John Key expecting National candidate Parmjeet Parmar to lose Mt Roskill by-election


John Key will not be attending Parmjeet Parmar's Mt Roskill by-election party.

Despite campaigning with her on Thursday and Friday, he won't be seeing it through to the end.

"I don't go to any of the by-election ones. I haven't historically and I won't be going whether we win lose or draw."

That's only partly true though - he didn't attend the party of Mark Osborne in Northland - he lost. He also didn't go to Melissa Lee's failed campaign for the Mt Albert by-election.

But he did attend parties where it seemed he thought his candidate had a chance.

The Prime Minister showed up to Jami-Lee Ross' victory party after his 2011 Botany by-election win.

"For Jami-Lee to get virtually exactly the same percentage as Pansy Wong got - an MP that had been in Parliament for 15 years is tribute to the fact that he ran a very good campaign," he said at the time.

Ironically it was Michael Wood, the Labour candidate for the Mt Roskill by-election that Jami-Lee Ross beat in 2011. 

Mr Key also attended Hekia Parata's party at the Mana by-election in 2010 - which she narrowly lost.

And the Prime Minister admits he doesn't rate Parmjeet Parmar's chances.

"Oh, look the expectations would be that we would lose and that's because we're the underdog and because no incumbent government has won a seat that they don't hold."

But if it does swing in National's favour - the Prime Minister is predicting "the end" of Andrew Little's reign over the Labour Party.

"I think if Mt Roskill was to go to National then I think really that'd be terminal for Andrew Little."

Labour has told Newshub that Andrew Little will be attending his candidate's election night party.

"The reality is they're the red hot favourite to win here. I just don't think he could survive, I mean, if they lose Mt Roskill I just can't see how he'd be able to return to Parliament and argue that he could be the leader of the Labour Party," the Prime Minister said.

National is painting the electorate as a safe strong Labour seat, but while Phil Goff held it for 35 years - the last election results showed while he won the candidate vote - the party vote actually went in National's favour.

And the Prime Minister is still backing his candidate.

"I think that in Parmjeet Parmar we have the best candidate by far and I think that there's a lot of support for her but the reality is that really there's relatively little at stake for us."

Parmar struggled to answer questions about her chances - first reverting to the party line twice.

"I'm working hard, I'm focused on local issues and that's what I'm interested in.

"I have to say that I'm working hard and I'm talking to people and this has given a good opportunity to people as well to talk to me about local issues. I want to work hard." 

She then addressed the actual question - can she win?

"Well I have to wait until 3rd of December, it depends on voter turnout.

"We know that history's not on my side, also Greens is not standing their candidate to support the Labour and this has been a Labour seat but I have to say that Labour has taken the seat for granted."

Voting for the Mt Roskill by-election closes at 7pm on Saturday.