The Opportunities Party won't contest the 2020 election; Gareth Morgan says the Jacinda effect shows people don't vote on policy

The Opportunities Party won’t contest the 2020 election.

It has released the following statement to the media:

"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.”

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38 Comments

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Bugger. Back to 4 or 5 useless options again.

Every party besides red and blue has either been started by ex members of red or blue or secured one seat through funny circumstances like coat tailing (Act), racial seats (Maori) or a Gerrymander-like electorate (Peter Dunne).
It's not a democratic system when Dunne can get an entire seat with 0.22% of the votes and TOP, Conservatives etc can't get one seat with 10 or 20x the votes.
Of course the foxes elect to keep the 5% barrier in place.

The electoral commission chose 5% to keep the system "stable", yeah right.

For me Once a party gets to enough of a % to equate to an MP to represent them then they should have that MP.

It's like everything in NZ; an oligopoly pretending to be a competition

Interesting... Google, via gmail, evidently sorted this email correctly as I found it in my spam folder. Sorry to see the options reduce, although not sorry to see some of the misguided fiscal policies sink quietly into the west.

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I think he is quoted elsewhere complaining something like if, 20% of the vote can change in 48 hours just because of a change of a leader, with no accompanying change of policy, then New Zealand has a problem. And on that note, he is dead bloody right!

He is absolutely right on that ... Hope most of these 20% have now woke up and smelling the coffee !!

Not really. I think it showed NZ wanted a refreshing change, she's not Princess Diana or Mother Teresa after all. A stale National offering more of the same , vs a Labour party with a vaguely presented set of policies. Bill English vs Andrew Little.(Both very capable men , but inspiring???). Jacinda changed the energy , and the team got in behind her and sharpened up the presentation of the policies, plus some minor tweaks. "Lets do this" was a master stroke , looking back . (I didn't think much of it at the time).

I don't know but that sounds an awful lot like how Trump hustled his way into the White House.
Folks saw him as an outsider with a fresh perspective to politics, different from the same old Kennedy-Bush-Clinton domination. Democrats had excellent candidates like Bernie but were the very least inspiring for some crude, insignificant reasons like age.

"Make America Great Again", "America First" - I am sure many didn't think much of it at the time either.
Labour voters got played in 2017 like Republicans did in 2016. I am in no way suggesting she is the same person, but in a lot of ways has used the same "elected office for dummies" playbook.

If Gareth could have pulled off the "God Emperor" meme maybe he would have had better luck.
Unfortunately he was probably the exact opposite of that and a social justice warrior to boot.

The currently popular expression 'tone deaf' comes to mind.

Jacinda was successful because NZ is about ten years behind the times when people still thought strong leading ladies would sell movies.

He gave it a go regardless of what anyone thinks of his policies. And furthermore knew when to call it quits.

Good

For better or worse charisma has always been a huge part of electoral process. That's just the way it is.

I have a sneaky suspicion this party formed as a dummy party formed by some National Party 'brain' to catch some votes by hard-hitting on opposition policies and make themselves sure that they don't catch 5% votes. And was designed to disperse after an year or so; which happened now.
The 2.5% votes they got would have surely gone against National party !

One worthless party down 5 more to go.
1. His policies were not as good as he thought. Much like the Phoenix.
2. His past caught up with him, the "cat killer" was always going to be a tough one to spin.
3. He claimed logic and analysis as the backbone of his party, but never actually applied logical analysis to his party's actions. Him as the front man, no electorate, and a tax on capital were never going to work.

Gareth to Earth : " I am too smart for you .. I am out of here "
Earth to Gareth : "Good riddance ."

Hmmm, Parties come and go ... the quickest would be those with the most radical ideas and agendas.
We will be better without GM than with him around.

Yes Eco too radical for our political climate. The property tax concept had as much chance of flying as Thatcher’s poll tax! Have to ask the question though. Did those of us who voted for MMP expect the current political landscape. That is a choice of the same two traditional parties with the ability of a couple of fleas to wag the tail to have the dog choose which one?

Patronising voters to the end. A lesson to all politicans , I hope.
I do wonder if it is actually possible for a new ( not a split or existing MP)party to make 5 %?.Perhaps we need a "apprentice" entry level. Say 2-3 % for a new party, with the proviso they need to make 5 % after 3 years.

I think we just need to teach entry level Politics in NZ Schools.

Most people do not seem to understand MMP at all.

I think they do , as far as a vote for a party not likely to make 5 % is a wasted vote. Particularly if you are wanting to save, or vote in a coalition. If National were comfortably in the lead , some of their voters might have voted Top, likewise if Labour looked like it would have romped in, some of theirs might have voted TOP. But when the going is close, people will vote conservatively.
Perhaps a new party can make 5 % , if one of the main parties they align with looks to win comfortably.

