Sylvia Wood elected as National's new party president

Source: 1News

Business adviser Sylvia Wood has been chosen to succeed Peter Goodfellow as the new president of the National Party.

National Party president Sylvia Wood.

The new president was revealed by leader Christopher Luxon at the second day of National's annual conference, which is taking place in Christchurch.

Wood, who occupied a seat on the existing board, has a background in employment relations and is based in Auckland. She has only been on the party board for one year.

The new president said the party needed to have an "obsessive" focus on the party vote going into next year's general election.

"Thank you to the board and to Christopher for entrusting me with the role of president for this next chapter," she said. "We must be focused on [20]23 [elections] and absolutely determined to win. I am very confident we are."

FULL VIDEO: Sylvia Wood named new National Party president

"We must take nothing for granted because there is too much at stake… our children are relying on us."

She was elected unanimously by the National's board. The party's rules mean the board elects new presidents.

Wood will serve as the party's 18th president after the retirement of longstanding president Peter Goodfellow in June. He was first elected in 2009 and gave his final address to conference on Saturday.

The now-former president said he would stay on the party's board for one additional term to "provide counsel" for newer board members.

READ MORE: National Party President Peter Goodfellow to retire

Goodfellow's re-election last year caused ripples after former Speaker Sir David Carter quit the board over his re-election.

Peter Goodfellow.

It came amid concerns about the selection process for candidates, amid turmoil in the wider party during the 2020 general election.

1News senior political reporter Benedict Collins opined that the election of a new president came after a turbulent time for the party.

"Goodfellow has increasingly become a controversial figure, and that's after the catastrophic defeat the party suffered in 2020 - where they didn't really raise enough money, but also had a horrendous ability to bring in misfits and deviants as candidates and MPs through the candidate selection process that the board oversees," he said.

"We had MPs sending pornographic messages, MPs leaking the private health data of New Zealanders to the news media."

On the party conference itself, Collins said there were expectations that Christopher Luxon would focus on addressing long-term unemployment during his upcoming address later on Sunday.