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

Greens would stand aside for Labour in Mt Roskill

Greens have announced they won’t stand a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election, should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty and resign from Parliament.

Stuff: Greens won’t stand candidate in any Mt Roskill by-election

The Greens will not stand a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election if Labour incumbent Phil Goff wins the Auckland mayoralty and vacates the seat, the party has announced.

The deal is part of a memorandum of understanding the two left-wing parties signed earlier this year – but the Greens say the move has “no bearing” on its plans for the 2017 election.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the party had decided not to stand a candidate in the seat “after several weeks of internal discussions”.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be closely contested, and we don’t want to play any role in National winning the seat.” 

Turei said the decision showed the success of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, which includes an agreement to co-operate in Parliament and investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

The party was making the announcement now to be clear with its supporters and the public, given the “considerable interest” in a likely Mt Roskill by-election.

I think the timing of this announcement is odd, before the results of the local body election are known.

The Greens risk a backlash over this – perhaps this is a deliberate test of what the reaction might be in advance of next year’s general election.

Last election Barry Coates stood for the Greens in Mt Roskill. He will soon replace Kevin Hague as next Green off the list in Parliament. A by-election would have given him a chance to raise his profile but he has to defer to a party decision to stay away.

The Greens may think that not standing in order to help Labour candidate Michael Wood will give them and their MoU with Labour good publicity, but it could just as easily backfire. I guess it’s best to test this now before taking a bigger risk in next year’s election.

ACT’s David Seymour is highlighting the change of attitude to electorate jack-ups by both Greens and Labour.

Mt Roskill arrangement shows hypocrisy of opposition

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

“The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

“Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Wood stood for Labour in Epsom last general election and has been selected as Labour’s candidate in Mt Roskill should Goff resign.

It will be interesting to see if ACT stand a candidate in Mt Roskill. That would give them more opportunity to bash Greens and Labour with a hypocrisy hammer – but it could also jeopardise the National candidate’s chances.

ACT didn’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill in 2014.