11 Aug 2017

TOP launches election campaign: 'We're the new kids on the block'

5:47 pm on 11 August 2017

The Opportunities Party (TOP) has officially launched its election campaign in Wellington, with a promise to change the political landscape by getting rid of the old guard.

TOP leader Gareth Morgan and candidates at the party's campaign launch in Wellington.

TOP leader Gareth Morgan and candidates at the party's campaign launch in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The fledgling party, which was founded in November, unveiled 20 candidates and a lofty ambition to gain 10 percent of the party vote in September, and 30 percent in 2020.

Party founder and leader Gareth Morgan chose the St John church hall in the central city to launch his party's campaign.

In front of a crowd of about 50 people, he introduced his election candidates and spoke about how the major political parties were failing New Zealand.

He warned the existing political system was throwing a "hospital pass" to the next generation.

"We're leaving them loaded with debt for their education while we ask them to pay for our retirement.

"We are pricing them out of the housing market, while we can make tax-free capital gains.

"When they don't conquer the massive hurdles we put in their way, we make them jump through hoops for welfare payments, while calling them lazy dope heads."

The wealthy businessman said The Opportunities Party was already making big strides with those who were tired of the old establishment.

"It hasn't been easy - we're the new kids on the block so we don't get the sort of coverage or funding the old establishment parties have access to, but we have one huge advantage, we are free of the hatred of old tribal politics."

TOP was building on its lead over the other minor parties - such as ACT, the Māori Party and United Future - with 2 percent of the vote in the latest RNZ poll of polls - but the party said it wanted to reach 10 percent in September.

Hamilton West candidate Donna Pokere-Phillips was confident they would have members in the next parliament.

"There was talk today that we are sitting at nearly 4 percent now."

Mr Morgan said the party had no interest in being in government or having ministerial positions - instead it would auction off its confidence and supply to the party that supported the most of its policies.

The launch was the first time the 20 candidates from all over the country had met. Mr Morgan expected to have up to 25 list and electorate candidates by the end the month.

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