22 Sep 2017

TOP, Greens wrangle for party vote

12:04 pm on 22 September 2017

The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan is adamant his party will make it to the Beehive, despite polling well below the five percent threshold needed to make it into Parliament.

Gareth Morgan, James Shaw

TOP founder and leader Gareth Morgan and Green Party leader James Shaw Photo: RNZ / Supplied

Mr Morgan made the comments after the Greens asked TOP supporters for their party vote, saying a vote for TOP would be a wasted vote.

Green Party leader James Shaw made the pitch to voters yesterday afternoon, arguing the election was too close for any vote to be lost.

"People who are considering voting for The Opportunities Party, they care about climate change, they care about closing the loop on capital gains and tax reform, they care about lifting people out of poverty through things like a universal basic income.

"And the Green Party is the party that has the best chance of carrying those ideas into Parliament and into government."

Voter Larissa Wilson has already cast her ballot for TOP, but said in any case she would not have been swayed by Mr Shaw's appeal.

"I think people should be voting for the policies they like the best, rather than voting strategically against policies they like the least, which seems to be happening a lot at the moment."

Jacinta Saeki, who has voted Green in the past but was backing TOP this time, agreed with that sentiment.

"When the Greens started in politics it would have been considered a wasted vote. Down the track here is the TOP party in the same position - trying to get a foot into government.

"I personally feel that it's important that people vote for what they believe in as opposed to voting strategically."

Greens 'irrelevant' - Morgan

TOP founder and leader Gareth Morgan said Green Party voters should be swinging in behind TOP.

"It looks to me like National's actually going to win this, which means that the Greens, yet again, after all these years of trying, are irrelevant actually and that's a real tragedy for the environment."

He said TOP was willing to work with either National or Labour on policies of concern - which he contrasted with the Greens' unwillingness to work with National.

"It's not fair on the environment that you only actually get to attend to it, if you're lucky, when Labour is in power. Because at least half the time National is in power.

"And the environment is an issue for all New Zealanders - not just the elite and the Green Party."

Mr Morgan said the polls were wrong, and TOP would be in the Beehive after Saturday's vote.

"I know how those polls are done, and they're basically done on landlines. I ask the question every single night, in the town halls. And tonight in the Town Hall it was 80 percent of people in our audiences do not have access to a landline."

Even if TOP did not make the five percent threshold this year, Ms Wilson said she did not consider her vote wasted.

"If they get close and they don't get in that means they're just building for next time. They're not going anywhere, so it's still worth it."

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