Megan Hands is National’s new candidate for Rangitata

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Ecan councillor Megan Hands has been selected by the National Party to contest the Rangitata electorate in next month’s general election.

She was chosen after a final selection meeting at the Hotel Ashburton today.

Ms Hands, of Darfield, has spent her professional career working in agricultural and resource management consultancy and extension, helping farmers, growers and small business come to terms with ever-increasing regulation.

“I’m very excited and humbled to be selected as National’s candidate in Rangitata and I would like to thank local party members for their support,” Ms Hands said.

She said there was only a short time until the election and she would be working hard to make sure the electorate had strong National representation in Wellington.

Ms Hands takes the place of  Andrew Falloon, who resigned after it was alleged he sent images of a sexual nature to young women.

“Rangitata is a large electorate, from Rakaia down to Timaru, and I’ll be getting out trying to meet as many people as possible before September 19,” she said. “I care about this community and this part of the country, I want to see it continue to grow and thrive.

“With a strong primary sector base, Rangitata is well placed to help lead a post-Covid economic recovery. National recognises this and has already committed to build a four-lane expressway from Ashburton to Christchurch, including a second bridge over the Ashburton River.”

Ms Hands said people in the electorate were worried about the future and whether they will have a job and how they will support their family.

National was focused on supporting Rangitata, from backing Kiwis who had lost their jobs and were looking to start their own business, to backing existing businesses to take on another employee, she said.

Ms Hands grew up in the North Island and came south to attend Lincoln University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning.

She has worked as an agricultural and resource management consultancy,  co-chaired the Selwyn Te Waihora Water Zone committee and in 2019 was elected to Environment Canterbury. She has had long standing involvement in New Zealand Young Farmers, and is a two time regional finalist in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest.

Ms Hands and her fiancé Simon Morse live together on a lifestyle block with their son Jack and their two dogs.