Morgan to stand down as TOP leader

By Leo Horgan, Online News - Rereātea

The Opportunities Party (TOP) leader, Dr. Gareth Morgan, has announced that he will not lead the party into the next election.

Morgan says, "while I remain committed to helping fund and coordinate TOP’s evidence-based policies, I have no desire to lead the party in Parliament. With a strong group of candidates and supporters, it is proper to pass that torch on to someone else prior to the next election.”

Deputy leader Geoff Simmons, Ōhāriu candidate Jessica Hammond-Doube and Waitaki candidate Kevin Neill have also reportedly stepped down from their positions.

The announcement comes after a 2017 campaign which saw TOP's touted 'evidence-based' policies on topics such as universal basic income, Treaty obligations and conservation provoke widespread debate among New Zealanders.

However, the notoriety of the parties policies and leader did not translate into enough votes to affect change on election day.

Morgan reportedly spent more than $2mil of his own money on the campaign, which saw TOP garner 2.4% of the party vote- less than half of the 5% required to enter parliament.

Morgan says, “While there are some signs of progress from the new government, it is still not addressing the fundamental issues facing the country and has kicked for touch on major areas of concern such as genuine tax reform to boost productivity and fairness, real environmental progress, and overhauling our outdated welfare system.”

While the party considers who will lead them in the next campaign, Dr. Morgan will continue as leader.