Heatley Goes, Whangarei Up for Selection

Phil Heatley has jacked it in after five terms as an MP. Phil is a good bloke but didn’t quite make the grade so got the arse from cabinet last year.

Five-term National MP Phil Heatley will retire from politics next year, he has confirmed.

The former fisheries, housing and energy minister will not contest the Whangarei electorate at the election.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of being an MP and a Cabinet Minister. It has been an honour to serve the people of Whangarei, the place of my birth, since 1999,” he said.

It was a privilege to serve in Cabinet for five years from 2008, he said. The 46-year-old was dumped, along with conservation minister Kate Wilkinson, in a reshuffle earlier this year.

Heatley said he was proud of driving legislative reforms for marine farming and passing the Crown Minerals Act.  

He took Whangarei from marginal seat status to a majority of 1934 votes in his first election in 1999, which grew to reach a majority of 12,447 in 2011.

Whangarei is a lovely blue seat that will attract all sorts of candidates. The early whispers are that Simon Bridge’s Westie brother Mark is seriously considering becoming a carpet bagger instead of taking one for the team and running in Te Atatu. Then there is fundy school teacher Mark Tan who missed out on the Northland selection and may have a crack again, and long time National stalwart Grant McCullum.

Of the three Grant is the most promising if he can over come “to the manner born” persona and a missus who wears the trousers and forced his withdrawal from Northland last time.

There is no dominant political figure in Whangerei so this selection will be brutal and all the party faithful will love the blood and guts….including me.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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