegations he posed as his ex-girlfriend online. 

At the time, now deputy leader Nicola Willis said this: "I think there is an opportunity for us to run the ruler over our selection process."

But that failed to stop National from selecting Sam Uffindell, the Tauranga MP investigated for past behaviour at Kings College and Otago University. 

"We've made some improvements, yes, you're right, we need to make some more," Luxon said at the time.

Those improvements failed to pick up Jack's Facebook activity but Luxon said they are picking the right people. 

"We've ended up with a much more robust process, and I think you're seeing that. I mean, we've got really high-quality calibre candidates coming into the National Party for 2023," Luxon said.

In the heart of the Taieri electorate, the majority say Jack got this one wrong.

"Integrity's so important, really, you've got to have it to be in a public position today," one local said.

"Bit surprised really. I thought he would've got past that. It was a bit of a minor hiccup, really," another said.

"Someone who's keen to represent the region needs to have a think about what he puts on social media," a third said.

The man himself not exactly contrite, supplying a resignation letter claiming a "careless", "orchestrated" attack.

Comprehension of satire, he writes, has been traded for "woke stupidity".