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

Media an extension of established power

There is an obvious and major current example of media and journalism working with and enabling established power, in the US election.

It’s nothing new that media both had close connections with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and tried to influence the outcome. Or that other media had close connections with the Donald Trump campaign and tried to influence the outcome.

What is unusual and more complicated is that media, including those who promoted Clinton’s interests, also gifted  exposure to Trump, and enabled his rise and his momentum, and ultimately his success.

There was a clear conflict between what the media wanted – their choice of candidate as president, but they also wanted the headlines and clicks that Trump kept giving them.

A lot of the time it was difficult to separate Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns from the media coverage.

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The US presidential election was a big event, but on a smaller scale the New Zealand media also works hand in hand with established power, and actively excludes those who challenge established power.

I’ve experienced this myself, and it was a public broadcaster that was involved. In the 2013 Dunedin mayoral campaign Radio New Zealand profiled just four of the nine candidates – that is. gave exposure and publicity to less than half the candidates.

I complained to RNZ in Dunedin and was told they selected the candidates they thought had the most chance of success. Of course this favouritism reinforces the advantages of established power, and makes it virtually impossible for challengers of that power. Ironically I was campaigning for better democratic processes.

I also complained to RNZ in Wellington. They were very dismissive, when pushed said that more candidates “didn’t fit their format” and effectively told me to get stuffed, they weren’t interested in fair democracy.

Similar things happen in every general election, where big media give big exposure to big power, and exclude others. This is common with leaders’ debates.

And the same thing is happening in the Mt Roskill by-election right now. Fairfax has already run a candidate debate that only includes established power, the Labour and National candidates.

On Wednesday: People’s Party threatens legal action over exclusion from Mt Roskill debate

The newly formed People’s Party is considering taking legal action because it’s been excluded from a Mt Roskill by-election debate on Wednesday night.

It’s being hosted by the Central Leader, which has only invited the candidates from National and Labour. 

People’s Party leader Roshan Nauhria says he’s not being petty; he just wants a fair go.

“We were trying to talk to them and convince them that you need to give us equal opportunity,” he says.

Fairfax Media brand and communications manager Phillipa Cameron told Newshub that “Fairfax is comfortable that the Central Leader will provide appropriate coverage of parties involved in the Mt Roskill by-election”.

“This particular event is a one-off live stream involving the two major political parties, which is typical of a debate style event,” she said.

Typical of a debate style event where Fairfax are favouring established power. It is a corruption of fair democratic practice.

There was a follow up – Fairfax apologises for Mt Roskill debate snub

Fairfax has apologised to New Zealand People’s Party candidate Roshan Nauhria for excluding him from a by-election debate it is hosting in Mt Roskill on Wednesday.

But he’s still not invited.

Mr Nauhria says Fairfax told him it made the call to only include the candidates from Labour and National because both had polled above 10 percent at the last election.

A very hollow apology – effectively ‘we are sorry, we set the ten percent bar to favour established power and if you challenge that power and our power you can get stuffed’.

All candidates are equal, but some candidates are made far more equal than others.

Newshub points out:

The People’s Party held its official campaign launch on Saturday night drawing a crowd of around 300 people. In comparison, the National Party candidate’s campaign launch held on the same day, with the Prime Minister in attendance, attracted a crowd of just over 200.

That’s an impressive crowd for the People’s Party, but even that shouldn’t matter. What if a candidate does most of their campaigning online?

On a smaller scale than in the US, but this is exposure of New Zealand media being a corrupt extension of established power.

People’s Party Roskill nomination approved

Roshan Nauhria, president of the NZ People’s party, has had his nomination approved for the Mount Roskill by-election.

roshannauhrianomination

NZ People’s Party President nomination approved

Roshan Nauhria is thrilled to have had his nomination for candidate in the upcoming Mt Roskill By-Election approved by the Electoral Commission this afternoon. “This is an important first step in seeing real representation for the people of Mt Roskill and I’m looking forward to what the campaign trail will bring over the next few weeks”.

Hot on the heels of a successful party launch on Saturday night that saw over 300 supporters gather at Mt Roskill’s Fickling Convention centre the candidate promises a positive focus on the campaign trail. “I don’t just want to look at the issues that are challenging, I want to look at what the People of Mt Roskill are doing well at and enhance those aspects. It’s in this approach I believe we will find strong solutions”.

