The Opportunities Party (TOP) might be dead, but founder Gareth Morgan hopes its policy manifesto lives on.
Morgan on Friday tweeted: “Happy to fund any credible successor that puts best practice policy first & foremost, no compromise, no pampering to tax-privileged, owner-occupying property elite or their offspring.
“Only prosperity based on a foundation of fairness endures. Identity politics fans need not apply.”
Yet even in the wake of TOP losing support from its own candidates, largely due to Morgan’s controlling leadership style, he isn’t willing to part with his cash again without getting his way.
Asked by interest.co.nz what criteria anyone who approached him for funding would have to meet, Morgan said: “If any new party wanted funding from me then number one is that the policy offering we constructed is to be adopted and not to be compromised, not to be diluted down by any internal party 'democratic' compromises. That would have to be contractual.”
Morgan went on to say the party’s leadership would be “personally liable to the funder” if it didn’t implement his policies.
“I don’t care how a party runs itself, whether it has five co-leaders, sings Kumbaya every morning, and has kissing the ground each morning a condition of being a member of the cult.
“All I care about is policy…
“TOP is finished. The significant asset on wind- up is the policy manifesto that has taken 10 years of work to construct - it lives on and is available to any party to carry forward including Labour and National.
“From my perspective political compromises of best practice policy is our problem, we end up with parties implementing incoherent, poor quality policy that does at best some good and more often, harm. I’m not interested in being anywhere near one of those exercises.”
Asked who he thought was the best person to lead a party that would adopt his policy manifesto, Morgan said: “I have an open mind with respect to any party approaching me for funding to promote TOP’s policy manifesto, for me it was never about individuals, I would assess the whole package being offered.”
Morgan said that within 24 hours of tweeting about being open to funding a new group, he received six expressions of interest.
“However of course there’s a big gap between enthusiasm and capability, so let’s see if any group with gravitas is out there,” he said.
Interest.co.nz understands TOP had recruited Northland doctor and pro immunisation campaigner, Lance O’Sullivan to launch a revived TOP early next year, yet O’Sullivan walked away from the gig for personal reasons.
Geoff Simmons - one of TOP’s former co-leaders and the brains behind many of its policies - doesn’t at this stage know where to from here.
Meanwhile former TOP candidates, including Jenny Condie and Jessica Hammond, have formed a political action group, Civic, and intend to contest the 2020 election.
Asked how one finds a leader who has a high enough profile to build a following, but who isn't a fan of "identity politics” - especially given Morgan’s straight-up and rude approach formed his identity and got him mainstream media coverage in the lead up to the 2017 election, Morgan came back to his point about policy being front and centre.
“Other agendas, such as promoting the identity (or sector) politics of socio-economic status, gender, environment, ethnicity, alone wouldn’t qualify.
“The policy set integrates all the issues in a coherent manner (eg; market pricing of pollution) for the benefit of all New Zealanders - and to break the balance because of a prejudice to a particular cohort (such as the millennials for instance) would corrupt the policy offering, its integrity would be lost.”