Parmjeet Parmar standing for National in Mt Roskill

In very unsurprising news it has been announced that current list MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar will stand for national in the Mt Roskill by-election. She stood in the same electorate in the 2014 general election.

She has joined Michael Wood standing for Labour to replace Phil Goff, and the People’s Party which was launched recently has confirmed Rohan Nauhria will stand as their candidate.

Greens won’t stand a candidate to try and help Labour, and ACT won’t stand a candidate to try and help National.

Over 40% of voters in Mt Roskill were born overseas. Immigration, law and order and housing are expected to be high profile issues.

The official announcement:

National selects Mt Roskill candidate

Parmjeet Parmar has been selected by the National Party to contest the Mt Roskill by-election.

Dr Parmar entered Parliament following the 2014 election. Since then she has worked as National’s List MP based in Mt Roskill.

“This election is about ensuring people in the Mt Roskill electorate have a dedicated local MP to stand up for their interests. I’m really excited to be running,” Dr Parmar says.

“Despite no Government ever winning a by-election off the Opposition, and the deal done by Labour and Greens for the seat, I will run a strong campaign to offer a clear choice to Mt Roskill voters.

“Mt Roskill is an area I’m passionate about because it truly reflects the best about Auckland and New Zealand. It’s full of diverse families who care about one another and work hard. There are a huge range of businesses, large and small, providing job opportunities for people from right across the city.

“Like any part of Auckland, it also has challenges. Local residents need an electorate MP who understands their concerns and advocates tirelessly for them to   ensure both central and local government is delivering results.

Dr Parmar says the National-led Government has worked hard to deliver more for Mt Roskill and her campaign would give a strong account of that work.

“From National’s strong economic management, to the comprehensive plan that is increasing the housing supply, to record investment in vital infrastructure like transport and health.  

“I’ve been working hard in Parliament for the people of Mt Roskill for the last two years, so this by-election is a fantastic opportunity to talk about the issues that I know people care about.”

Biographical Notes – Dr Parmjeet Parmar

Dr Parmjeet Parmar is a scientist, businesswoman, broadcaster and community advocate.

She was born in India and migrated to New Zealand in 1995. A proud mother of two sons, she lives in Auckland with her husband Ravinder.

Dr Parmar holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Auckland, as well as Bachelor and Masters degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Pune in India.

Prior to entering Parliament, Dr Parmar was the Operations Director of her family’s Auckland-based Kiwi Empire Confectionery, a confectionery and natural health product manufacturing enterprise. She knows first-hand the challenges of running a small business.

Naturally community-minded, Dr Parmar has also served as a Families Commissioner, a Community Representative on the Film and Video Labelling Body, and as Chair of the NZ Sikh Women’s Association.

 

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.

New ethnic party unnecessary?

Of course leaders of existing parties think that new competing parties are unnecessary – they want everyone to vote for them and not get distracted by some political interloper.

NZ Herald: Political party for Indian & Asian migrants angers Winston Peters

NZ First leader Winston Peters says a move to set up a new ethnicity-based political party for Asian and Indian immigrants is a “an extraordinary demand” which will harm New Zealand.

The People’s Party has been set up and acting leader Rohan Nauhria told RNZ it would campaign on issues such as crime and was aiming to get into Parliament by focusing on the Indian and other Asian communities.

The announcement of the People’s Party got a frosty reception from NZ First leader Winston Peters who said race-based parties were bad news.

“No country is going to progress if we have political parties spending time accentuating their differences. For people to come into New Zealand and say we’re going to start an ethnic-based party is an extraordinary demand to make.”

I don’t know how angry Peters actually is but this is pathetic.

One of the key aspects of political campaigning is accentuating differences. Peters does it all the time, that’s a reason why he has generally been successful for so long.

Peters seems to have a problem with immigrants becoming politically active. Does he want to limit voters and party starters to New Zealand born pensioners?

I haven’t seen the People’s Party making any demands. Like other aspiring parties they are offer themselves and people decide whether to support and vote for them or not.

It’s Peters who is virtually demanding immigrants butt out of competing with him.

John Key had a much less abrasive reaction.

Prime Minister John Key said he was not surprised the party had emerged given the recent focus on migration.

“It’s not just Winston Peters with an anti-migrant message, it’s also been people like Labour. So you’re always going to get people wanting to make sure their voice is heard the other way.”

In an open democracy like ours starting a political party is one way of being heard. And Peters has already listened.

Key doubted it would get into Parliament, based on the history of similar one-issue parties and its lack of a well-known leader.

That’s a reality of our system of MMP. Key’s National has ensured that a ridiculously high 5% threshold remains in place to make it very difficult for new parties to succeed.

He said it was important for ethnic communities to be represented, but they were better served by the major parties selecting candidates from those communities rather than forming their own party. “I think that’s a far more effective and likely to be successful.”

A small party that doesn’t get elected may potentially have more impact than an ethnic National MP virtually anonymous in a large back bench.

When Dr Parmjeet Parmar was announced as a National list candidate I don’t recall the media giving Winston publicity so he can have a rant. The People’s Party has already had an impact.

Peters said ethnic groups were already well represented in Parliament and there was no need for a separate party.

It’s not about need as perceived by a crusty old campaigner. Our democracy gives us all the right to have a go and participate in any way we see fit.

Perhaps a fresh new party will be a good thing for a significant number of voters who have no interest in a cantankerous old anti-immigration crank.

Also:

And Rohan Nauhria is hardly a ‘lack of a well-known leader” (as Key put it).

NZ Asian leaders: Roshan Nauhria

Roshan Nauhria commenced self employment in New Zealand in 1976 invigorating the hardware supply industry through the import of wire nails to the building industry.

2009 Appointed member of the New Zealand order of Merit.

Through continued research and development…

Nauhria – Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2015; Supreme Winner – Business Excellence Award – South

Sounds like an excellent sort of immigrant to me.  he has been successful in business in new Zealand a very long time – since before Peters first became an MP way back in last century.