New role for former campaign manager

Back-room party stalwart Liz Collyns has stepped into the spotlight to run for Labour in the Kaikoura electorate in the general election.

Ms Collyns has been a member of the Labour Party since 1984 and helped run the campaign for former Blenheim man Brendon Burns in his two bids for the Kaikoura seat in the 2000s.

Mr Burns, who is Christchurch East MP for Labour, asked Ms Collyns if she would stand for Labour in Kaikoura and she accepted after speaking to a few people, she said.

Kaikoura is known as a stronghold for National. In the 2008 election, encumbent MP Colin King received 11,000 more votes than his closest rival, Labour candidate Brian McNamara.

Ms Collyns was nervous but excited about giving it a go, she said. "The point is you're the face of Labour for the party vote in a very strong National seat."

She has been heavily involved in the community for more than 30 years, with health organisations, unions and trusts.

She is married with an adult daughter.

She was drawn to the party because it had vision, she said.

"They believe in fairness, they believe in trying to equalise unfairness and lack of opportunity. They believe in a diverse community, they celebrate diversity."

Ms Collyns is one of two Marlborough-based Canterbury Community Trust trustees, is treasurer for the Marlborough Community Workers Group and secretary for SF Marlborough (Supporting Families in Mental Well Being).

The election is on November 26.

The Marlborough Express