Three Indian-origin politicians, including a Sikh, were elected to New Zealand’s Parliament in the just-concluded general elections.
Kanwaljeet Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar and Mahesh Bindra have made it to the 121-member Parliament, the New Zealand Herald reported on Monday.
While Delhi-born Bakshi is set to begin his third term in Parliament, Pune-graduate Parmar and Mumbai-born Bindra are ready to make their debut, taking the growing contribution of Kiwi Indians in New Zealand to 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.
Bakshi and Parmar fought the elections as the candidates of the ruling National Party, while Bindra was elected as the New Zealand First candidate.
The National Party, led by Prime Minister John Key, won 61 seats as compared to 59 in the last elections, claiming 48.06% of the total votes cast, up from 47.31% in 2011.
Following the election results, Bindra said he was the living proof that his party New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters were 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’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry from the University of Pune.