Greens out to unseat Nick Smith in Nelson

Nick Smith has held the seat for 27 years, but the Greens say it's time for a new MP.
Nick Smith has held the seat for 27 years, but the Greens say it's time for a new MP. Photo credit: Getty

The Green Party is eyeing up the Nelson electorate this election with hopes to unseat veteran National MP Nick Smith.

It's the party's first chance at winning an electorate seat since co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons won Coromandel in 1999.

Greens co-leader James Shaw says the party's putting forward an ideal candidate, local councillor Matt Lawrey.

"We've got in Matt Lawrey someone who has huge name recognition. He's been a media personality there for about 20 years, he's a two-term councillor, he has that rare combination of name recognition, the skills and experience and he's really liked in the area as well."

Mr Shaw says Environment Minister Dr Smith, who has held the seat for 27 years, is on his way out.

"Nick Smith has really come to embody over time the things that are wrong with the National Government. Locals who have supported him for many years have come to see that he's on his way out rather than on his way up and my sense is that there is an opportunity for a fresh new candidate.

"I have no doubt that it's going to be a really challenging campaign, Nick Smith is very strong, he does have a significant majority. But we feel that support is soft, and people are looking for a really strong alternative."

It comes after the Greens were bequeathed more than a quarter of a million dollars last year with the condition it was used in the Nelson and West Coast-Tasman electorates.

Newshub.

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