Otago Daily Times

NZPP break­away now be­ing called ‘restor­ing au­ton­omy’

- BERNARD ORSMAN Politics · Elections · Greater Auckland · New Zealand

AUCK­LAND: Billy Te Kahika is do­ing a U­turn on his com­ments that he was ‘‘sev­er­ing’’ his ties with Ad­vance NZ — in­stead say­ing he is restor­ing the au­ton­omy of his New Zealand Pub­lic Party.

The former Ad­vance NZ coleader emailed can­di­dates on Sun­day night and said now the elec­tion was over ‘‘I be­lieve it is time that the New Zealand Pub­lic Party (NZPP) breaks away from the al­liance with Ad­vance NZ and, with Re­set NZ, re­form back to the party we are meant to be’’.

Af­ter nu­mer­ous me­dia re­ports that Mr Te Kahika had quit, Ad­vance NZ sent a state­ment to news­rooms.

‘‘NZPP is clear that its leader is not step­ping down, and it is not sev­er­ing its re­la­tion­ship with Ad­vance NZ,’’ said NZPP di­rec­tor Michael Stace.

‘‘It is sim­ply restor­ing its au­ton­omy.’’

Ad­vance NZ would ‘‘al­ways have our sup­port’’ and Mr Te Kahika said he would ‘‘main­tain strong re­spect and friend­ship’’ with Ad­vance NZ leader JamiLee Ross.

He would con­tinue to work with Mr Ross on ‘‘com­mon goals where needed’’, he said.

‘‘Re­turn­ing NZPP to its own path for­ward is not a new idea, and was dis­cussed prior to and dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign. We are get­ting back to do­ing what we do best,’’ Mr Stace said.

‘‘That means re­search­ing top­ics that the Gov­ern­ment is not trans­par­ent about.’’

Mr Te Kahika, in his email to can­di­dates, said he would take poli­cies from the Ad­vance NZ al­liance and flesh them out.

‘‘I will also be sup­port­ing [Mr Ross] any way I can to deal with any is­sues over the com­ing months, in­clud­ing his court case — that is what friends are for.’’

Yes­ter­day, Mr Ross told the Her­ald he had not spo­ken to Mr Te Kahika since the elec­tion, al­though he said the pair had ex­changed emails.

Fol­low­ing Mr Te Kahika’s email, Mr Ross emailed party sup­port­ers to say Mr Te Kahika ‘‘has de­cided not to con­tinue with the party’’.

‘‘Nat­u­rally this is sad for us all,’’ Mr Ross said.

He said Mr Te Kahika had in­spired many peo­ple around New Zealand, say­ing this was not the end of the party.

‘‘Ad­vance NZ will be con­tin­u­ing, and will be re­struc­tur­ing into the next phase of our jour­ney.

‘‘The haste of the elec­tion cam­paign meant ev­ery­thing was done in a hurry. Our re­con­sti­tuted party, with more time now, will be the demo­cratic, trans­par­ent and pro­fes­sional party that mem­bers, sup­port­ers and can­di­dates de­serve.

‘‘In the com­ing months we will be com­plet­ing the re­view that was started a few days ago.

‘‘The plan for the fu­ture will see a spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing held early next year, and a re­con­sti­tuted party, with a new na­tion­wide struc­ture, con­tinue in prepa­ra­tion for 2023,’’ Mr Ross said.

On elec­tion night, Ad­vance NZ got 20,841 party votes, or 0.9% of the pre­lim­i­nary vote, well short of the 5% thresh­old for seats in Par­lia­ment.

Ad­vance NZ grew a large so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing off the back of con­spir­acy the­o­ries and op­po­si­tion to Covid­19 lock­downs.

It had more im­pact on­line than at the polls, and will be re­mem­bered for anti­lock­down protests in the lead­up to the elec­tion, and its out­landish claims and pro­mo­tion of mis­in­for­ma­tion (a can­di­date claimed the Lake Ohau fires were caused by a di­rect en­ergy weapon, for ex­am­ple). — The New Zealand Her­ald

 ??  ?? Billy Te Kahika
Billy Te Kahika
 ??  ?? Jami­Lee Ross
Jami­Lee Ross

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