Tim Macindoe not seeking National Party candidacy for Hamilton West by-election

Former Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe isn't seeking the National Party candidacy for the upcoming by-election.

Macindoe held the Hamilton West seat for National between 2008 and 2020, when he lost to Dr Gaurav Sharma. Dr Sharma resigned from Parliament last week, forcing a by-election.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, Macindoe said he has received "a large number of messages and phone calls" from people encouraging him to stand for the December 10 by-election

"I am deeply grateful for that support, especially as many also offered to help our local team with what will be a demanding campaign at such a busy time of the year, and to contribute towards the cost of running it.

"However, nominations close today and I am not submitting an application to be considered. Both from a family and a professional perspective, it would have been very difficult for me to contest a byelection at this time and the candidate must be able to guarantee 100% effort from the day s/he is chosen."

Macindoe explained that since losing the seat in 2020 he has been spending more time with family, played golf and Bridge, become a registered celebrant, and begun working part-time with Waikato community foundation Momentum. 

"Earlier this year I answered a local reporter’s question with the comment that I was ‘keen to complete unfinished business’ – and that remains the case – but I will now continue advocating for those important initiatives from outside the political tent," he said.

"While this was a difficult decision to make, and I feel I have let down some dedicated people in electing not to stand, it was made much easier for me knowing that an outstanding line-up of potential candidates will soon present their credentials to local party members, and I have no doubt that a fine potential MP will be chosen. That person will enjoy my warm and enthusiastic support."

Dr Sharma resigned from Parliament last week after claiming Labour was planning to use waka-jumping legislation to force him out closer to next year's general election. If he left Parliament within six months of the election, politicians could choose not to hold a by-election. He was concerned this would leave his Hamilton West constituents without an MP for months. 

However, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern disputed that. She said there was no plan to kick Dr Sharma out and a by-election was a "complete waste of taxpayer money".

In August, Dr Sharma was expelled from the Labour Party caucus after making claims of bullying and that the Prime Minister was involved in a cover-up. He also made secret recordings of colleagues. He was then expelled from the wider party last week.

Neither Labour nor National have picked their candidate for the by-election. National has been encouraged to choose someone who can add diversity to its caucus.