Botany by-election, 2011
A by-election was held in the New Zealand electorate of Botany on 5 March 2011. The seat was vacated by former National Ethnic Affairs Minister Pansy Wong, who announced her resignation from the New Zealand Parliament on 14 December 2010 following allegations her husband Sammy has misused taxpayer money in relation to overseas travel.
Demographics and election history
Wong won the seat with 17382 (56.22%) votes in the 2008 general election. Labour candidate Koro Tawa was runner-up with 6510 (21.06%) and ACT's Kenneth Wang on 4717 (15.26%). Party votes were National 19355 (61.25%), Labour 7958 (25.18%) and Act 1528 (4.84%).
Nominations opened on 2 February and closed at noon on 8 February.
The National Party selected Jami-Lee Ross, a member of the Auckland Council representing Howick, as their candidate. He was selected from a shortlist of five candidates, the other four being former Auckland City councillor Aaron Bhatnagar, media presenter Maggie Barry, Elim Christian College teacher Darron Gedge, and health research scientist Edward Saafi.
A total of twelve people had initially put their names forward for the nomination. The list was not released, but was reported to include Denise Krum (a National Party official and former president of United Future), Ram Rai (a National Party official), Ken Yee (a former Manukau City councillor and unsuccessful candidate for Manukau East), Youngshin Watkins, and Daniel Newman. Other names that had speculated included current list MP Melissa Lee (who had unsuccessfully contested the Mount Albert by-election earlier in the parliamentary term), party official Kit Parkinson, and Howick Local Board chairman Michael Williams.
The Labour Party selected Michael Wood, Puketapapa Local Board member, as their candidate. The other two people that contested the nomination were Roy Bootle and David Collings. Collings withdrew before the selection process was completed. Koro Tawa, who contested the seat in the previous general election had already been selected to contest it in the next one, was originally reported to be seeking the nomination for the by-election as well, but did not in the end.
The Pirate Party selected Hussain Al-Saady, a recent university graduate.
The recently founded New Citizen Party selected businessman Paul Young.
Wood started the campaign by admitting to the local paper in Puketapapa he has no chance of winning, a week later, he told the local paper in Botany he hasn't given up yet. NZPA reported that even that the new New Citizen Party has put up more billboards than him. Wood claims Ross is "too scared" to have a TV debate with him on the "big issues", while making a pledge "to drive penis lollies out of the community".
Meanwhile, National warned against being complacent and taking the election for granted.
Bright again campaigned on her theme of open, transparent and democratically accountable governments. She condemned the planned partial privatisation of state assets, saying "partial privatisation is like partial pregnancy – there is no such thing".
The Pirate Party left its campaign to the last minute, handing out fliers at 6pm on the day before the election.
Official results as declared on Wednesday 16 March 2011 after special votes were counted. Ross resigned his seat on the Auckland Council on the Monday after the election.
|Botany by-election, 2011|
Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the by-election.
|New Citizen||Paul Young||1,626||10.56|
|Legalise Cannabis||Leo Biggs||61||0.40|
|Join Australia||Robin Caithness||45||0.29|
|Total Valid votes||15,396||35.84|
Alleged illegal campaigning
New Zealand law prohibits campaigning on election day. It is alleged that the United Chinese Press newspaper published a front page article on election day endorsing Paul Young. It is further alleged the paper ran an ad in the same edition for the New Citizen Party. The editor of the United Chinese Press insists the newspaper in question was printed on the day before, and therefore legal.
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