Election 2023: Labour announces businessman Mark Hutchinson as replacement for Stuart Nash in Napier

  • 20/05/2023
Here's who he is.
Here's who he is. Photo credit: Labour.

Labour has announced its replacement for Stuart Nash as the party's candidate in the Napier electorate at the October 14 election.

Businessman Mark Hutchinson will contest the seat for Labour, calling it "an honour" to be selected in an electorate in which he grew up, raised his three children, and built his business.

"I've had a career and built a business working closely with some of our country's most senior leaders on serious issues. This has given me an understanding of how to get things done both in the public and private sector," he said.  

"I am standing so I can take that experience and ensure Napier continues to have a strong local voice in Parliament and in the Chris Hipkins government."

Hutchinson grew up in Taradale, attended Otago University, and initially worked as a clinical psychologist in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. He then moved into organisational development and leadership consulting.

He returned to New Zealand in 2009 and consulted with clients like Fonterra, NZ Post, and Fletcher Building. He moved back to Napier 13 years ago.

Hutchinson replaces Nash, the current Napier MP who has had a fall from grace this year.

In March, Nash resigned as Police Minister after admitting to phoning the Police Commissioner about a court judgement. That's a breach of the Cabinet Manual as ministers aren't meant to comment on or involve themselves in prosecutions or sentencing

It later emerged that Nash had already nearly faced a contempt charge for comments he made about the killer of slain police officer Matthew Hunt. He was then demoted within Cabinet after it came to light that Nash had used inappropriate processes to advocate on an immigration case.

Nash was then sacked as a minister after it came out that he had emailed two donors about confidential Cabinet discussions in 2020.

Following that, Nash said he would stand down from politics at the election.

Nash said it was time "for someone else with passion and drive to step up".

"There are many many highs - and a couple of obvious lows - and I have made a number of life-long friends from both sides of the House as well as up and down this wonderful country," he said.

"I have had the privilege of serving in the Ardern Cabinet during the darkest of days, managing crisis after crisis after crisis, while driving forward an ambitious and progressive agenda of continuous economic and social improvement and transformation.

"While the work has been very rewarding, and both intellectually and professionally stimulating, it has also been incredibly taxing on relationships with family and friends. It's now time to address this balance."

Hutchinson said Nash had "set a high bar" as a local MP.

"I will bring my own vision to the job of being a relentless advocate for Napier to ensure the Government delivers for our people and communities," he said.

"But first, I'll be working hard over the next five months to earn the privilege of representing Napier in Parliament."