6 Nov 2022

National selects Tama Potaka as Hamilton West candidate

4:06 pm on 6 November 2022
Tama Potaka.

Tama Potaka. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Tama Potaka has been selected as the National Party candidate for the upcoming Hamilton by-election.

The Hamilton West seat is vacant following the resignation of Dr Gaurav Sharma, who intends to re-contest the seat as an independent candidate.

Potaka is currently the chief executive of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki. He has also worked as a senior advisor to the NZ Super Fund and spent several years as a general manager for Hamilton-based Tainui Group Holdings.

"I'm honoured to be selected by local party members to fight the Hamilton West by-election as National's candidate," said Potaka in a statement.

"Hamilton West has a unique chance to send a message to the Labour government before next year's general election - New Zealanders need more than good intentions and band-aid solutions. They want and deserve direction, clear action and delivery.

"National offers that plan and delivery. Only National and Christopher Luxon have a plan to competently manage the economy, deal with inflation and tackle the cost-of-living crisis hitting Hamilton families in the pocket at the checkout and through rapidly rising mortgage interest rates."

Potaka is married with three children.

"I'm hitting the ground running and will be meeting as many people across Hamilton West as I can so I can earn the right to advocate for them," he said.

Labour has selected education association chief executive Georgie Dansey as its candidate.

Both parties have downplayed their chances in what promises to be a tight pre-Christmas by-election.

ACT list MP James McDowall will stand for them, and Naomi Pocock will represent the Opportunities Party.

New Zealand First has decided not to field a candidate, with leader Winston Peters describing the by-election as "unnecessary" and instead wanting to focus resources on next year's general election. The Green Party is also not contesting the by-election.

Candidate nominations close on 8 November at noon.

The Hamilton West by-election will take place 10 December.

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