Mt Roskill: Michael Wood boosts Labour's vote share

Michael Wood and a supporter (Michael Wood / Twitter)
Michael Wood and a supporter (Michael Wood / Twitter)

Michael Wood's win in the Mt Roskill by-election was widely expected, but the margin of his victory has surprised many.

It was the Labour candidate's third - and self-described final - attempt at getting into Parliament, taking over the electorate from new Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

While Mr Goff made it a safe Labour seat, many expected the Mt Roskill fight to be a lot closer than it turned out to be. People's Party leader Roshan Nauhria predicted he'd get 8000 votes, and Prime Minister John Key suggested if Mr Wood lost to National candidate Parmjeet Parmar, it'd be the end of Andrew Little's leadership of the party.

In the end, Mr Wood got 11,170 votes to Ms Parmar's 4652. Mr Nauhria was nowhere to be seen, scraping together only 709 votes.

Mt Roskill: Michael Wood boosts Labour's vote share

Mr Wood's margin of victory - 6518 votes - is well down on Mr Goff's in 2014, when he beat Ms Parmar by 8091.

But with turnout in the by-election less than half what it was at the 2014 general election, it's arguable Mr Wood has outdone his predecessor.

He won 66.3 percent of the vote, compared to Mr Goff's 55.8 percent; and Ms Parmar's share of the vote fell from 31.6 percent in 2014, to 27.6 on Saturday.

The comprehensive win didn't go unnoticed by many. Right-wing political commentator Matthew Hooton called it a "terrible result" for Ms Parmar, suggesting it would be the end of her political career.

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He congratulated Mr Wood, urging him to fight for a space on the party's front bench.

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Union activist Joe Carolan blamed Ms Parmar's "crushing defeat" on her "rejection of desperate local Indian students facing deportation who asked her for help".

"National's hegemony of the ethnic vote in New Zealand's largest city is collapsing, and the struggle of these brave working class students has helped shatter the Government's illusion of invincibility," said Mr Carolan.

Mr Wood himself said he was "thrilled" to have won 21 of the electorate's 22 polling booths.

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His fellow Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway said National should have been able to win the seat.

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Kelvin Davis, who lost to Hone Harawira in the Te Tai Tokerau seat three times before winning in 2014, joked about the similarity of Mr Wood's name to National MP Michael Woodhouse.

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Some found humour in the unexpectedly large margin, parody Twitter account GSCPIntercepts joking Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee might have mistaken it for an earthquake.

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