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The By-election

A by-election was held on Saturday in Mt Roskill. The Labour candidate, Michael Wood, won comfortably. The National candidate, Parmjeet Parmar received 4,652 votes but Michael Wood had 11,179 votes so he won by 6,518 votes.

A by-election is held between general elections when there is a vacancy. The next general election is not until later next year but there was a vacancy in the Mt Roskill electorate when Phil Goff became Mayor of Auckland. Phil Goff was a Labour MP. It is usual in a by-election for the opposition to win and in this case, Labour had held the seat for many years so it was very difficult for National to win. Phil Goff was elected as MP for Mt Roskill in 1981, and apart from 3 years in the 1990s, he was re-elected at every election. When he became mayor of Auckland this year, he resigned from Parliament and this is the reason for the by-election.

Vocabulary

• By-election – a special election to fill a vacancy. “by” can mean not the main thing for example “by the way”. Perhaps that helps to understand the expression by-election.
• candidate – a person who stands in an election, a person who competes in an election
• to win comfortably – to have a lot more votes than needed. In this case he had more than 6,000 votes than he needed
• electorate – the area which has an MP
• MP – Member of Parliament
• The Opposition – not the party which is in government, the main Opposition Party at the moment is Labour
• National Party – the party of the government at the mome

Question

Why do you think an opposition party usually wins in a by-election?