Attention turns to Mt Roskill

Now that Phil Goff has cruised into the Auckland mayoralty and will resign from his Mt Roskill electorate political attention has already turned to the by-election.

This has already anticipated by parties:

  • Labour have already selected Michael Wood to stand for them.
  • Greens have already announced they won’t stand a candidate, due to their Memorandum of Understanding, to give Wood a better chance of retaining the seat for Labour.
  • National list MP Parmjeet Parmar has been positioning herself to stand (but hasn’t been selected yet).
  • The People’s Party was launched recently and Rohan Nauhria has now confirmed he will stand as their candidate.

NZ Herald covers this and more in Another contender in fight for Mt Roskill.

The new People’s Party will stand in the upcoming Mt Roskill byelection caused by Phil Goff’s mayoral victory – targeting the 40 per cent of residents who are Asian.

Rohan Nauhria confirmed to the Herald that he will be running as a candidate for the People’s Party, which he also leads.

The businessman was one of the founders of the party that launched earlier this year, with the aim of attracting votes from the Indian and other Asian communities.

Nauhria said he would campaign in Mt Roskill on two or three issues, the first being law and order, with concerns among ethnic communities that they were increasingly a target for burglaries and other crime.

There have been claims (from the left) that the People’s Party has been set up to help National but competing for the large ethnic Indian vote may reduce rather than increase National’s chances.

Despite Goff winning Mt Roskill by clear margins National got 41.87% party vote to Labour’s 35.35% in 2014 so it isn’t a foregone conclusion for Wood and Labour.

In 2014 Goff won with an 8000-vote majority over Parmar but National got 14,275 party votes – about 2000 more than Labour.

Whatever the outcome it’s hard to know whether any indicators will come out of the by-election of what might happen in next year’s general election.

Andrew Little and Metiria Turei have applauded their parties successes in the local body elections, but similar successes in 2013 didn’t translate into success for either party in the 2014 general election.

Of course by-elections can do funny things, as happened in the last by-election, when Winston Peters won Northland. But that was under extraordinary circumstances with National’s incumbent MP Mike Sabin resigning just after the election under a cloud. And Peters is far from an ordinary candidate.

Mt Roskill gives voters a chance to express themselves however they like, whether on national issues or on local issues. It’s impossible to know what they will end up deciding their vote on.

Unlike their Northland embarrassment a loss for National would be little more than nothing gained for them in Mt Roskill, although picking up an extra seat in Parliament would be significant, as it would give them their majority (with ACT or with Peter Dunne) again. So they will be keen to do well, but by-elections tend to go against parties in Government.

More pressure will be on Labour. The loss of an electorate would be seriously embarrassing for them. This will be a test for Matt McCarten in his new position as Labour’s Auckland campaign guru – he has had very mixed successes in the past.

It will be interesting to see how much Andrew Little injects himself into the campaign. He has to be actively involved, because a lot will be riding on the result for him.

Little also needs campaign experience. He has lost both his electorate campaigns in New Plymouth, so as far as Labour is concerned his by-election performance will be closely watched.

The People’s Party are unlikely to come close to competing with National and Labour but they could cause serious problems for both, depending on which of the big parties they suck votes off.

However the People’s Party will a have good opportunity to put the spotlight on issues of concern to the large number of Indian voters, so may get some wins via Government promises.

NZ First MP Mahesh Bindra stood in Mt Roskill in 2014 but didn’t do well, getting only 717 votes (2.15%). NZ First also got a relatively low 5.29%, and their anti-immigration rhetoric may not appeal to an electorate with many immigrants.

There will be a lot of interest in the by-election, amongst political junkies at least. Whatever the result is it will be interesting, possibly even fascinating, but it may ask more questions than answers about what may happen next year.

Leave a comment


  1. Pete Kane

     /  10th October 2016

    Wonder what Dr Brash’s Hobson’s Choice grouping would make of the People’s Party?

    • Pete Kane

       /  10th October 2016

      “National candidate selection for Mt Roskill by-election
      Saturday, 8 October 2016, 4:38 pm
      Press Release: New Zealand National Party
      National to open candidate selection for Mt Roskill by-election
      The National Party will open nominations to select its candidate for the upcoming Mt Roskill by-election next week”

      You would think it might be a bit problematic to turn Parmjeet Parmar down. Although if judging soley by her performance in the House, one might want to look a little wider. But of course, as said, that’s only one point of observation.


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