Nelson City Councillor Kate Fulton to bid for Green Party's West Coast-Tasman seat
Third-term Nelson city councillor Kate Fulton is going Green.
Fulton has confirmed that she is seeking nomination as the Green Party candidate for the West Coast-Tasman electorate in this year's general elections.
She said while the last general election sparked the idea to stand for the Greens, Brexit and Donald Trump's American presidential victory spurred her into action.
"It was like I almost had this duty. I thought I have to start working with people who believe in alternative voice ... people who believe in humanity, really," Fulton said.
"For me, the pendulum has swung too far to the right and we have to find that strong Left voice again."
Fulton said at the time of last year's local body elections, the idea of running for the Greens was still "a seed", and it would have been too soon to declare intentions.
She said even now it was early days, with a formal selection process underway for potential candidates.
Fulton is the second Nelson city councillor to announce intentions to stand for the Green Party, with Matt Lawrey announcing in December that he would be making a bid for the Nelson electorate candidacy.
Fulton said with the Greens, she could see an opportunity to find a new voice to represent both environmental and socialist values.
She has a PhD in biomedical research from Cambridge University, and hoped her science background would stand her in good stead.
She had met Green Party co-leader James Shaw, and talked about the party's desire to grow its science base.
"There are no [Green] biomedical science MPs at the moment, so that PhD is coming in useful."
Fulton moved away from a career in medical research and back to hometown Nelson seven years ago, after time spent abroad. She had also studied medicine and midwifery.
She said it was her love of people that prompted the shift away from science research towards people-focussed medicine.
She said it was that same desire that led her to first run for the council six years ago.
"I have learnt so much about people, communities, and community wellbeing [while serving on the council]," she said.
If Fulton does end up as the West Coast-Tasman Green MP, she said she would step down from the council after six years' service.
"It feels like the right time to expand myself into a career at central government," she said.
While it was too soon to say what she'd campaign on if she won the electorate nomination, she said the overall focus would be on improving community health, the environment, and addressing the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
Fulton said it was an easy decision not to go head-to-head against Lawrey for the Green candidacy in Nelson, as she felt just as connected to wider Tasman and the West Coast as she did to Nelson.
"I would happily live in Golden Bay and split my time between there and Nelson," she said.
The official nominations for Green Party candidates will be confirmed in February.
There has never been a Green Party MP elected in either the Nelson or West Coast-Tasman electorates. Former Green MP Kevin Hague stood for West Coast-Tasman several times, but after failing to win the electoral seat, was elected as a list MP.