Mixed results for Green party in Nelson

Matt Lawrey is flanked by family and supporters at his election party at Lambretta's in Nelson.
BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Matt Lawrey is flanked by family and supporters at his election party at Lambretta's in Nelson.

The Greens pulled fewer party votes in Nelson than in 2014, but candidate Matt Lawrey drew nearly triple the votes of his predecessor for the electorate tick.

Lawrey said the candidate vote was "by far and away bigger than anything the Greens have achieved before" in Nelson.

"I think the interesting part for the Nelson campaign is when you look at the local race, the Labour party candidate result was down 11 per cent on 2014, the National party candidate result was down 25 per cent, and our result was up 141 per cent, so I think that tells you what we've achieved."

Lawrey was joined by supporters and his campaign team at Lambretta's in Nelson on Saturday night, and said it was great to have everyone there.

"I think we shook things up and gave Nick a fright, and I actually know National Party people in this town who have told me that's one of the things they've appreciated about the campaign, they think we really made him work for it and they like that."

He said while some had questioned the decision to have two left-wing candidates, it came down to "how you view democracy".

"My view is if you have people who believe in a political party, and they want to support that political party, that's what they should do."

He said campaigning for an electorate also helped grow the party vote.

"In the end, the party vote is what counts and our campaign helped keep the Green party vote up and helped keep us in parliament and I think that would have been a disaster if we had actually lost our place ..."

The Green party vote in Nelson in the 2014 election was at 5381 votes, or 14.14 per cent of the party vote; in Nelson this election it was 6.7 per cent, which although down on last election, was still higher than the Green Party's overall result across the country this year.

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Lawrey said the controversy around Metiria Turei may have had more of an impact than he'd predicted.

"I think, looking at the final result, probably there was a lingering effect but I don't think it's that significant and I think what you see is a whole lot of people giving their party vote to Labour, and that hopefully will help us change the government which is what we set out to do."

 For Lawrey, it's back to the Nelson City Council table, a role he said he "loves", and he'll still be active on local issues including the Southern Link.

"5582 more people voted for candidates opposed to the Southern Link, that is Rachel Boyack, Sue Sara and me, than for the candidate who supports it, Nick Smith."

He said Smith "constantly exaggerates" the level of support for the Link, and that result might indicate that.

"We just wait with baited breath for the next phase of the Southern Link saga," he said.

Fellow Nelson City councillor Kate Fulton also missed out on her bid for Green MP, but in the West Coast-Tasman electorate.

However Fulton had not been campaigning for the candidate tick, but rather aiming to grow the party vote for the Greens.

"It's a pretty big electorate, and a huge job, trying to connect with so many groups of people over so many issues ... I have really enjoyed the experience of being part of a political party ... and realising I have a shared voice," Fulton said.

She said in local government she could often feel like a minority voice, but being part of the Green team had given her "more surety" in her work as a city councillor.

 - Stuff

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