Topped

Written By: - Date published: 4:31 pm, July 9th, 2018 - 36 comments
Categories: political parties, TOPS - Tags:

From scoop

The Board of The Opportunities Party (TOP) has decided to request that the Electoral Commission cancel TOP’s registration as a political party.

TOP was formed in late 2016 to contest the 2017 election in which it polled at 2.4%. Since the election the Board has considered whether it would invest time and money in preparing the Party to contest 2020 and after due consideration has decided against it.

Party founder Dr Gareth Morgan said, “I’m proud of the policy manifesto we developed and have no doubt it was by far the strongest on offer to improve New Zealanders’ incomes, business productivity, social fairness and environmental sustainability. The legacy of that manifesto remains and to be frank was all that personally ever interested me.”

“The voting public demonstrated that best practice, evidence-informed policy is not of significant concern when deciding elections. When 20% of the vote moves in 48 hours simply on the back of a change of leader, with no improvement at all in policy being offered, what makes the New Zealand voter tick is clear.”

“TOP was formed to improve the policy options on offer. Too few voters supported our policies. That’s reality and we accept that. With no inclination to compromise policy for political ambition, or to de-emphasise best practice policy for the promotion of whatever else attracts people’s votes, it’s pretty obvious what the appropriate course of action for this party should be.”

“I’d like to thank all those involved with TOP. We had fun and we challenged people and for the more than 60,000 people really interested in best practice policy, we appealed. They have reason to be proud.”

36 comments on “Topped”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    “The voting public demonstrated that best practice, evidence-informed policy is not of significant concern when deciding elections. When 20% of the vote moves in 48 hours simply on the back of a change of leader, with no improvement at all in policy being offered, what makes the New Zealand voter tick is clear.”

    Yeah right. That does not prove that people voting on policies would vote in numbers for TOP. Voting on policies, can also involve considering the extent to which the party can implement their policies. And that requires a bit of a longer term solid track record.

    It takes time to build a party and support for it. It was arrogance and ignorance on the part of Morgan, who thought his top-down approach, taken from business models, would result in a successful party at short notice.

  2. bwaghorn 2

    It would be interesting to know were their votes would have gone in 2017 if they aren’t there. I would have held my nose and voted labour or green .

  3. RedLogix 3

    As one of the more upfront supporters of TOP here I’ll be honest and say I’m disappointed, but not surprised. Still Morgan got my respect for putting his money where his mouth was and giving it a go. For the most part (not all) it turned out a reasonable attempt to break up the strangulated middle of NZ politics, held hostage by extremes on both the left and right.

    Most of the policies were at the very least interesting, and had some decent, pragmatic logic behind them. But true to their principles, they looked at the evidence arising from the election, decided the numbers were not there, and packed up the tent with dignity.

    I only wish the same could have been said for a few other minor parties who’ve hung around long after their used-by date.

    • Ad 3.1

      Finally we disagree on something.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Yeah … just lining up a bunch of strawmen and ad-homs to trot out. 🙂

        Morgan is a divisive personality, absolutely he can do self-righteous wanker to a tee, but equally there is a lot more to him than this.

        But I ask you this; in an election cycle where the media absolutely promotes personality over policy at every turn, exactly what media strategy should TOP have pursued? Morgan was by far their most recognisable personality and even he, playing the wanker card to the max, was pretty much frozen out.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          I would have bought myself some Labour politicians and taken over the policy process.

          Failing that, at two days out I would have instructed all my supporters to give their party vote to Labour.

          Then made myself the Deputy Chief of Staff Policy. Ta-daaa.

          Parker’s the only real brains they’ve got, and he’ll wear out after a term at the rate he’s going.

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            Love your machiavellian sense of political theatre 🙂

            But if nothing else the entire flop demonstrates pretty clearly that the 5% threshold pretty much ensures that ANY new party, however well intentioned, funded or impeccably well behaved, is up against some very steep odds.

          • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1.2

            Yeah, I’ve held your view re Parker for the past five or so years. But I have been impressed with Jacinda since she came to the fore so now I also except her from the Labour drone thing.

  4. Ad 4

    What a self-righteous wanker.

    There’s plenty of policies left and right that were well costed and reasoned, and supported.
    What the winning party also had was ideals and charisma.

    If policies were his goal, then Gareth Morgan should have formed a policy institute.
    He just misdirected his effort, wasting his money and the hopes of those who got him 60,000 votes.

    • roy cartland 4.1

      And if they were ALL about policy, why did the billboards feature his enormous mug all over them?

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        Yeah, the didn’t want to be leader guy. No marketing smarts: why would anyone try to sell a blue-green party to the public by avoiding use of the blue-green brand??

        Opportunities is barely less banal than an association of consumers and taxpayers. Perhaps he got legal advice that the Nats would sue, claiming they have copyright on the brand due to the heavily-suppressed internal faction having a website featuring it. But copyright law is part of commercial law – nothing to do with electoral law. Thin ice for the Nats to skate on.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Gareth Morgan should have formed a policy institute.

