18 March, 2020
National selects North Shore candidate
The National Party has selected chartered accountant and Waitemata District Health Board executive Simon Watts as its candidate for the blue-ribbon North Shore seat.
Northcote Point resident Watts was chosen in a selection meeting of 60 party members on 12 March, defeating a field of four rival candidates, including former Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Joe Bergin and Kaipātiki Local Board’s Danielle Grant.
North Shore National MP and former cabinet minister Maggie Barry is retiring at the general election in September.
Watts, deputy chief financial officer at Waitemata DHB, was one of the unsuccessful contenders for National’s Northcote candidacy in 2018, when Dan Bidois was picked to contest a byelection in the seat.
Married, with two sons, he has a strong academic and financial background, having worked in private and public sector roles in the UK, New Zealand and Asia. He has bachelor degrees in management, accounting and finance, and health science. He worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland in London and, in various management roles, helped it survive the Global Financial Crisis.
He returned to New Zealand with his family in 2013 and took up a role at Counties Manukau DHB, moving to Waitemata in 2016.
He also joined St John as a frontline volunteer ambulance officer, and now coordinates other volunteers, as well as attending incidents.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has confirmed its previous candidate, Romy Udaga, will again stand in the North Shore seat.
This article originally appeared in the 20 March 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.