The new People's Party will stand in the upcoming Mt Roskill byelection caused by Phil Goff's mayoral victory - targeting the 40 per cent of residents who are Asian.

National is gearing up to challenge Labour's candidate Michael Wood for the seat that has been held by Goff since its creation in 1999.

And Roshan Nauhria confirmed to the Herald that he will be running as a candidate for the People's Party, which he also leads.

The businessman was one of the founders of the party that launched earlier this year, with the aim of attracting votes from the Indian and other Asian communities.


Following his election as Auckland Mayor, Goff will resign from Parliament this coming week. That will allow for a byelection in Mt Roskill before Christmas.

Nauhria said he would campaign in Mt Roskill on two or three issues, the first being law and order, with concerns among ethnic communities that they were increasingly a target for burglaries and other crime.

Another would be calling on the Government not to punish international students who are facing deportation because of fraudulent bank loan approval documents submitted by education agents in India.

"There has been growing anger [among the Indian community] about this...[National MPs] Parmjeet Parmar and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi haven't stood up for the students."

At the last election about 39 per cent of the Mt Roskill electorate were from the Asian ethnic group - more than three times the national average. Fewer than half of residents were born in New Zealand.

National's likely candidate in the byelection will be Parmar, who migrated to New Zealand in 1995.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow said his party would officially select a candidate on October 19. Capturing Mt Roskill will be "very difficult", Goodfellow said, as no government had ever won a byelection off the Opposition.

On the People's Party, National's campaign chair Steven Joyce said all candidates were taken seriously in every election.


"However I think Parmjeet, should she becomes our candidate, would be ideally placed to represent Asian constituents as well as the rest of the electorate as she would be a strong voice in the Government for Mt Roskill."

Labour Leader Andrew Little - who will pick up Goff's ethnic affairs portfolio - said today that he would not dismiss the People's Party challenge.

"But I'm confident that Michael Wood, who has been in that community for a long time, is well known amongst the variety of communities there...he will put up a very strong campaign and take nothing for granted."

The Green Party this month announced it would not stand a candidate in the byelection, with co-leader Metiria Turei saying it would be closely contested and the Greens didn't want to "play any role in National winning the seat".

That deal is the first in an electorate under the agreement between Labour and the Greens to campaign together more closely and work to increase the centre-left vote.

It could prove critical - in 2014 Goff won with an 8000-vote majority over Parmar but National got 14,275 party votes - about 2000 more than Labour.

Nick Leggett came second in the Wellington mayoralty contest and resigned from Labour to run. NZ Herald photo by Mark Mitchell.
Nick Leggett came second in the Wellington mayoralty contest and resigned from Labour to run. NZ Herald photo by Mark Mitchell.

Leggett would be welcome back - Little

Former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett would be welcome back into the Labour fold as someone with a "big future ahead of him", Labour leader Andrew Little says.

"Nick is a talented guy...whether he just saw an opportunity for those who wanted to back him for mayor against a Labour candidate, who knows," Little said, after Labour-endorsed Justin Lester was confirmed as mayor last night.

"He is a talented guy and he has got a big future ahead of him. But he has got to work with people who can organise for his success."

Leggett resigned from Labour - which he joined at age 15 - just before announcing his nomination for Wellington mayor as an independent.

In that way he avoided being expelled because it against the rules for members to stand against endorsed candidates.

Little made an attack on Leggett in August, saying his campaign was being run by an Act identity and that his campaign was being funded by "right-wingers."

Leggett took issue with that description, saying he was a moderate who was "pro-enterprise" but also a strong advocate for social issues while mayor of Porirua.

He believed Little's comments reflected the fact there was a "purge" going on within Labour to rid itself of members considered "right wing".

Mt Roskill byelection

• To be held after current MP Phil Goff was elected mayor of Auckland.

• Electorate includes Auckland suburbs of Mt Roskill, Lynfield, Wesley, Hillsborough, and parts of Three Kings and Sandringham.

• Electorate was formed in 1999, and has been held by Goff ever since.

• According to Census information, about 39 per cent of residents were from the Asian ethnic group - the second-highest percentage of any general electorate.