TOP is gearing up to contest the 2020 election with plans for a rebrand and a renewed focus on the environment.
Our Focus for 2020
TOP’s Annual General Meeting was held on the weekend. During my speech I unveiled our Campaign Strategy. At our core TOP stays the same: we are about real change that offers hope to New Zealanders. This means thinking long term, and being prepared to do what works, instead of what gets us the most votes. TOP will never succumb to the compromise and butt-covering that is so coveted by career politicians. We are in politics to do ourselves out of a job.
TOP’s policies are best practice, but there are too many to effectively communicate all of them to people. We confused a lot of people in 2017, and they weren’t sure what we stood for. That is why I announced that the environment would be our prime focus for the 2020 election.
Some say we are in a Climate Crisis. Given our challenges with deteriorating water quality and loss of native species, I believe we are really in an Environmental Crisis. Many young people are now forgoing their right to have children because of the future they would be born into. We have to build a clean and clever economy, and we have to do it now.
Cleaning up our rivers and lakes in particular are the key focus for TOP in any negotiations post the next election. This issue cuts to the heart of how we use land in New Zealand, and taking strong action on this would also bring benefits in terms of lower greenhouse gas emissions and helping our native species.
Naturally the environment is also a key focus for the Green Party, however last week the Green Party ruled out working with National. This means they will remain shackled to Labour’s left flank, with no bargaining power, and their focus muddied by identity politics. This is not good enough for anyone that cares about our environment. The environment needs to be represented at the table no matter what shade of government we have. As a country and planet we simply don’t have time for tribal politics.
The Opportunities Party will continue to use social media for engagement on the important issues. Our engagement rates have always been incredibly high and we have maintained those rates through the transition period. Our volunteer base is well over 1,000 and we have boots on the ground in every region in Aotearoa and several overseas regional co-ordinators.
Other priorities for the party include affordable, quality housing and being prepared to seize the opportunities that will come from disruptive technologies. The party already has policies that will deliver these goals including tax reform, rental reform, UBI (Unconditional Basic Income), gene editing, and has more on the way.
Board and Policy Committee Changes and Next Steps
At the AGM lawyer Shai Navot, Creative Director Matt Zwartz and serial IT entrepreneur Antony Dixon were welcomed onto the Board. Their range of skills will serve the party well in the run up to next year’s election. On Monday 12th August, Donna Pokere-Phillips departed the Board.
The newly-formed board has met already and approved the proposed re-brand.
We also welcomed two new members to the Policy Committee: innovation specialist Anne French and Resource Management specialist Helen Marr. TOP’s Policy Committee is run by experts and oversees our policy. They are independent of the Board which manages the political side of the organisation. This split is to ensure that policy remains best practice, rather than becoming compromised by public opinion as it does in every other political party.
This is a fresh start for TOP. Our members present were inspired by the re-brand, which will be rolled out in October. We are now united and completely focused on getting 10% of the vote in 2020.