National selects Tama Potaka as candidate for Hamilton West by-election

National has selected its candidate for the Hamilton West by-election battle.

Iwi leader Tama Potaka has been chosen by local party members to challenge for the seat, which was held by ex-Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma until his resignation.

"I'm honoured to be selected by local party members to fight the Hamilton West by-election as National's candidate," Potaka said in a statement announcing his selection.

"Hamilton West has a unique chance to send a message to the Labour Government before next year's general election - New Zealanders need more than good intentions and band-aid solutions. They want and deserve direction, clear action and delivery."

Potaka is currently the CEO of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki and has worked as a senior advisor to the NZ Super Fund.

He said New Zealand needs a strong economy so cities like Hamilton benefit from more investment in public services - such as Police.

"Hamilton families need the Government to keep the economy strong in order to prioritise the tide of crime making many people feel unsafe in their own homes and when they, and their children, out in the community," he said.

"Headlines every day about ram raids and smash and grabs across the city make it clear that Labour's approach to law and order is not working. We need a strong economy so we can prioritise more deterrents and more consequences for offenders."

Tama Potaka.
Tama Potaka. Photo credit: National / Supplied

But the other parties won't let the by-election go uncontested. ACT has selected backbencher Dr James McDowall as its candidate for Hamilton West.

Dr Sharma is standing again too - and will be facing off against his former party Labour, which has chosen small business owner and Independent Schools Education Association CEO Georgie Dansey.

However polling commissioned by ACT and released exclusively to Newshub shows Potaka may be in the pole position.

It asked 400 Hamilton West voters, 'while candidates for the by-election haven't been announced yet, which party's candidate are you most likely to vote for?'.

The results show 44.7 percent said they'd vote for the National candidate, 36.6 percent said they'd vote for Labour's and just 2.5 percent said they'd vote for Dr Sharma.

National selects Tama Potaka as candidate for Hamilton West by-election
National selects Tama Potaka as candidate for Hamilton West by-election

Potaka has promised a strong fight to join the National team in Parliament.

"Labour won this seat by more than 6000 votes last election but I'm determined to campaign relentlessly on the issues that matter to Hamilton West and turn the seat blue," he said in his statement.

"I'm hitting the ground running and will be meeting as many people across Hamilton West as I can so I can earn the right to advocate for them."