The National Party has chosen Auckland councillor Jami-Lee Ross as its candidate for the March 5 Botany by-election, a seat he will almost certainly win.

The selection meeting went down to the wire late tonight, with Mr Ross selected over former broadcaster Maggie Barry, TV3 reported.

A total of five nominees were in the running and three were eliminated before the final vote.

Botany is a safe National seat and the by-election was caused by the resignation from Parliament of Pansy Wong, who retained it in the 2008 general election with a majority of more than 10,000.

Mr Ross was elected to the Manukau City Council in 2004 and was returned in 2007.

When he announced he was putting his name up for Botany, he said he had strong links with the electorate and had lived there for the past four years.

Ms Barry was a high profile contender but only joined National late last year and doesn't live in the electorate.

The Labour Party also selected its candidate for the by-election tonight, choosing Michael Wood, an Auckland local board member.

Party president Andrew Little announced the decision after the selection meeting, saying the process had been "rigorous".

Mr Wood, a former union organiser, said he was honoured to be the party's candidate.

"This week the National Government announced its plans to sell off our assets and I am determined to fight these plans and let the people of Botany know how they can be part of Labour's campaign to oppose this ridiculous privatisation agenda," he said.

Mr Wood is an elected member of Puketapapa Local Board, and was Labour's candidate in the Pakuranga electorate in the 2002 and 2005 general elections.

The other nominees announced by Labour last week were electrician David Collings and management consultant Roy Bootle.

Mr Little said Labour would use the by-election to promote policies, issues and values that he believed were important for Botany and all New Zealand.

- NZPA