In this year’s general election in New Zealand, a significant number of Indian-origin candidates from various political parties contested for seats, reflecting a vibrant and diverse political landscape. With the official election results now declared on November 3, 2023, it’s evident that only two Indian-origin candidates, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Parmjeet Parmar, secured seats in the Parliament as listed MPs.
Parmjeet Parmar, who held the 9th position on ACT’s party list and contested from Pakuranga, was a former National MP (2014-2020) and continued to bring her evidence-based approach to policymaking. Although she raised concerns about the rising cost of living and increasing crime rates, as well as the implementation of race-based agendas within the public system by the Labour government, she was not successful in winning a seat in the new Parliament.
Himanshu Parmar, a first-time candidate for ACT in Hamilton East, also campaigned on issues such as the cost of living, crime, and co-governance. He focused on the need for growth in the Waikato region and stronger advocacy in the law-and-order sector. However, his efforts did not result in a seat in Parliament.
Rahul Chopra, the candidate for ACT in Mt Roskill, aimed to provide New Zealanders with an alternative to the traditional options of Labour or National, with a vision for real change. Despite his compelling message, he, too, was unsuccessful in securing a seat.
Pothen Joseph, ACT’s lowest-ranked Indian-origin candidate from Mangere, advocated for the revitalization of the education system and addressing healthcare issues through reforms. Unfortunately, he did not win a seat in the election.
The Indian-origin candidates representing the National Party primarily aligned with party leader Christopher Luxon’s priorities, which included rebuilding the economy, restoring law and order, and improving health and education outcomes.
Mahesh Muralidhar, who contested against the Green Party’s Chlöe Swarbrick in Auckland Central, emphasized local issues in his electorate, focusing on housing reform, transport efficiency, and strengthening ties with India. However, he was not successful in securing a seat.
Navtej Singh Randhawa, running from Panmure-Ōtāhuhu, called for better representation of diverse communities in leadership positions and a shift towards true multiculturalism in a bicultural nation. Despite his compelling message, he did not win a seat.
Karunā Muthu, the sole Indian-origin candidate in the Wellington region, was laser-focused on addressing rising living costs and infrastructure improvement, particularly the construction of the second Mount Victoria tunnel. Unfortunately, he did not secure a seat in Parliament.
Ankit Bansal, the Palmerston North candidate, identified National as the party that best aligned with his values of personal responsibility, rewarding hard work, and providing equal opportunities. However, he was not successful in winning a seat.
Siva Kilari, the highest-ranked Indian-origin candidate for National in Manurewa, prioritized law and order issues and expressed concerns about the perceived soft approach of the Labour government. Despite his efforts, he did not secure a seat.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who represented Maungakiekie for the Labour Party, highlighted her six years of local connections, focusing on supporting families, reducing living costs, enhancing community organizations, advocating for crime prevention, and improving transportation networks. With the official election results now declared, she is one of the two Indian-origin candidates who successfully secured a seat in the new Parliament.
Kharag Singh, the Labour candidate for Botany, focused on issues impacting New Zealand’s youth, including education and culturally inclusive well-being. However, he was not successful in winning a seat.
The Green Party candidates declined to comment directly on the story. Nonetheless, their Indian-origin nominees, Neelu Jennings and Sapna Samant, shared their election priorities on policy NZ. Neelu Jennings emphasized guaranteed income, housing development, and disability legislation with enforceable standards. Sapna Samant advocated for an equitable, accessible, inclusive, sustainable, and free primary healthcare system, along with better residency pathways for migrants and amnesty for overstayers. However, neither of them secured a seat in the new Parliament.
In the 2023 New Zealand general election, Indian-origin candidates actively participated in the political process, although the results have revealed that only Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Parmjeet Parmar will represent the Indian community in the Parliament this year.