Nelson's Labour candidate Rachel Boyack celebrates a Labour-led government with her supporters at the Freehouse Pub. Photo: Supplied.

Link now off the table


No Southern Link and a life-line for Salisbury School is what a new Labour-led government likely means for Nelson.

The news of the new government was met with cheers from Labour supporters last week as they gathered at the Freehouse pub to watch the announcement come through.

Nelson’s Labour candidate Rachel Boyack says the Labour, New Zealand First and Green Party coalition will likely signal some key changes in Nelson, including not supporting the building of the Southern Link and supporting Richmond’s Salisbury School.

“There was clearly a mood for change in Nelson and that was replicated across the country. Winston has seen that mood for change.”

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First all support Salisbury School staying open.”

She says local politicians in Nelson need to look at easing traffic congestion in the city, without the Southern Link.

“What I would say about transport in Nelson, is that I think it’s now timely for the leaders of the city to sit down and look at the alternatives to ease congestion in Nelson. The solutions are there.”

“I’ve always said that the Southern Link doesn’t stack up because the health risks of more fumes going into that valley [of Victory].”

In Nelson, Labour won the party vote for the first time since 2005 and Rachel won more votes than any other Labour Party candidate in Nelson under MMP.

Green Party candidate and Nelson City councillor Matt Lawrey says he is looking forward to working with NZTA on reducing congestion in Nelson “sooner rather than later”.

“I call on my council colleagues who campaigned last year on building the Southern Link to accept the outcome of the General Election and to work constructively with the rest of us to speed up the long overdue building of a walkway-cycleway around Nelson’s waterfront.”

Meanwhile, Nelson MP Nick Smith blasted the formation of the new government, calling discussions “Mickey Mouse”, “shabby” and lacking professionalism.

Smith, who won the Nelson seat for his National Party at the election, says Prime Minister Bill English found out about which party Peters had decided to support at the same time as the rest of New Zealand.

He says negotiations between National and New Zealand First were “Mickey Mouse”.

He says he has worries for Nelson.

“We have major infrastructure needs, like roading that is congested or unsafe. I worry for important infrastructure like the Waimea Community Dam and our industries like forestry, aquaculture and fisheries.”