Nelson MP Nick Smith with his home brew which he will be serving to delegates of the National Party Conference in Nelson this weekend. Photo: Andrew Board.

Nick ready to welcome National Party MPs

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The country’s top politicians are coming to Nelson this weekend and local MP Nick Smith isn’t worrying about the welcome mat, he’s got something bigger planned to welcome the National Party delegates – his own homebrew.

Nelson will host the National Party conference for the first time this weekend, which will see the entire party – including Prime Minister John Key – in town to discuss policy issues and host its AGM.

Around 600 visitors are expected to attend the conference. That will include members of parliament, party board, diplomats, national media and even protestors.

Nelson MP Nick Smith says it has been months in the planning and along with the usual business of the weekend he has some special events planned for the MPs while in Nelson.

Among the events is a visit to WOW, the opening of an exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum on former Nelson Prime Minister Keith Holyoake and a beer tasting evening where Nick’s own home brew, dubbed “True Blue Home Brew” will be displayed.

“Nelson is a world leader in hop exports and deservedly has the title of being New Zealand’s craft brewing capital. This tasting evening will highlight the talent of our local brewers. My home brew will help convince my colleagues that I need to stick to my day job,” he joked.

The conference will be the first major event to be held at the Rutherford Hotel’s new conference centre. “This is a big deal for Nelson. It’s the first time in the party’s 77-year history that its national conference has been staged in our region and one of the few times that it’s been held outside of the main centres.”

Nick says dozens of party volunteers are involved in both the organisation and staging of the conference.

“The volunteer effort has been huge. Volunteer caterers are providing nibbles and snacks. Others are making up conference packs that promote Nelson and our produce.”