20 Jan 2017

By-election possible for Nelson City Council

10:19 am on 20 January 2017

Nelson City Council could be faced with a by-election this year with councillors announcing plans to vie for a spot in the national political arena.

The Nelson City Council has made a move to encourage government offices to re-locate to the regions.

Two Nelson City Councillors hope to stand for the Green Party in this year's general election. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Second term councillor Matt Lawrey has been confirmed as the Green Party's candidate to stand in the Nelson electorate at this year's general election.

Third-termer Kate Fulton intends to seek nomination as the Greens' candidate for West Coast-Tasman.

Mr Lawrey joined the party last year and said he was prompted to stand because he believed the Greens had policies New Zealanders could relate to.

He has been advised by Local Government New Zealand he is able to continue as a councillor leading up to the election, but a by-election will happen if he vacates his seat.

Mr Lawrey said he was looking forward to campaigning against Nelson's long-standing incumbent MP, National's Nick Smith.

He said Dr Smith's entrenched support base would make it an interesting challenge.

"There are a lot of advantages that come with being the incumbent, but having said that, this year Nick Smith will have been an MP for 27 years - that's over a quarter of a century and I think Nelson's a place that's going forward and I think it's time for a change."

He and Ms Fulton belonged to a dominant liberal bloc on the previous council, which was diminished at last year's local body election.

Ms Fulton, who initially missed out on the final place around the table, was returned by a narrow margin following a recount.

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