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.
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.