Sharma resigns – by-election in Hamilton West

Dr Gaurav Sharma writes:

I have resigned.

A Labour Party panel last week recommended to the party’s governing body (the New Zealand Council) that I be expelled from the Party as a member. I have also been advised that the Prime Minister and the Party plan to invoke the Waka Jumping rule 6 months before the next General Election to remove me from Parliament which will ensure there is no need for a by-election. I have sincere concerns that this underhanded move will mean people of Hamilton West will have no voice in Parliament for 6 months preceding the next General Election.

As such I have decided to resign from Parliament pre-empting Labour’s next step. This will trigger a by-election, giving the people of Hamilton an opportunity to not lose their democratic rights of having a voice in Parliament by underhanded tactics of the government and the Labour Party.

He regrets the cost of a by-election but points out:

Over the years many Labour MPs have triggered by-elections for one reason or another – in fact Labour MP David Shearer resigning and triggering a by-election is how Jacinda Ardern won the Mt Albert electorate seat in 2017.

3. Since stepping down as the Speaker Trevor Mallard has been sitting in the House with no Select Committee duties, no Bills to speak on, no constituent work. In the last 2 months he has been paid well over $25,000 to just enjoy his retirement. Soon he will be on the gravy train to be the Ambassador of NZ to Ireland. And don’t forget he is on the old Parliament contract which means he gets free business class flights for life.

4. Also a quick remind of government’s failed recent spending

– $51m spent on axed Auckland harbour cycling bridge project

$500k in office rent paid after Auckland cycle crossing canned

– $66 million on Dominion Rd Light Rail report – $44million out of this is on external consultants

– $350 million on TVNZ/RNZ merger

– $200 million on Te Pukenga botched polytech reform

Once he formally resigns, the by-election can be held as early as four weeks time – Saturday 19 November. The PM decides the timing within a certain range.

Hamilton West was won by Labour with a 6,267majority. It is the 33rd largest majority in Parliament.

On the party vote Labour got 52.6%, it was their 26th best seat. The electorate vote was 53.0%, their 25th highest.

If you look at combined party vote in 2020, the CR parties got 34.3% and the CL parties 58.3%. So normally you would expect Labour to easily hold the seat. But of course they are polling well below what they got in 2020.

A big wildcard is how much support, if any, will Sharma get and where will that come from?

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