The Democratic Party will field a candidate in the upcoming Atiu by-election – but it looks unlikely to be Nandi Glassie.
Glassie, who was the party’s candidate for the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua seat in the previous election, has already fought incumbent Te-Hani Brown in two elections and two legal battles.
The electorate has been without an MP for much of that time, as the two exchanged fire in their fraught battle.
But now, with just a week to go until Glassie’s last chance at a return to Parliament, the veteran politician is reportedly ill and seeking medical attention in New Zealand.
Yesterday, the Democratic Party confirmed they would contest the by-election, but said they were still holding talks on who their candidate would be in the November 14 poll.
Glassie contested the seat in last year’s by-election, losing to Brown who had joined the government as an independent.
He then filed a petition alleging bribery by her electoral agent, her father Taoro Brown. The petition was dismissed in the High Court.
In a bid to overturn that decision, Glassie, a former health minister, filed an appeal last month.
But he later withdrew his appeal without any explanation. A source close to the party said it was due to his ill health.
The Electoral Office has announced nominations for the upcoming by-election will close on October 14.
Te-Hani Brown is expected to again contest the seat she has won twice. She has the backing of the government, in which her mother Rose Toki-Brown serves as health minister.
Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown claimed there some Democratic Party members were pushing for their party to not contest the by-election, in the belief it was “pointless”.
“In which case we would then not have to cover the cost of a by-election which I estimate to be around $10,000 to $15,000. If they decided not to field a candidate that would be a saving to the taxpayers, and we could have our candidate sworn back into Parliament.”