Auckland councillor Jami-Lee Ross was selected last night as National's candidate for the safe seat of Botany - beating four contenders including gardening guru Maggie Barry.

The byelection for the seat in East Auckland, forced by the resignation of former Cabinet minister Pansy Wong, will take place on March 5. Mrs Wong's majority in the 2008 general election was more than 10,000 votes.

Botany has the highest proportion of foreign-born people (49 per cent) of any NZ electorate. One-third of Botany residents are Asian.

Mr Ross has been a National Party member since 2003 and said he was humbled by the victory.

"I will be a fierce advocate for commonsense management of the economy that does not leave our kids up to their eyeballs in debt."

He said even though political commentators would regard him as a shoo-in for Parliament because Botany is considered a strong National seat, he would not take it for granted.

Mr Ross was elected to the Manukau City Council in 2004. On the new Auckland Council, he is co-leader of the right-wing Citizens & Ratepayers group and is the youngest councillor.

Also last night, the Labour Party chose Michael Wood, a member of the Puketapapa Local Board, as its candidate for the byelection.

Mr Wood, a former union organiser, was Labour's candidate in Pakuranga in 2002 and 2005.