Mumbai born and educated New Zealand First MP-in-waiting Mahesh Bindra says he is living proof the party and its leader Winston Peters are not anti-immigration and anti-Asian.

Ranked 11th on New Zealand First's list, Mr Bindra was the final candidate to make the cut after the party polled 8.9 per cent in the election.

"Mr Peters was perceived by the Indian community for some time as being a politician who doesn't want immigrants," Mr Bindra said. "That was a myth and that myth has now been dispelled.

"We got huge support from the community and we were able to change the perception of New Zealand First in general - and Mr Peters in particular - that we are not a party of only white people. We are party for all New Zealanders. It doesn't matter where you come from."


Mr Bindra first stood for NZF in Mt Roskill in 2011, when he was ranked 21st on the party's list and attracted 468 candidate votes. His tally this year increased to 607 votes, ranking him fifth behind Labour's Phil Goff (16,209), National's Parmjeet Parmar (9363), the Greens' Barry Coates (1303) and Conservative candidate Paul Davie (960). NZF's party vote in Mt Roskill nudged up from 1513 votes to 1546.

A political science and psychology graduate who is listed on the electoral roll as a case manager, Mr Bindra did not wish to divulge details of his previous employment, saying only that it was "law and order" related.

He became involved with NZF after challenging Mr Peters on law and order issues at a public meeting.

"There were a lot of Indian small businesses being targeted by criminals," he said. "A clean, green and safe New Zealand was no longer a reality."

Mr Peters promised to introduce 750 police officers and 250 support staff - and "he delivered that".

"I studied the policies for a couple of months and I found that New Zealand First was the party which cared for all New Zealanders."

Mr Bindra moved to New Zealand in 2002 with his wife, twin daughters and son, Vikram.

Despite having graduated from Mumbai with an engineering degree, the only work Vikram Bindra could find in New Zealand was flipping burgers at night and repairing coffee machines in the day.


He went on to join the Fire Service and was "the first firefighter of Indian origin in New Zealand" according to his father. Vikram is now a pilot.

Mahesh Bindra said it was up to immigrants to make the most of living in New Zealand.

New MPs

Businessman Clayton Mitchell 42, who leapfrogged sitting MP Denis O'Rourke into sixth place on NZ First's list, has confirmed he will give up his Tauranga City Council seat and his Mt Maunganui Irish bar and restaurant to take his place in Parliament. Mr Mitchell, who is married with three children, is a member of the Omanu Surf Club. He also coaches judo and self-defence for women.

Fletcher Tabuteau, who jumped up the New Zealand First party list from number 11 in 2011 to number 4 this year, has spent the past 10 years working as a teacher. He is head of the business school at Whitireia Polytechnic in Rotorua, where he also lectures in economics. Asked what awakened his political consciousness, the 39-year-old offered one name: "It was Winston Peters. When he speaks, the recollection of facts and the detail, the passion and the fire, it definitely sparked me up when I was a young fella."

Thirty-two-year-old Palmerston North solo father and secondary school biology teacher Darroch Ball becomes New Zealand First's youngest MP at No 10 on the list. Originally from Auckland, Mr Ball served as a commissioned officer in the army for seven years before training as a teacher. In Parliament, Mr Ball will have a focus on youth issues.