Mr Nauhria has already been out on the streets of the electorate talking to business owners and community groups as well as door knocking but found that a supermarket carpark yesterday had sparked an overwhelming result. “I started talking to one person and before I knew it there was more and more people. Who was I to turn them away? I have always listened to people when they have come to me and my own community know that I have done whatever I can to get a good result for them. Now that I’ve made it public that I want to do this for all of Mt Roskill I am having a large number and wide array of people come to me”.

Despite the topics of conversation being varied Mr Nauhria believes that the people of Mt Roskill are focused on a handful of main issues. “Law and order is the main concern I hear about and there is a feeling that equality of safety is not being extended to the whole community. MPs working in the electorate have had their chance and not delivered, Mt Roskill wants change”.

This will add some interest to the contest between the National and Labour candidates. It’s hard to know whose vote it will affect the most.

It’s possible there could be a sizeable ‘pox on both Labour and National’ vote, and NZ First immigration policies may not be very popular in Mount Roskill, although if their last election candidate and now list MP Mahesh Bindra stands that may mean an unprecedented three Indian born candidates (National’s candidate is Parmjeet Parmar).

Labour’s Michael Wood may feel like the odd one out.

It will ensure plenty of attention is given to immigration issues in an electorate with over 40% of voters overseas.

It will also given an indication of how much support the NZ People’s Party might expect in next year’s general election.

Another NZ First donation controversy

Last week Winston Peters blasted the announcement of New Zealand People’s Party being set up by immigrants. He claimed they were a front for the National Party. But Peters has been busted by NewsHub.

Revealed: Winston Peters in $3k Indian donation controversy

The headline is inaccurate, it wasn’t an ‘Indian donation’, it was made in New Zealand presumably by a new Zealand citizen.

Winston Peters is caught up in a donations controversy after his New Zealand First party took $3000 from the founder of the new immigrant-focused People’s Party.

Newshub can reveal the money was taken after Mr Peters met with Indian businessman Roshan Nauhria over dinner at Auckland’s India Gate restaurant in the days before the 2014 election

On Saturday, Mr Peters told TV3’s The Nation that the People’s Party was “a National Party front”.

“The person that was the spokesperson and the temporary leader for that party just at a recent raffle for fundraising for the National Party offered $20,000 in a bid for the Prime Minister to have breakfast at his place. He got beaten by a bid of $27,000. This is a National Party front,” Mr Peters said.

But Mr Nauria subsequently said he had given a donation to NZ First, accusing Mr Peters of hypocrisy.

Busted. But Peters is denying being involved in receiving the cheque (but hasn’t denied NZ First receiving it).

Asked about Mr Nauhria’s donation, Mr Peters initial response was to say: “Okay well, if that’s the case he’ll show you a receipt won’t he? Has he shown you the receipt?

The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that – that won’t do.”

It’s worth repeating “The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that” – that’s the sort of thing that Peters has often done. Except that he often fails to produce evidence, while Newshub have a copy of the cheque.

However, Mr Peters did not deny a donation was given, saying: “he may have given it to somebody else at the meeting and I have been to the restaurant, that’s true, and a group of Indian people wanted to talk to me, that’s a fact, but as for anything else – that would be in the knowledge of someone else but not me.”

Even if Nauhria is not correct in saying he gave the cheque personally to Peters (Peters has been found out in the past on fibbing about a donation from own Glenn) this is a bit awkward for Peters and for NZ First.

WinstonDonationNewshub

He wasn’t a happy looking chap.

Q&A: immigration, People’s party, global water

This morning on NZ Q&A:

Immigration

Is it time for an immigration debate?

Political Editor Corin Dann talks through the numbers with Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse – has the Government got our immigration settings right?

People’s Party

A new party for immigrants, the New Zealand People’s Party will launch next month. Greg Boyed asks its leader, Roshan Nauhria, whether his party can succeed.

They might get a chance to respond to attacks from Winston Peters – see People’s Party none of Peters’ business.

Global water issues

Plus, KPMG Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, Lord Michael Hastings, has been visiting New Zealand to talk about global water issues. Corin Dann finds out what he thought of New Zealand’s water problems.

And…

We also have an update on the situation of the young Mangere mother of three with a high-risk sex offender living over her back fence.

Joining our host Greg Boyed on the panel is political scientist Dr Raymond Miller, Islamic Women’s Council’s Anjum Rahmun and CE of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce Michael Barnett.