      Well that describes this fairly accurately: http://morganfoundation.org.nz/

      I agree that Morgan’s attempt at becoming the Donald Trump of NZ politics didn’t go over well, in reality he lacks the deep narcissism and hubris necessary to have pulled that off.

      (On the other hand Clive Palmer looks set to give it a good school try in Australia.)

      • Ad 4.2.1

        Fair enough on the institute.

        And he put his own money where his mouth was.

        Maybe his long term legacy will be a predator-free New Zealand.
        Which is worth doing.

    • Tricledrown 4.3

      Where did the 60,000 votes come from
      5 time’s the numbers ACT received.
      Morgan another pale stale male who thought he knew everything.
      He alienated to many people and his polling went down early not giving his supporters the confidence that their vote would count.
      If he kept his big mysoginist Cataclysmic solutions to him self he may have got to 5%.
      Now after getting a good start he was always looking for a quick fix obviously
      Now he has run away with tail between his leg’s looking like another Colin Craig.

      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        pale stale male

        Interesting how so-called lefties who love waffling on about how caring, inclusive and morally ethical they are, readily indulge themselves in the kind of reverse-race superiority they’d fulminate against if it was coming from a white skin-head. You do realise just how deeply counterproductive this kind of epithet is; it always generates blow-back and actively recruits for the right.

        Or put more simply; if you indulge in this kind of stereotyping you have zero defense when someone does it to you.

    • James 4.4

      “What a self-righteous wanker”

      That says more about you than him.

      • Tricledrown 4.4.1

        The right are happy to let illegal gangs intimidate people sell drugs posses guns have their pin up Aryan pin ups come and preach hatred.

  5. Booker 5

    I’m on the TOP email list and just saw this email.

    I went to a TOP road show before the last election and there was real interest in an alternative party. I recall a few questions from the audience along the lines of wanting a change in government more than anything and being concerned that if TOP got less than 5% their vote would be wasted. Seems that fear played a part in keeping voters away too.

    I think it’s a sad development they’re gone, we need more than a 2 party system. I didn’t vote for them as I’m a Greens member, but I’m a scientist and feel there’s a big hole in modern politics where evidence-based policy should be. Sure, some parties have well-reasoned plans which align with evidence but in general it’s sadly lacking, and the reason we don’t see progress in our society is governments who continue to do what they think sounds nice, or whatever dog whistle policy will rouse their supporters, rather than thinking through what’s actually going to make a difference to NZ.

    • Ankerrawshark 5.1

      Booker I was encouraged when I heard the new science advisor to the pm interviewed on the nation and said she would work to get more science into policy. She mentioned mental health in this which would be terrific. IMO they should have done this rather than had the commission

    • Janet 5.2

      “there’s a big hole in modern politics where evidence-based policy should be”
      Yes you are so right!

      TOP was attractive to me because I liked the way they researched and developed policy that was clear-eyed and unfettered by dogma. I have longed for a fresh well-rounded party to step forward and eclipse the “Left” and the “Right” which I am sick and tired of hearing defined so! A New modern inclusive New Zealand party is long overdue. Thank you Gareth for giving it a go I am hoping the results of your research have influenced those who govern us now – then all is not lost.

      • Ross 5.2.1

        Janet, didnt TOP propose giving everyone, including the wealthy, $200? That isnt evidence based, it’s nuts!

    • Dennis Frank 5.3

      Likewise a GP member (physics grad), pleasantly surprised to find myself never having to disapprove Gluckman’s advocacy, but while I agree with evidence-based policy in general I suspect it will never be as applicable as you may want.

      And to Janet: I wonder if by inclusive you also mean centrist. The Greens were established to represent the broader green movement on that traditional basis. As soon as Winston retires NZF will evaporate and centrist votes will be up for grabs. I assumed, wrongly, that Morgan would be smart enough to see that future looming and everyone knows the Nats need a coalition partner & TOP was the likeliest contender – so I can only draw the conclusion that nobody with political nous joined!

      • Janet 5.3.1

        By inclusive I meant no preoccupation with labelling as “left ” “Right” or anything. Just focus on developing policy that is right and good for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    “…“The voting public demonstrated that best practice, evidence-informed policy is not of significant concern when deciding elections. When 20% of the vote moves in 48 hours simply on the back of a change of leader, with no improvement at all in policy being offered, what makes the New Zealand voter tick is clear…”

    So the cocksucker doesn’t like democracy, he clearly thinks he to good for it. Not for him the distasteful lack of sophistication of the average punter. I bet he’d rather have a committee of appointed technocrats (including himself, of course) inflicting their “scientific” policies on us and screw you if you don’t like it.

    This statement just goes to confirm what I thought all along. Morgan is just another know it all rich fuckwit from that long line of know it all rich fuckwits whose idea of public service is to arrogantly think they are doing us all a favour when they try to buy their way into a power.

