The peo­ple have spo­ken: good­bye

Lucy Swin­nen talks missed op­por­tu­ni­ties with Gareth Mor­gan. The Maori Party were the big losers on the night, deny­ing Na­tional a po­ten­tial coali­tion part­ner.

Sunday Star-Times - - ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2017 -

Gareth Mor­gan’s The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party may have recorded a re­spectable re­sult on elec­tion night, but the boss was far from happy.

The new party recorded about 2 per cent of the party vote, not enough to get into Par­lia­ment.

The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party (TOP) held a func­tion at Welling­ton bar Meow, an oddly apt lo­ca­tion for the man well known for his dis­like of cats.

But Mor­gan once again showed he was no pussy­cat and lashed out at peo­ple vot­ing purely on self in­ter­est.

‘‘I don’t think there is any mis­take. The prob­lem is we are such a chal­leng­ing brand, and we are con­fronting the sta­tus quo, we are chal­leng­ing tax priv­i­leges here.’’

He said his party’s vot­ers were ‘‘the young and the dis­pos­sessed.’’

TOP faced op­po­si­tion from the ul­tra con­ser­va­tives and prop­erty own­ing class, he said.

Mor­gan would not ad­mit any mis­take in style or sub­stance in his cam­paign, say­ing he is who he is.

‘‘Ev­ery­body who has known me for 40 years since I had a pub­lic life knows what they are get­ting.

‘‘It works for me some­times it works against me some­times but I can’t change it. I am what I am.’’

He said the 10-month lead-in for the party may not have been enough time for the party to es­tab­lish it­self ‘‘It was a tall or­der.’’ He said he would have to go away and think about what was next for him and the party.

Asked if it would sur­vive with­out him he said ‘‘I don’t know.’’ And hoped other wealthy Ki­wis would step in and help fund the party.

‘‘This is the prob­lem with New Zealan­ders, we all say we care but when it comes down to it we don’t do any­thing about it, we vote on self-in­ter­est alone. I want to change that.

‘‘I wouldn’t call it a com­plete fail­ure,’’ he said, say­ing TOP was the fifth most pop­u­lar party.

Deputy leader Ge­off Sim­mons iden­ti­fied the ‘Jacinda ef­fect’ and the ‘lip­stick on a pig’ com­ment as a turn­ing point in the cam­paign where the party lost mo­men­tum.

Mor­gan pumped mil­lions of his own money into the elec­tion cam­paign, but de­nied it had been a waste. Richard Prosser, NZ First The writ­ing was on the wall for no­to­ri­ous NZ First list MP Richard Prosser when he was de­moted from num­ber three on the party list, the po­si­tion he en­joyed in 2014, to an un­winnable plac­ing at 15. What had Prosser done to up­set the party and its mer­cu­rial leader and founder, Win­ston Pe­ters?

He dropped a clanger as re­cently as Au­gust when he told power com­pany share­hold­ers to sell their shares be­fore NZ First na­tion­alises the com­pa­nies. But Prosser was al­ready on Pe­ters’ watch­list af­ter he came to na­tional at­ten­tion in 2013 when his col­umn in In­ves­ti­gate mag­a­zine ar­gued that men who look Mus­lim should be banned from air­lines. The worst of­fence was in­vent­ing a fic­tional home­land for his imag­i­nary ter­ror­ists, ‘‘Wo­gis­tan’’.

Prosser was shamed and put his head down but the taint of ‘‘Wo­gis­tan’’ re­mained on him, and he soon be­came known col­lo­qui­ally as the MP for Wo­gis­tan. While NZ First may court an anti-im­mi­grant vote, overt racism seemed to be a step too far.

Now 50, Prosser pre­vi­ously stood for Democrats for So­cial Credit and started a South Is­land party that never con­tested an elec­tion. He joined NZ First in 2010 af­ter hear­ing Pe­ters speak in Ran­giora and was ranked at num­ber 4 on the list the fol­low­ing year.

Orig­i­nally from Auck­land, Prosser has be­come a born-again South Is­lan­der, pre­fer­ring the south’s val­ues and sense of com­mu­nity. In per­son, he is a qui­etly spo­ken man with a dry sense of hu­mour. Be­fore go­ing into pol­i­tics he was a wine­maker and viti­cul­tur­ist.

