Mt Roskill byelection: Labour cautiously confident Michael Wood headed for Beehive

The final day of campaigning in the Mt Roskill byelection is underway with Labour cautiously confident Michael Wood is headed for Parliament.

Labour leader Andrew Little joined Wood at the Stoddard Rd shops this afternoon, where a supporter bought Wood champagne ahead of tomorrow's vote.

"This is a campaign that is very much a forerunner to the issues we will be running on next year - rising crime rates, unaffordable housing, transport and a lot of other areas too," Little said.

"We can talk about all sorts of hypotheticals, this is the last day of the campaign ... we look at the results tomorrow night like everybody else, and the sun will come up on Sunday, and life will carry on after that."

Wood said he was feeling "very, very positive", but was taking nothing for granted. Asked if he could fill Phil Goff's shoes, Wood said he would work as hard but was his own man.

"Fill Phil's shoes? Look I wear a different pair of shoes ... I aim to over time hopefully have a similar reputation to him that is hard working and cares about this community."

Wood largely took the lead during the pair's walkabout at the Stoddard Rd shops, where more people than not promised him a vote.

Parmjeet Parmar, the National Party candidate for the Mt Roskill byelection. Photo / Lincoln Tan
Parmjeet Parmar, the National Party candidate for the Mt Roskill byelection. Photo / Lincoln Tan

Real estate agent Sanjay Gujarathi, from Three Kings, told Wood that he would vote for him, and cited house prices as a major problem.

"I am a real estate agent. Housing is the most important thing. I've got a young son, he is just 24, and I am stressed as to whether he will be able to afford a house in Auckland. It's seriously a big issue."

One construction worker was happy to chat, but wasn't voting in the byelection - telling the pair "I'm a Tory from central Auckland".

Denise Gartside was up next and gave Wood and Little a kiss on the cheek, saying she was a long-term Labour voter.

Prime Minister John Key will make a final appearance with National's candidate, list MP Parmjeet Parmar, later today.

Yesterday and after his own supermarket walkabout, Key talked down National's chances of a victory, saying it would be such an upset that Little would be forced out as leader.

No incumbent Government has won a seat they don't hold in a byelection and there was "relatively little" at stake for National, Key told reporters.

That is despite National winning the party vote in Mt Roskill at the 2014 election by 2000. One quarter of National voters supported long-serving MP Phil Goff, who has retired from Parliament to become Auckland Mayor.

With Goff's departure National has been given a chance to run Wood close, and if Labour win tomorrow by a comfortable margin it will be a boost going into next year's election.

Labour's 2017 campaign chair Phil Twyford as identified Auckland as critical to the party's chances of being in Government next year.

Transport is an area Labour believes National is vulnerable, and its promise to fast-track light rail along Dominion Road was a central policy in Wood's campaign.

Asked if a sizeable win tomorrow would give Labour a morale boost, Little disagreed.

"Morale is pretty good, actually. Labour ends the year having actually judged quite a few things quite right, and I look back in terms of the most recent elections, the local body elections, we did some good stuff there.

"So we have applied techniques to this campaign. We will see where that goes tomorrow night. But I'm very pleased about where things are at."

Why

Tomorrow's byelection in the Roskill electorate was called after long-serving MP Phil Goff resigned from Parliament to become Auckland Mayor. Voters now need to choose their new MP.

Voting

• On Saturday, voting is open 9am to 7pm. At 22 locations including schools and churches: http://www.elections.org.nz/events/2016-mt-roskill-election/information-voters-mt-roskill

• Anyone can cast a vote until 5pm today at advanced voting booths at Mt Roskill Library, Wesley Community Centre and CCS Disability Action, at Yarnton House.

Results

Preliminary results are available progressively from 7pm on Saturday night, with all votes expected to be counted by about 10pm.

Candidates

• Michael Wood, Labour: A local board member who lives in Roskill South. Says Government has failed to address crime, worsening housing affordability, and congestion. Labour has pledged to bring forward light rail along Dominion Rd.

• Parmjeet Parmar, National: A scientist and businesswoman who entered Parliament on the list in 2014. Parmar wants to make Roskill communities safer, improve transport (she favours buses over the cost of light rail), address housing affordability, and make life easier for small business owners.

• Roshan Nauhria, NZ People's Party: The businessman who was a driving force behind the Balmoral Rd temple is particularly aiming for the Indian and Asian vote, with a core issue of law and order - Nauhria has promised to cut crime by 50 per cent and be a strong voice for Roskill in Parliament, free of party constraints.

• Andrew Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit: The 31-year-old commercial pilot says housing and other social issues show an overhaul of NZ's economic system is needed.

• Tua Schuster, Independent: Says he represents the electorate's poor, who are marginalised by mainstream parties.

• Brandon Stronge, The Cannabis Party: Wants the recreational use of cannabis to be legalised.

• Richard Goode, Not A Party (NAP): Advocates for a transition from democracy to to a "free society based on voluntary cooperation".

- NZ Herald

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