Rachel Boyack. Photo:Supplied.

Boyack to challenge Smith again at elections

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Rachel Boyack will be Nelson’s Labour Party candidate for next year’s election, saying that long-time National MP Nick Smith’s time is over.

“I committed after the last election that I wanted to run again,” Rachel says. “I feel like we have some unfinished business in the Nelson electorate.”

She was the only nominee for Nelson and was confirmed as the candidate on Monday. She says she is “honoured” by the commitment of the Labour Party.

In the 2017 election Rachel received the most candidate votes for a Labour candidate since MMP was instituted. She received 12,452 votes, or 30 percent of the vote, compared to Nick Smith’s 16,735 votes, or 40 percent. Nelson voted for Labour along party lines, but it is likely that Rachel’s vote was diluted by then Green Party candidate Matt Lawrey, who won 9,746 votes.

“I came in a strong second and reduced Nick Smith’s majority by 3000 votes,” she says. “I was really delighted with my result.”

Rachel says she is focussed on issues such as housing, climate change, water quality and the availability of decent jobs.

She says she is keen to keep a Labour government and will be campaigning to be a “strong voice” inside that government.

Rachel says recent polling suggesting a slide in some of Labour’s early glow was premature.

“Polls jump around. The way we are tracking looks really good and we still have a year to go.”

She lives in Nelson with her husband Scott and works as a health and safety coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of Nelson.  In her spare time, Rachel volunteers on the boards of Nelson Women’s and Children’s Refuge and the Nelson Environment Centre. She is also chair of Labour’s Policy Council.

Nick Smith says he is committed to running in next year’s election but has to wait the outcome of the formal process which concludes next week. He congratulated Rachel on her nomination but says her challenge will be explaining “broken promises” from last election, including a swathe of Kiwi Build homes that have not eventuated, and the “sharp rise in cost of living”.

Nick says that the party have asked him to continue as many senior MPs have retired recently and it was important to have the right balance between “new energy and experience”.

Rachel says: “I want Nelson to be a place of opportunity so that our young people can see a future in the region for them and their families.

“This means decent, affordable, housing and rewarding and satisfying work in a region that has so much to offer.

“It means protecting our beautiful environment to maintain and preserve it for future generations.

“And it means working to prevent family violence and supporting families to have decent incomes and opportunities.”