Impassioned by-election clash
While the result of the US election shook the world, Mt Roskill was having political drama of its own.
A Central Leader by-election debate between National’s Parmjeet Parmar and Labour’s Michael Wood saw a packed and zealous turnout at the Fickling Centre on Mt Albert Rd on Wednesday night.
Adding to the tension, there was almost a physical altercation between Wood and a National supporter following the debate.
The night began with protesters outside the building voicing frustration at Parmar, who is of Indian descent, over the proposed deportation of Indian students due to visa fraud.
More than 40 of the group were heard yelling ‘‘shame’’ as she entered the building.
About 10 minutes later, independent candidate Tua Schuster interrupted Wood to protest his exclusion from the debate.
For over two minutes Schuster blared his frustration across the room while debate adjudicators and audience members repeatedly told him to be quiet and sit down.
One person could be heard yelling, ‘‘This is not America, all right?’’.
Roughly 160 people turned out for the debate hosted by the Central Leader that was live streamed on its Facebook page.
It covered issues of the housing development at the Three Kings Quarry, Labour’s light rail proposal, the closing of the Mt Roskill police station to the public, school funding and immigration.
When discussing the line between local board and Government, Wood became exasperated when an audience member yelled a remark about his wife Julie Fairey, the former chair of the Puketapapa Local Board.
‘‘Excuse me if I hear comments about my wife from the National Party front row there might be some problems after this meeting,’’ Wood said.
He was still fired up after the debate and was seen angrily confronting the person.
Protesters were seen exiting the building chanting ’’students rights are under attack, stand up fight back’’.
Outside a group of them surrounded Parmar’s vehicle with police saying they were close to making arrests. In total, seven candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the by-election, which was triggered by former MP Phil Goff’s appointment as Auckland mayor. The by-election will be held on December 3.
The stage at the Fickling Centre saw Labour’s Michael Wood and National’s Parmjeet Parmar go head-to-head.