A Christian party headed by National List MP Alfred Ngaro (Te Atatu) was reportedly to stand in the Botany seat at next year’s General Election.
Earlier in the week media reported that Ngaro, a former Cabinet minister, was planning to lead a new Christian conservative party, potentially providing National with another coalition partner at next year’s election.
National would not run a candidate in the Botany seat held currently by rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross, now an independent.
Voters would be encouraged to get behind Ngaro, in much the same way National voters get in behind ACT in Epsom.
While National Party Leader Simon Bridges initially described it as just a rumour and speculation, Judith Collins was quoted saying she don’t know just quite what’s going on there. However she did concede that the idea is interesting “but it is only rumour and speculation.”
Jami-Lee Ross, who has held the National seat since 2011, said: “Alfred is a nice guy, that’s why I was happy to help him, campaign the three times he stood in West Auckland.
“I’ve spent the past few months this year knocking on doors in Botany, discussing local issues, helping constituents and getting feedback.
“I don’t believe Botany can be taken for granted or just gifted away by any political party. I’ll keep working for Botany as its local MP until local people tell me otherwise.”
“Discussions have not taken place with Alfred Ngaro or anybody else about a deal in the electorate.
“The selection process to choose a National candidate will be robust and will be carried out either later this year or early in 2020. I look forward to working closely with our candidate in Botany in 2020 once they are selected and fighting for the issues that matter to the East Auckland community.”
In an interesting twist to the story, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown sent a statement later saying that the National Party has not had any discussions with Ngaro about a deal in the Botany electorate.
“The National Party is committed to the Botany electorate and we will be running a strong National candidate at the 2020 election to win that seat for the National Party.