So far, no Nelson City Council candidates are planning on running in the 2020 general elections. Photo: File.

Council candidates stick to local government

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Rumours that several Nelson City Council candidates are planning on jumping ship to central government next year have been quashed.

Two current councillors who stood for the Green Party in the 2017 general election have confirmed they won’t be repeating their bids in 2020.

Matt Lawrey who stood as the party’s Nelson candidate has confirmed he won’t be standing again next year, saying he feels he can make his strongest contribution to the community as a city councillor.

“I’ve really come to realise that, more than ever, my heart is in Nelson and my brain is devoted to the place, too,” he says.

He will remain a member of the Green Party.

Kate Fulton has also confirmed she will not be standing for the Green Party again, after being the West Coast-Tasman candidate in 2017.

“I supported the Green Party in the 2017 elections as a candidate to try to change the Government, which we successfully did. I never had any intention of stepping down from my role on council.”

Mayor Rachel Reese has made it clear she only has her eyes on retaining the mayoral chains, despite rumours she may have intentions on standing for the National Party after appearing on MP Nick Smith’s 2018 newsletter donning a blue jacket.

“I do not belong to any political party. I am totally committed to local government and have made that very clear throughout my mayoralty, and nothing will change in the future,” she says.

Councillor Mike Rutledge has also confirmed he has no intentions to stand for National in 2020 after working part-time for Nelson’s National MP as an employee of the Parliamentary Service.

Councillor Brian McGurk, who is running as a Labour Party candidate for the council elections, has also said he is “strictly a local city council guy”.

“To be very clear, I am not interested nor will I be seeking nomination for selection as a Labour candidate for next year’s general election.”

Rachel says she hopes the next term of councillors will stay focused on the task at hand.

“I’d like to think that we could get through the next term of council with every councillor focused on their role to serve the people of Nelson and not use the role to pursue or promote a political party agenda.”