The ACT Party has today announced that Dr James McDowall will stand as our candidate in Hamilton West.  

“I’m thrilled James is taking on this challenge for the ACT Party. In his short time in Parliament so far James has excelled in taking on the Government and proposing new ideas,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.  

“James is a talented and intelligent man. Since entering Parliament, he has developed two Member’s Bills and released a Defence Policy and Immigration Policy. His first Member’s Bill protected Free Speech at Universities and the other would reintroduce 90-Day Trial Periods.

“I’m excited to watch James promote what real change will look like. A vote for James will send a message to government that it’s time for real change.”  

“It’s clear to me that Hamilton West faces some real challenges at the moment, particularly with rising, violent crime, the increasing cost of living and the co-governance of everything,” says Dr McDowall.  

“A vote for me will show the government that it’s time to address these issues.  

“I’ll be campaigning on ACT’s policies of introducing ankle bracelets for serious and violent youth offenders, tax relief for hardworking New Zealanders and a referendum on co-governance.  

“I studied at the University of Waikato and have strong connections to Hamilton. I’m looking forward to hearing the concerns of the local community and proposing ACT’s solutions for real change.”  

About James:

James is a husband, a father, and a sitting Member of Parliament.  

Until recently, he and his wife owned an immigration law firm in Hamilton, which helped new New Zealanders settle into this community. As ACT’s spokesperson for immigration, he continues to advocate for migrants and for employers dealing with chronic staff shortages.

James’ journey with ACT began as a seventh former in 2005, culminating in being elected to Parliament in 2020. A graduate of the University of Waikato, he has called Hamilton home for the best part of 17 years. He is disheartened by the government’s lack of effort in tackling the out-of-control crime situation that is ruining livelihoods and the city’s reputation.  

A classical liberal, James believes that the best societal outcomes are achieved when the government is nimble and takes a step back, allowing people to live their lives as they see fit, so long as they are not harming others. He sees Labour’s micromanaging of the economy – and non-managing of issues such as crime – as an enormous hindrance to greater productivity and prosperity.

As ACT’s spokesperson for Defence, he has stood up for those in our armed forces, raising awareness about key issues such as wages and conditions, and the government’s lack of investment in our defence capabilities – a public good that deserves more attention.  

Prior to entering Parliament, he worked for a large NGO in the mental health sector, as well as holding roles in the tech sector and in small business. James is also passionate in the music and arts scenes and sits on the board of a major performing arts festival. With a multicultural household, his family speaks a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.

James is standing in the Hamilton West by-election to combine his experience as a list MP with his passion for Hamilton, ensuring that the people of Hamilton have their voices heard in Parliament.

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