As long as I continue to hear "National got the most votes" etc... Then I can't accept that Kiwi's understand their own system.

What you say does seem to hold true though. There are a lot of people looking for someone to vote, the problem I think more stems from the Media. They really only give coverage to the big two parties. We need to get away from that and have proper open debates, and coverage.

They do, but obviously older folk didn't get that education. Additionally, people are pretty good at ignoring information that doesn't support their worldview.

Indeed ppl vote with their wallets was never a truer statement.

Early on there was a lot more application than now. For instance a lot of National voters gave their party vote to Act. At that time Act had some real old stagers such as Prebble, who then in fact went on to win Wellington Central. On the other side Labour voters had the Alliance similarly, and as well Anderton held Sydenham. Those days were probably as close as we ever got towards seeing a MMP government performing in the sense of say Germany. Seems as a nation we are too small an electorate or partisan or both.

And here’s another angle. The Royal Commission on MMP did not recommend an increase to 120 MP’s. The number need only have been 90 or so by their count. The MP’s of the day voted for 120 on the cynical strategy that NZ’s were sick enough of them already and therefore would not vote for more of the same. David Lange went on record to say that was the most shameful episode he ever witnessed in parliament. So the question is, how would our MMP have functioned with 90 MP’s? One assumes the average calibre would be of a considerable improvement. Perhaps it would have performed closer to the design.

MP's need time as backbenchers to learn the skills necessary to be effective Ministers. We are seeing just how shallow the Labour talent pool is that they can't find the necessary replacements to enable demotion of abject failures like Davis, Curren, Twyford. So in spite of the extra cost, I think the 120 MP's is worth it to improve the talent pool for when moribund oppositions get handed the Treasury benches by Narcissistic septugenarians. NZ needs the most competent government it can get, regardless of which party is in power.

It's a great pity.

Gareth is talented and well-meaning - not just wealthy. He'd make a very good Prime Minister.

TOP provided for a realistic option - and better to have more (than less) choice in a democracy.

TTP

Wealthy male pale stale heteronormative Boomer. He was urinating into the wind of Cutlural Marxism from Day one. His position on cats and lipsticked pigs did him no favours either. I thought his capital tax was a straw man for means tested super (getting it back when the oldies croak) but I know of well educated young people who gave him their vote, I suspect because they thought he might fast forward their chances of home ownership so he gained some traction.

Had plenty of interest from us old-timers. Attending one of his public meetings was interesting. Mainly white haired and generally enthusiastic - certainly not hostile. The 'partnership' with Maori went down like a dead duck and the fervent anti-Winston line received only polite laughter

I've been an avid supporter of TOP and their thoughtful policies. I don't know what to say or think, but I kept coming back to a poem [not sure why] which I shall henceforth share::

He came to my desk with a quivering lip,
the lesson was done.
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted
and gave him a new one all unspotted.
And into his tired heart I cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

I went/came to the throne with a trembling heart;
the day was done.
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted
and gave me a new one all unspotted.
And into my tired heart he cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

Author anonymous, “A New Leaf,” James G. Lawson, compiler, The Best Loved Religious Poems (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1961).

GM is right, just like the US we vote too much on personalities, not enough on policies. I also agree TOP proposed by far the fairest policies, luckily for me (I would have been worse off) most people didn't understand their policies

Imagine how much better TOP would have done with Jacinda's smile at the helm (sorry Gareth), it would easily have reached the 5% threshold and then some

It’s a sad indictment on some voters if that’s the case. However, given the less attractive people who’ve been successful politicians there is hope it’s not yet the majority.

Pity they gave up so easily, rather than putting in the effort to build it over a few years.

He provided an alternative for those who could not longer stomach National, but wished to avoid the left.

As the gaps grows between the prosperous and less prosperous will see more and more left leaning voters and policy's that appeal to them (the targeting of landlords perhaps the first policy symptoms we are seeing).

Can't see how a left wing rise can be avoided in the troubled times ahead.

That is an interesting prediction and I totally agree with it. What surprised me though was the USA election where you would have thought the black american, hispanic, Asian and lower than middle class and generally poor vote would have swamped any hope of Trump succeeding. Can’t happen here because we don’t have the distortion of electoral college counting, but our last election too produced a government that excluded the popular majority party.

At least he tried to think outside conservative and progressive boxes with an evidence based ideology. Pure folly it seems. Back to the bipolar boorishness. Sigh.