National

NT’s chief minister to have heart surgery

By AAP Newswire

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has entered Royal Darwin Hospital to have surgery following a heart attack last month.

Mr Gunner had chest pains while doorknocking voters in his electorate on January 18 during the heat and humidity of Darwin's wet season.

He was admitted to a Darwin hospital and took time off work in what was then described as a "minor heart scare" with no ongoing issues.

However, the following week, Mr Gunner, 44, announced on social media that after meeting with his cardiologist, he learned he had had a heart attack that was likely caused by a blood clot.

He would have "corrective surgery to plug a tiny hole in my heart" so there was no risk of it happening again and would return to work after taking a week off to recover, he said.

The Gunner Labor government has been under pressure during parliament's first sitting days of the year this week over the awarding of a controversial $12 million grant to the Darwin Turf Club for a new grandstand.

The tender went to a company part-owned by the turf club's chairman, Brett Dixon.

Mr Gunner's former chief of staff, Alf Leonardi, helped draft a letter for the turf club to lobby for the grant, the ABC reported after obtaining emails between the parties.

The NT election will be held in August this year.