    Good riddance to (not even that good) plutocratic rubbish.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      So the cocksucker doesn’t like democracy,

      Actually he showed a lot more respect for democracy than you. He put up a fair chunk of his own cash and played the democracy game exactly according to the rules. And then when it didn’t play out the way he hoped, he hasn’t hung about whining for decades, and the party has done the decent thing by totally accepting responsibility for the outcome and doing the logical thing.

      As for the ‘buying your way into power’ thing, I trust you will be true to your principle here and never, ever donate money to any political party again. You know, just in case they use it to ‘buy their way into power’. Better still you should demonstrate to us all just how easy it is, start a new Party (call it the “Purity Party” if you want) and get yourselves over the 5% threshold with zero budget.

      Snark aside, I understand it was risky for Morgan to try and ‘bump start’ a political party with his own cash. But our onerous 5% threshold makes it very difficult for ANY minor party to build organically. Even the Greens still hover dangerously close to Parliamentary oblivion after decades of party work.

      If throwing cash at the problem is not acceptable to you, and slow organic party building simply doesn’t work in anyone’s lifetime, exactly what alternatives do you have to the two party duopoly? All I can think is that if hurling unwarranted personal abuse is the basis for a successful electoral platform, you may have just stumbled onto something 🙂

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        Besides the spontaneous (!) conception of a brand new party and grow it organically to above the 5% threshold ab initio I can only see one other way to challenge the party duopoly (and also the political polarisation that comes with it), which is a break-away party. I don’t think NZ is quite ready for full-on MMP with a lower threshold (or better: no threshold); the two major parties certainly aren’t. Much more could be said on this subject …

    • Dennis Frank 6.2

      So calling him that is designed to test the moderator’s competence? Or to prove that leftists have lower standards of civilised behaviour than the rest of us?

      Or are you actually being real clever, and knowing he’s a multimillionaire plus Section 61 of our Human Rights Act 1993 [which states: It shall be unlawful for any person –
      (a) to publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting] you are tempting him to do a Bob Jones and sue you for defamation?

      I can see the headlines now: Leftist Devoid of Courtesy sued by Filthy Rich Capitalist! You could change your name to Don Quixote by deed poll and tell the judge “Yer honor, every time the dude showed up on television he looked just like a windmill.”

  7. Sabine 7

    good riddance to that tax avoiding wanker.

  8. JessNZ 8

    TOP/Morgan had unrealistic expectations of quick political success as well as all the other personal issues – look at the histories of existing political parties (eg Greens) and see how long they took to establish themselves, and with how many parties in cooperation.

    One election was never going to do it, and Morgan was pretty honest that he wasn’t going to hang around being a political nobody doing the hard yards.

  9. millsy 9

    Shame really. They had some good ideas. But equally some crap ones. Hopefully the IP and policies will be taken up by those who are willing to dig in and take a long term approach, rather than fold the tent and go home at the first defeat.

    Though, it’s wonderful to be able to piss away several millions over 2 1/2 years.

  10. mauī 10

    Yes ashame really, love him or hate him having a handful of TOP MPs in Government bringing fresh, divergent ideas to the table would in the main be very good for the country I feel. Taking their youth UBI policy as an example, right now school leavers would have a universal benefit for 5 years. That would be life changing for that group and would go some way in addressing the problems we have in youth unemployment and associated issues.

    I was similarly excited with Inter Mana and Laila’s campaign as I was with TOP.

  11. Brigid 11

    Office of Gareth Morgan
    Leader of the Opportunities Party
    Spokesperson, Leadership
    Spokesperson, Investors Remorse.

    To Whomever It May Concern

    https://twitter.com/BeehiveLetters/status/1016217225940779008

    #satire

  12. xanthe 12

    Well good on them for deciding and requesting deregistration, contrast with the internet party that forced the EC to make that decision for them on the grounds of insufficient membership, Which, given that parties may not have subs lasting more than three years means they almost certainly did not have the members to contest in 2017 general election

  13. SaveNZ 13

    At least Garth Morgan gave it a go. And he knew when to give up too. Some good ideas and Millsy says some crap ones too. I think they were a success to get over 2% and produced more analysis.

    Sadly NZ does not that keen to embrace new parties due to be royally screwed over by many of the the ones in the past or they are denigrated so much by the other parties that they can’t get established.

    Pity in some ways, as new ideas are great, debate is good. I feel in NZ we just get too focused on such a narrow political debate and don’t explore enough different approaches to solve contemporary issues.

    We are stuck in neoliberalism from both major parties and they don’t seem to be able to think of a different way that on those neoliberal reports that have been the same in nature for 30 years.

  14. R.P Mcmurphy 14

    morganis a nasty piece of work. when he owned triedme he let wailboil and fatboy farrar run riot with blatant racism and left baiting.

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