3 Indian-origin leaders elected to New Zealand’s Parliament

RSTV Bureau

Three Indian-origin politicians, including a woman, have been elected to New Zealand’s Parliament in the just-concluded general elections.

Kanwaljeet Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar and Mahesh Bindra have successfully made it to the 121-member Parliament, the New Zealand Herald reported on Monday.

Delhi-born Bakshi and Pune graduated Parmar fought the elections as the candidates of the ruling National party while Mumbai-born Bindra was elected as the New Zealand First party candidate.

While Bakshi is all set to begin his third term in the Parliament, Parmar and Bindra are ready to make their debut, taking the growing contribution of the Kiwi Indians in New Zealand to the parliament as well.

Bakshi is both, New Zealand’s first Indian and first Sikh Member of Parliament. He was first elected in the 2008 elections.

Ranked 48th on National’s party list, Parmar will make her way to the parliament as a list MP.

Bindra contested Mount Roskill, and also prepares for parliament as a list MP after being ranked 11th on the New Zealand First party list.

The National party, led by Prime Minister John Key, won 61 seats as compared to 59 in last elections, claiming 48.06 per cent of the total votes cast from 47.31 per cent in 2011.

Following the election results, Bindra says he is the living proof that his party New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters are not anti-immigration and anti-Asian.

“Mr Peters was perceived by the Indian community for some time as being a politician who doesn’t want immigrants. That was a myth and that myth has now been dispelled,” Bindra was quoted by the paper as saying.

A political science and psychology graduate, Bindra moved to New Zealand in 2002 with his family.

Bakshi graduated from the University of Delhi in 1985 and moved to New Zealand in 2001 with his family.

Parmar, who lives in Auckland, was born in India and migrated to New Zealand in 1995. She holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Auckland and Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Pune in India.