Is Mallard rooted?

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The consensus candidate for the best new National backbencher, Chris Bishop, is doing the hard yards in Hutt South against Labour party veteran Trevor Mallard. Bishop has had a very, very impressive start to his parliamentary career, but winning in parliament is no substitute for proving you are actually electable.

Prime Minister John Key visited Wainuiomata  recently to open an office for  National List  MP  Chris Bishop.

The Hutt South electorate has never been held by National, nor were the electorates of Pencarrow or Petone that preceded it before MMP.

But the seat could turn blue after the next election, Key told the crowd assembled for the opening.

He  said Bishop was a “hugely talented” young MP who ran a strong campaign against incumbent MP Trevor Mallard at the last election.

“Chris is the face of the future,” Key said.

If Bishop can win Hutt South he will confirm that he can win over middle New Zealand, and is a real force to be reckoned with. If he cannot win he will have the potential for the sort of meaningful career the unelectable Steve Joyce and Bill English have, but his influence will always be limited.

His opponents in National will tell him to bugger off because he isn’t electable, pointing to his election results, and probably back that up with polls that show he looks a lot like Joyce and English in the eyes of the voting public.


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