Former National MP Parmjeet Parmar jumps to ACT for election

She was voted out in 2020.
She was voted out in 2020. Photo credit: Newshub.

By Anneke Smith of RNZ

Former National Party MP Parmjeet Parmar will stand for the ACT Party in this year's election.

Parmar made New Zealand history in the 2014 general election as the first Indian-born woman elected to Parliament.

She was a National list MP who held science and economic spokesperson roles until she was voted out in the 2020 election.

Parmar, a scientist and businesswoman, has now joined the ACT Party and will stand as its candidate in the Pakuranga electorate, currently held by National's Simeon Brown who won it by large margins in the past two elections.

She had previously run in the Mt Roskill electorate for National, but lost against Labour's Phil Goff in 2014, and Michael Wood in 2017. In 2020 she won less than a quarter of the vote to Wood's 61 percent, and was too far down the list to make it back into Parliament.

ACT leader David Seymour welcomed her move to ACT.

"I expect ACT's Board to give her a high list placing and select her to stand in the Pakuranga electorate. Parmjeet will take on the Science and Innovation portfolio," Seymour said.

Parmer said she could not wait to get started.

"As a scientist I have always taken an evidence-based approach and I see the same in ACT," she said.

"ACT is often the only party asking the hard questions and thinking long-term about the changes that are needed in New Zealand to lift us up as a country."

ACT is holding its annual conference in central Auckland this weekend, featuring speeches from MPs and candidates like Parmar.

RNZ understands Seymour will make a policy announcement at the conference related to cutting regulations and red tape.

As a candidate, Parmar joins former Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard, who quit his role to announce this month he would stand for ACT in the traditionally blue Rangitīkei seat this year.

ACT is National's natural coalition partner, with the latest 1News-Kantar political poll suggesting they would have enough support to form the next government.