Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Roshan Nauhria chasing shock win in Roskill

Businessman Roshan Nauhria has for years donated to political parties but he has now put that financial muscle behind his own People's Party.

Residents of Mt Roskill - where Nauhria is campaigning in Saturday's byelection against Labour's Michael Wood and National's Parmjeet Parmar - will have noticed.

Nauhria's face is plastered on hoardings on main routes, a ute tows signage advertising his pledge to use his MP salary to feed school kids, there have been mailouts and even a one-off "News of the People" newspaper edition.

About two-thirds of the 20,000 copies printed have been given out, with the rest to follow today and tomorrow.

"This byelection I am funding myself, most of it ... if you want to do something and it is a passion ... my position is this might cost me $70,000 to $80,000, I can afford to do that, it is not a big hit to my pocket," Nauhria said.

A candidate's election expenses cannot exceed $52,400, but other non-advertising costs such as hiring a campaign office do not contribute to that limit.

Nauhria, who turns 72 this week, said the thousands of people he knew in Mt Roskill and the votes up for grabs after Phil Goff's departure to become mayor meant a shock victory on Saturday was quite possible.

But he also has an eye on next year's general election, and said eight to 10 per cent of the vote was achievable.

The People's Party is particularly aimed at Indian and Asian voters, and its core issue is law and order. Nauhria has pledged to cut crime by a whopping 50 per cent nationwide.

That would be done by ensuring criminals were caught and thus creating a deterrent, and with proper rehabilitation efforts, he said.

"At present, who are terrorised? The victims. If you terrorise the criminals, or the word might not be terrorise - if you deal with the criminals - crime will go down more than 50 per cent."

Nauhria moved from India to New Zealand in 1972 and started his own building business four years later. Now focused on precast concrete, the company operates two factories - with another soon to be added - and employs more than 200 people.

The Herald interviewed Nauhria at the Bharatiya Mandir - also known as the Balmoral Temple - which he helped complete in June 1993.

That role and other community and charitable efforts saw him made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

There were only about 10,000 Indian New Zealanders when land for the country's first purpose-built Hindu temple was bought in 1986, Nauhria said.

There are now 170,000, and Parmar is one of the country's three Indian MPs.

Nauhria supported Parmar in 2014, but said he was disappointed she hadn't done more for Indian students who were deported after fraudulent loan documents were submitted by education agents in India.

The formation of the People's Party was condemned by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who said it was a National Party "front" because Nauhria had previously bid $20,000 to host Prime Minister John Key at a breakfast.

Nauhria responded by proving he had donated money to NZ First in 2014. He estimates he has given about $100,000 to political parties, including Labour and National.

"Only I've never given to the Greens, because they never asked for it. If they would have approached me, I would definitely have given to them."

It's too late now. Nauhria will open an office on Balmoral Rd regardless of the byelection result and said the People's Party will contest the 2017 election in "a big way".

"I am planning that we will have 60 candidates all over the country, that's my target. We should have a candidate in every electorate."

Roshan Nauhria

• Runs a precast concrete business with two factories in Auckland.
• His People's Party aims to attract votes from immigrant communities, particularly those concerned about crime.
• Won't move to Mt Roskill if he wins the byelection - his side of his street is in the Maungakiekie electorate, the other is in Mt Roskill.

- NZ Herald

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