Te Ururoa Flavell, Ma¯ori, Wa­iariki

Flavell may be feel­ing some­what un­der the weather to­day af­ter be­ing ousted from his Wa­iariki seat by Labour’s for­mer weath­er­man Ta­mati Cof­fey.

The Ma¯ori Party co-leader had been in Par­lia­ment since rolling Labour in­cum­bent Mita Rir­inui in 2005.

The Toko­roa-born MP’s party port­fo­lios in­cluded Treaty of Wai­tangi ne­go­ti­a­tions and ed­u­ca­tion where he drew on his ex­pe­ri­ence as a teacher and prin­ci­pal the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of a whare wananga.

Ear­lier in the cam­paign he told Stuff the elec­torate was keen for change.

‘‘I think the Gov­ern­ment has for­got­ten about a fair chunk of so­ci­ety. And if we are in a po­si­tion we’ve got to do a lot more on that end.’’ Me­tiria Turei, Green In 2002, Me­tiria Turei pre­dicted the prob­lems which would mar her ca­reer 15 years later: ’’I’m sure I’ll get into trou­ble even­tu­ally,’’ she told the Sun­day Star-Times.

In July this year, in a bid to high­light the plight of ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Turei ad­mit­ted to ly­ing to Work and In­come New Zealand while she was on a ben­e­fit in the 1990s. The po­lit­i­cal move, which saw a brief surge for the Greens in the polls, back­fired when it was re­vealed that she had also en­rolled at an ad­dress where she did not live in or­der to vote for a friend who was run­ning in the Mt Al­bert elec­torate in 1993.

By early Au­gust, Turei had re­signed as co-leader of the party, but not be­fore two other mem­bers had re­signed in protest at her re­main­ing. Turei was not on the Greens’ ‘‘nu­mer­i­cal list’’ and only stood in the seat of Te Tai Tonga, which meant Rino Tirikatene’s win sees her leave Par­lia­ment.

Turei, 47, grew up in Palmer­ston North. A sin­gle mum at 22, she went on to ad­vo­cate for the rights of the un­em­ployed and even­tu­ally went to law school and be­came a cor­po­rate lawyer for Auck­land firm Simp­son Gri­er­son.

Gain­ing a seat for the Greens in 2002 she told Par­lia­ment: ’’The no­tion that the western-styled, two-par­ent fam­ily unit is the only corner­stone of a de­cent so­ci­ety is a racist one. To be a Ma¯ori in this so­ci­ety is to be rev­o­lu­tion­ary by ex­is­tence.’’ Dur­ing her time in Par­lia­ment Turei in­tro­duced a num­ber of bills around medic­i­nal cannabis, liquor ad­ver­tis­ing, marine an­i­mals pro­tec­tion and crim­i­nal pro­ceeds but none were passed. Marama Fox, Ma¯ori A poor turn-out for the Ma¯ori Party’s party vote has seen coleader Marama Fox turfed from Par­lia­ment.

The party’s first list MP leaves claim­ing $4 bil­lion worth of achieve­ments for the party in­clud­ing Whanau Ora, emer­gency hous­ing, rheumatic fever screen­ing and the recog­ni­tion of Ma¯ori his­tory in schools.

Born in Porirua but raised in Christchur­ch, Fox was a school teacher and ed­u­ca­tion worker for 26 years.

She rode into Par­lia­ment in 2014 on an im­proved party vote but this year’s show­ing - and her miss in Ikaroa-Rawhiti - has seen her miss the cut.

Per­haps the most mem­o­rable part of her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer came when she re­fused to back He­len Clark for the top job at the United Na­tions over Clark’s pre­vi­ous ac­tions on fore­shore and seabed leg­is­la­tion.

The move drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion as Fox her­self recog­nised: ‘‘We don’t diss the whanau abroad.’’

Fox ad­mit­ted re­cently that the Ma¯ori Party’s nine-year sup­port of Na­tional had prob­a­bly eroded their sup­port.

But she told NZME that Na­tional and Labour were much the same.

‘‘It’s Left wing, Right wing, same damn bird.

‘‘It’s blue undies, red undies, same damn skid­marks.’’


Te Ururoa Flavell was de­feated by for­mer weath­er­man Ta­mati Cof­fey.


Marama Fox ad­mits the Maori Party’s sup­port for Na­tional may have cost votes.

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