Two wine industry stalwarts aim to make their mark in Parliament

Two wine industry stalwarts aim to make their mark in Parliament

NZLN - MPs - image - SmithThe 51st New Zealand Parliament is yet to be sworn in but, barring some electoral miracles, two wine industry figures will shortly be confirmed as new Members of Parliament. Stuart Smith looks to have comfortably won the Kaikoura seat (current majority 11.500) while Alistair Scott seems certain to have taken the Wairarapa electorate (current majority 6,228).

Neither man is likely to lose even after the special votes are counts. Smith and Scott will both be National Party electorate MPs replacing retiring veterans Colin King in Kaikoura and John Hayes in Wairarapa.

On his electorate website, Smith described himself as “a grape-grower, a husband and father” and specifically noted the importance of the wine industry to Marlborough and North Canterbury. Prior to standing he was deliberately apolitical during his 10 year term as a board member and six years as chairman of NZ Winegrowers. He brings a wealth of real world experience to Parliament.

Scott’s career path was quite different but in many ways echoes Prime Minister John Key (who has a financial interest in the wine industry). After working as a currency trader for Credit Suisse First Boston in London and Tokyo, Scott returned to New Zealand in the late 1990s and was determined to set up a state of the art vineyard producing wines mainly for export. In 2004 he founded Matahiwi wines and now more than 75 per cent of their wine is sold overseas.

Both new MPs take pains to stress they will be working for the good of their electorates – not just the wine industry – but it is positive to have people with an understanding of the wine industry and its issues inside Parliament and the Government.

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