Mt Roskill by-election debate a tense and fiery affair

BEVAN READ/stuff.co.nz

In a fiery debate between candidates the community and third party challenges where almost as vocal as the invited speakers.

A fired-up Labour candidate made veiled threats after a comment about his wife at a Mt Roskill by-election debate. 

"Excuse me, if I hear comments about my wife from the National Party front row there might be some problems after this meeting," Labour candidate Michael Wood said at the debate between him and National's Parmjeet Parmar on Wednesday night. 

Wood was still fired up after the debate and was seen angrily confronting the person who made the comment about his wife, Julie Fairey, the former chair of the Puketapapa Local Board. 

The stage at the Fickling Centre saw Labour's Michael Wood and National's Parmjeet Parmar go head-to-head.
Chris Skelton

The stage at the Fickling Centre saw Labour's Michael Wood and National's Parmjeet Parmar go head-to-head.

The Central Leader by-election debate saw a packed and zealous turnout at the Fickling Centre on Mt Albert Rd.

READ MORE:
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Labour promises to fast-track light rail in first salvo of Mt Roskill by-election

The night began with protesters outside the building voicing frustration at Parmar, who is of Indian descent, over the proposed deportation of Indian students due to visa fraud.

Independent Tua Schuster interrupted the debate.
Chris Skelton

Independent Tua Schuster interrupted the debate.

More than 40 of the group were heard yelling "shame" as she entered the building.

About 10 minutes later, independent candidate Tua Schuster interrupted Wood to protest his exclusion from the debate.

For over two minutes Schuster blared his frustration across the room while debate adjudicators and audience members repeatedly told him to be quiet and sit down. 

Protesters yelled fervently.
Chris Skelton

Protesters yelled fervently.

One person could be heard yelling, "This is not America, all right?"

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Over 160 people turned out for the debate hosted by the Central Leader and live streamed on its Facebook page

Issues included the housing development at the Three Kings Quarry, Labour's light rail proposal, the closing of the Mt Roskill police station to the public, school funding and immigration.

The audience is gripped by the debate.
Chris Skelton

The audience is gripped by the debate.

When discussing the line between local board and Government, Wood became exasperated when an audience member yelled a remark about his wife 

"Excuse me if I hear comments about my wife from the National Party front row there might be some problems after this meeting," Wood said. 

Protesters were seen exiting the building chanting "students rights are under attack, stand up fight back".

Outside a group of them surrounded Parmar's vehicle with police saying they were close to making arrests. 

In total, seven candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the by-election, which was triggered by former MP Phil Goff's appointment as Auckland mayor.

They are Wood, Parmar, Schuster, Roshan Nauhria from the NZ People's Party, Brandon Stronge from The Cannabis Party, Andrew Leitch from Democrats for Social Credit, and Not A Party's Richard Goode.

The by-election will be held on December 3.

 - Stuff

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