With the election nearing closer and closer, two Labour MPs so far have stated they intend to leave parliament, those being Clayton Cosgrove and Phil Goff, with Phil intending to contest the Auckland mayoralty in October. Should he be successful, a by-election will be held, and Labour has found its new champion in Michael Wood.
Michael Wood has been involved with the party from a young age, and currently sits on the Policy Council. He served as chair of the Mt Roskill Labour Electorate Committee, which I am a member of, for several years and has contested both Botany and Epsom. He currently sits on the Puketepapa Local Board with his wife Julie.
Michael’s selection was uncontested and his subsequent speech was very well received by attendees. He condemned National’s mismanagement of housing in the area as well as cuts to the local police, which have seen the resolution rates of crimes like burglary fall. His biggest cheer, however, came when he suggested that funding for charter schools be cut and brought back into public schools. His passion for the constituency is clear and strong, and as a member of the LEC and a friend, I am proud to endorse him to be the next Member of Parliament for Mt Roskill.
However, the next election in Mt Roskill will be one that will be fought vigorously. While National has not had a successful candidate since 1990, and Phil holds a majority of over 8000 votes over Parmjeet Parmar, National won the party vote by 2000 votes and they will be hoping to inflict a humiliating blow on Labour, with this hit of confidence. Labour will have the upper hand on some issues here though, especially with regards to housing and crime issues. The average house price in the area is now $800,000, which would get you nowhere on a $120,000 deposit. Law and order is also a major issue and has also received attention from Phil Goff’s campaign as well. Cuts to the police have meant callouts have fallen and Phil described an incident where a shop owner had to tell the police he would handle some vandals attacking his shop with a knife before they would come to their aid. That simply is not right. We should not have to be resorting to threatening vigilantism to get the police to help.
This by-election will be a major test for Labour, especially so close to the next election. While Roskill’s solid habit of returning Labour MPs has held strong, the electorate cannot be taken for granted. We will be fighting tooth and nail for every single vote. We have given the people of Mt Roskill no reason to turn their back on us and we will not turn our back on them. We’re ready to go out and campaign and we won’t back down.