National retains Botany seat in Parliament

The National Party retained the Botany seat at the by-election held in the electorate on March 5.

The Party’s candidate Jami-Lee Ross received 8150 votes out of the 14,911 votes polled with his nearest rival, Michael Wood of Labour Party trailing with 4154 votes. Paul Young of the newly formed New Citizen Party polled 1572 votes.

The Electoral Commission announced the preliminary results, saying that special votes were yet to be counted but the counted voted showed a clear majority for Mr Ross, who, at 25, would be the youngest member of the current Parliament.

The Commission placed the voter turnout at 36.51%. The Electorate accounted for 42,815 registered voters.

“The Official Results process, now under way, is expected to be completed by March 16, with all votes recounted. Special declaration votes will also be processed and counted. The target to release the Official Results is March 16,” a Commission notification said.

Prime Minister John Key congratulated Mr Ross, saying that he has long been an advocate for Botany at a Local Government level.

“I am sure his experience will stand him in good stead in Parliament,” Mr Key said.

As mentioned in our February 1, 2011 issue, Botany had ‘National’ written all over it and that the Electorate could well become a trendsetter for young aspirants in politics.

Mr Ross is not new to public life. He is the Co-Leader of the Citizens & Rate Payers and was elected to the Howick Ward of the Auckland Council in the recent local body elections. This Ward includes the suburbs of Botany Downs, Howick and Pakuranga, and serves as C&R’s co-leader.

Mr Wood is equally popular in the area but Botany is a weak seat for Labour.

As Union organiser, he is known among a wider circle of the electorate.

The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Pansy Wong from Parliament. In the first instance, she resigned her ministerial posts of Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs in November 2010, following allegations of misuse of travel perks (more so by her husband Sammy Wong). She later gave up her Parliamentary post stating that she wanted to ensure that the National-led Government could progress its agenda without unnecessary distractions.”

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