February 19, 2003

Vic Pollard takes on new vice-captain's role

Former New Zealand soccer and cricket vice-captain and deputy head of Christchurch's Middleton Grange School Vic Pollard has a new supporting role.

Pollard, 57, is the new Christian Heritage Party deputy leader, replacing Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, who resigned from the party in November.

Party leader Graham Capill said the CHP is "privileged" to have Pollard in the position, which is a temporary one and will be reassessed at August's party convention in Nelson, when a new leader will be selected and a committee will report on the CHP's future direction.

Leadership nominations run from Christmas to May, but Capill said only one man, not Pollard, has applied. Capill expects further applications by May, but did not want to pre-empt the decision on a new leader.

Vice-captain to Canterbury's Graham Dowling in the New Zealand cricket team to England in 1969, Pollard would probably have led his country in the West Indies in 1971/72 when Dowling withdrew with a back injury.

However, his Christian beliefs prevented him from playing on Sundays and he did not tour.

Pollard also led Central Districts to two Plunket Shields and later led Canterbury for a season.

At Middleton Grange since 1980, Pollard said he hopes he may enhance the CHP's chance of gaining representation in Parliament.

The father of five said there was a great need for Christians to take a lead in local and national Government in New Zealand society, "which is rapidly moving away from its Christian heritage."

Pollard said he was 100% behind Capill and the party's policies of family, justice and choice and would need some persuading to apply to be leader and did not want to speculate on his interest in leading the CHP.

"At this stage I don't want to say if I will or I won't (apply)," he said.

"I'm biding my time. It's a big job. It's tough in politics generally and particularly with the last couple of years the party's had."

Pollard, No 3 on the party list at the last election behind Capill and Raukawa-Tait, said he did not seek leadership, but "if it comes my way in my career or sport or politics probably less so and others see I've got giftings ... I'm not one personally who strives for that because I come from a Christian position. But if it comes my way I'd make that personal sacrifice."