Labour and Greens criticised for by-election alliance

7:42 am on 28 September 2016

Labour and the Greens have been labelled hypocrites as they look to collaborate in the likely Mt Roskill by-election.

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The Green Party won't run a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election to help boost Labour's chances of winning. Photo: RNZ

A by-election will be held if the MP for Mt Roskill, Phil Goff, is elected as Auckland Mayor in October. Mr Goff is the favourite to win, according to polls.

The Green Party won't field a candidate if a by-election is triggered, as they try to help Labour retain the seat.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said the party had limited resources, and with a general election next year they had other priorities.

"Our priority is to change the government in 2017 - we certainly don't want to see National take a seat before the election".

The National Party's campaign manager Steven Joyce wasn't surprised at the partnership.

"Firstly I think it's confirmation the Labour and the Greens are getting closer together, and Labour are moving further to the left.

"We've seen that with Mr Little's comments about the political centre this week in saying that he's not really in the political centre."

Labour's candidate in the possible by-election would be Michael Wood, who was happy to get all the support that he could.

"We're starting from a position a wee bit behind in the party vote, and I'm going to take any kind of endorsement or support as a positive."

Mr Goff won the seat in 2014, 8000 votes ahead of the National List MP Parmjeet Parmar.

But National won the party vote in the electorate, securing 2000 more votes than Labour, and Mr Wood said he was not counting his chickens.

"We just don't take anything at all for granted, and candidates who make predictions end up making complete fools of themselves."

"We're just going on the basis that we think it will be really hard fought. We know that our opponents are putting a lot of taxpayer resource at the moment into promoting their likely runner," Mr Wood said.

Mr Joyce said there weren't high expectations for National's chances in the electorate either.

"It's very hard for sitting governments to win a seat off the opposition, you know a seat that they've held for a long time."

ACT critical of Labour and Greens by-election plan

But the deal has left the Act MP David Seymour fuming since the Labour candidate had criticised what he called National's sweetheart deal with ACT in the Epsom electorate in 2014.

Epsom electorate MP David Seymour

David Seymour has criticised Labour and the Greens for teaming up to win the Mt Roskill electorate. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Seymour said strategic voting was a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy was optional.

"What these guys have done this time is taken a candidate who vehemently opposed strategic voting two years ago [and] is now depending on strategic voting to get to parliament.

"People will look at Parmjeet Parmar who has a PhD in brain chemistry, started a successful business and has scrupulous integrity, and then they'll look at a guy who will say just about anything if he thinks it will get him elected," Mr Seymour said.

National's likely candidate Dr Parmar declined to comment.

At the 2014 general election, Barry Coates contested the Mt Roskill seat for the Greens getting 1682 votes.

He will join Parliament next month as a list MP after the resignation of the Green MP Kevin Hague.

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