Fight over Roskill

Fairfax’s (Central Leader) restricted entry Mt Roskill by-election debate seems to have got a bit heated.

Newshub: Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate Michael Wood involved in bust up

Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate Michael Wood has been involved in a bust up with the partner of his National Party rival following a heated by-election debate on Wednesday night.

It’s claimed Mr Wood took exception to comments about his wife, Julie Fairey, from National Party supporters seated in the front row, which included National candidate Parmjeet Parmar’s husband.

“Excuse me, if I hear comments about my wife from the National Party front row, there might be some problems after this meeting,” Mr Wood is heard saying in a video from the event.

That man happens to be his opponent’s husband, Ravinder Parmar. 

It came after Parmjeet referred to the Labour candidate as a “yes man” because of his and his wife’s ties to Auckland Council.

Once the debate was over, Mr Wood allegedly delivered his promise – confronting Ravinder (Parmar, Parmjeet’s husband), as witnessed by National Party member Graham Collins.

“He was manhandling Mr Parmar, threatening him,” Mr Collins says. “He had his arms around Mr Parmar, physically. He definitely had him in some sort of hold,” says Mr Collins.

Mr Collins claims Mr Wood proceeded to threaten Ravinder by saying “you motherf***er if you mention my wife again, I’ll sort you out”.

Police officers intervened and escorted Ravinder away from the premises.

Mr Wood denies physically touching Ravinder, but admits there was an altercation.

“I approached the gentleman after the debate and made my views very clear to him that it was unacceptable. It was a fairly robust exchange.

“I didn’t touch the gentleman at all and I would not condone that kind of behaviour,” says Mr Wood.

Parmjeet agrees the debate was robust, and says it went very well.

“My opposition was a bit rattled. It looks like he couldn’t take the heat of the debate, I wonder how he’s going to take the heat of the debating chamber,” she says.

More from Newstalk ZB in Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate denies assault accusations

“There was absolutely no physical altercation between me and Mr Parmar, none whatsoever, the allegations I held him in a hold are utterly bizarre.”

Mr Wood is calling on Ms Parmar to stop the personal attacks on him and his family and focus on the real issues affecting Mt Roskill.

“Very simple – I just want their campaign to actually focus on debating about the issues. I’ve got no issue whatsoever with this being a very robust campaign if it’s about the issues that affect people here.”

Mr Wood said he is not a robot and if someone attacks his wife in a political environment he will respond to it.

However, Parmjeet Parmar told Larry Williams there was no attack on Mr Wood’s wife.

“If simply saying his wife is on the local board is an attack, then he is under more pressure than it seems,” she said.

Parmar said she didn’t witness the incident, but others did. She said Mr Wood lost it.

“It looks like my opponent is going to attack people that just state facts he doesn’t like, and that was a massive overreaction from him. An unacceptable overreaction from him.”

There could be a bit of tension in the campaign.

Meanwhile another candidate who wasn’t allowed by Fairfax to participate in the debate had a bit of a dig on Twitter:

If there’s going to be any fighting in this By-Election let’s make sure it’s for the people of Mt Roskill.

fightforroskill

 UPDATE: Video footage of the confrontation appears to show that what happened was overstated, with no obvious physical contact. If this was the only interaction after the debate then there was no assault.

Stuff: Footage shows altercation between Labour candidate and National rival’s husband

Raw footage of an altercation between Labour candidate Michael Wood and the husband of a National Party rival appears to throw cold water on claims of an assault. 

Wood is seen confronting his rival’s husband after the debate, who he accused of making comments about his wife Julie Fairey, the former chair of the Puketapapa Local Board.

Wood said since the confrontation, “basically I’ve been accused of criminal assault”.

He denies that he “manhandled” Parmar’s husband Ravinder, and didn’t do anything more than have a few stern words. The footage shows a small confrontation that is quickly quelled.

Wood said he was frustrated by the ongoing personal attacks by his rival and her supporters.

Labour leader Andrew Little has become involved.

…Little called a media conference on Saturday and said Wood had the right to defend his wife.

“What we are seeing from the National party seems to be a tactic of disrupting meetings, then lying about it and then trying to swap the story around because they don’t appear to have anything to say about those crucial issues.”

Different footage indicates there may have been minor but insignificant contact.

1 News: Watch: Heated altercation between Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate and husband of National Party rival