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National lacks Indian representation in Parliament for second consecutive term

8:25 pm on 3 November 2023
Labour's Priyanca Radhakrishnan and ACT's Parmjeet Parmar look to be the only MPs of Indian origin in the next parliamentary term.

Labour's Priyanca Radhakrishnan and ACT's Parmjeet Parmar look to be the only MPs of Indian origin in the next parliamentary term. Photo: RNZ / Supplied

With the Election Commission announcing the final results of the 2023 general election, it has been confirmed the National Party, which is in a position to form the next government with support from ACT and New Zealand First, is not sending any Indian MPs to Parliament for a second consecutive term.

Although National selected an unprecedented five electoral candidates of Indian origin to run for office, all lost their bids to win their respective electoral seats.

These were Siva Kilari (list ranking 30) in Manurewa, Mahesh Muralidhar (43) in Auckland Central, Navtej Singh Randhawa (46) in Panmure-Ōtāhuhu, Karuna Muthu (51) in Rongotai in Wellington and Ankit Bansal (52) in Palmerston North.

All but Auckland Central, where Muralidhar lost to sitting Greens MP Chlöe Swarbrick, were Labour strongholds.

This, combined with the candidates' low list rankings, had made the community sceptical in the run-up to the elections whether any would eventually make it into the Beehive. These fears have come true with final results now confirmed.

In the last parliamentary term (2020-23), National had no Indian-origin lawmakers.

Before National lost the 2020 election to Labour, it had two Indian-origin MPs: Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (2008-20) and Parmjeet Parmar (2014-20).

Parmar has since switched her allegiance to ACT and was placed nine on the party's list in the 2023 election. With ACT now taking 11 MPs to Wellington, she is set to start her third term as a lawmaker - albeit it for a different party.

Rounding up Indian representation in this parliamentary term is Labour's Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who has been an MP since 2017. While she lost her electorate of Maungakiekie to National, she remains an MP courtesy of her list ranking of 15.

Anticipating that National would be unable to deliver any Indian MPs following the election, incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has assured the Indian community of representation from his party in Parliament "in due course".

"We had around six candidates from the community this time and they all ran a great race," he told RNZ last month. "I am very, very confident and hopeful that we will have Indian representation in our Parliament in due course."

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