As general elections are approaching fast we are trying to make sure that you get to know more about the politicians you are going to choose. Hence, in continuation to our segment ‘Know your Candidate’, this week be bring you Mahesh Bindra of NZ First Party, in an exclusive interview with Indian weekender’s Swati Sharma.

Swati Sharma: How do you feel about being selected as NZ First Party’s Candidate? Which constituency are you competing from?
Mahesh Bindra: It is clearly a matter of honour to be selected as a candidate for New Zealand First but that honour comes with a huge responsibility and high expectations, both from the party and our people. We will be campaigning for Party Vote for New Zealand First from Mount Roskill Electorate which has a large population of New Zealanders of Indian origin.
SS: How long have you been with the party?
MB: I have been a member of the party since 2006 and have been actively involved since then. I have participated in all Annual Conventions of the party and have been a “Foot Soldier” even during the period 2008-2011 when we were not in Parliament.
SS: Tell us something about your family and your profession. Where are you from, who are there in your family, what made you come into politics?
MB: I have a son and twin daughters. My son lives in Hong Kong. One of my daughters lives in Paris and the other one lives in Auckland. They have all done well in their respective professions and given me reasons to be proud of them.
I was born and raised in Mumbai, went to Mumbai University and got a degree in Political Science and Psychology. While doing so I also trained for a commission in the Indian Army, with the National Cadet Corps.
I come from a politically active family. My father was a senior functionary of Jana Sangh, which later formed today’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). My association with the “Sangh Parivar” goes back to the days when I became a “Swayam Sevak” of Rashtriya Swayam- Sevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 14.
In 2006 I came in contact with the Rt. Hon Winston Peters and studied the policies and principles of New Zealand First. In those days there was a lot of mistrust and scepticism in the Indian community with regards to New Zealand First in general and Mr Peters in particular. I questioned Mr. Peters a few times in public meetings and always got straight- forward answers from him. I must admit I was deeply impressed by his passion for New Zealand and New Zealanders, his courage to say things as they are and his unmatched oratory skills.
SS: If won in elections, what would be your main focus? What do you expect to do for the Indian Community in New Zealand?
MB: When New Zealand First returns to the Parliament in bigger numbers, we will continue to hold the government of the day accountable.
The problems faced by the Indian community are the same as other New Zealanders. All that an ordinary family asks for is:
Good Jobs. Affordable Housing, Quality Education, Quality Health Care , Public Safety/law and Order.
New Zealand First have robust, common-sense policies in all the above areas and more!
We believe that New Zealand is for New Zealanders and every person who is in New Zealand legally is a New Zealander whether they landed yesterday or a thousand years ago. We believe our policies are for ALL New Zealanders regardless of their race, religion, age, gender or socio-economic status.