The Opportunities Party’s approach to the Epsom electorate.

There has been some media speculation about The Opportunities Party’s approach to the Epsom electorate.

The Party has had this matter under active consideration for some time and as support grows and more and more people apply to be candidates for us we are constantly evaluating our position.

The outcome of that consideration will be finalised by the time I hold my TOP campaign rally in Epsom on August 1st.   

The gerrymandering of the Epsom electorate has certainly got us thinking about how under MMP, gaming the electoral system has become such a political tactic by establishment parties. They endeavour to maximise the number of party votes that either directly or indirectly are counted as theirs. National has done this for a few elections now – encouraged their Epsom voters to give their electorate votes to the far right, neoliberal ACT party in return for the undertaking by ACT to be cannon fodder for a National-led coalition.  And of course in Ohariu the Nats don’t stand so that United Future’s Peter Dunne can rule there in perpetuity, while the Greens haven’t stood a candidate in Ohariu so that Labour’s candidate can have a chance.

The games are all totally logical of course but do abuse the democratic rights of voters to have a full and free choice for both their electoral and list votes. Rather, the Establishment parties rely on tribalism to persuade voters to vote for what benefits the party as opposed to their principles, and we wonder why voter cynicism in our democracy is rising. People simply feel less and less empowered, their choices have been shut down, and increasingly, we see elected governments serving the interests of their constituents rather than of all New Zealanders. It’s a turn off.

Centre-right voters in Epsom have to swallow a rat by supporting ACT for that seat. That must be particularly galling for centre-right liberal National voters who are expected to dump their principles for the ‘good’ of their party.

Those who aren’t supporters of witch hunt welfare, have a genuine social conscience, want to protect the environment, care about clean rivers, and believe in smart immigration must have to hold their noses as they enter the polling booth, even as they tell themselves the ends justifies the means.

So, I am considering whether or not to give the reasonable centre-right people of Epsom a real choice, so they don’t have to line up with the neo-fascism of the Hard Right that is ACT, since Don Brash and company contaminated its ranks.

Given that TOP’s agenda is purely best practice policy that champions the free, fair, and competitive markets of old-fashioned democratic capitalism and eschews the oligarchic market and political dominance that is the altar of ACT’s neoliberal scourge – maybe the good folk of Epsom deserve an alternative to fascism as a means to their ends.

TOP after all, will work with either a Labour-led, or a National-led government to achieve the policy progress that all New Zealanders deserve. We don’t favour political Left/Right factions at all; political tribalism is a form of brain decay as far as we’re concerned. An electorate victory for a TOP candidate in Epsom would ensure that a National government would have the support of TOP’s total vote (looking to be significantly higher than ACT’s) – although it would not be via a coalition member, but support from the cross benches on supply.

It assumes of course that a National coalition can win without the seat of Epsom – remember TOP will work just as readily with a Labour-led coalition should it be asked to form the government.

More importantly it allows the National voters of Epsom to vote for what they believe in, rather than have to swallow the repugnance of supporting the hard right, self-centred, libertarian values of the contemporary ACT party. The Blue/Greens of Epsom must throw up when faced with the need to vote for ACT.

The question then becomes whether TOP should put up an electorate candidate in Epsom.  We can certainly find a candidate keen to take on the challenge of offering the centre-right party voters of Epsom a principled choice.

What say you Epsom – would you like your democratic rights back?


Showing 9 reactions

  • Max Clarke
    commented 2017-07-29 22:49:38 +1200
    I am also really disappointed with the uncalled for, emotive language in this post. Using such language inevitably makes your post untrue and unfair to those described. While I agree with the policies of TOP, posts like this one turn me off and make me wonder how true your party’s vision really is. I want to vote for a level-headed party.
  • Heiko Mueller-Cajar
    commented 2017-07-28 18:52:21 +1200
    Using the word fascism on ACT and its principles tells a lot about you and your party. Maybe you should first do some research – or don’t you care and are happy to discredit any political opponent using “alternative facts” like the big liar in the US?

    I see only 3 options:
    1) you have no idea what ACT (a liberal party) stands for
    2) you have no idea what fascism is and / or
    3) you don’t care about the truth and are happy to spread lies about political opponents.

    None of these options looks good. Shame on you.
  • Graeme Kiyoto-Ward
    commented 2017-07-28 18:10:40 +1200
    Personally, I vote for the current ACT guy, whatshisname, because as long as we keep voting that relatively soft option in, it locks the less rational elements out from regaining leadership of the ACT party.

    Agree with the other comment here. It’s ACT we are talking about. Unhinged, maybe, Fascist? Not really. Given this is the party of reason, watch the emotive language please.
  • John Kavanagh
    commented 2017-07-28 17:13:00 +1200
    I agree with Colin McGregor.
    The retorec is far to flamboyant. Keep it simple or people will turn off.
  • Oliver Krollmann
    followed this page 2017-07-26 09:44:12 +1200
  • Colin McGregor
    commented 2017-07-25 08:19:40 +1200
    Gareth bro. I like your policies but the rhetoric needs some work. Save words like fascism for when they’re appropriate. ACT are libertarians and while their ideas are ultra-neoliberal they at least tend to be principled about what they believe rather than chasing the popular vote.
    As for Epsom, do what you do best and think long term. Don’t worry too much about this election.
  • Garming Sam
    commented 2017-07-24 17:00:03 +1200
    I disagree that they have a ‘global social justice’ ideological position. In fact, I don’t think they have any ideological position, and if they were to have one, it’d be one consumed by evidence and research (which is not always without flaws). Their policies are very mixed from any standard viewpoint like raising alcohol ages while legalizing cannabis. The only place I see them noticeably stray from the centre is environmental policy which people generally regard as leftist policy, but it’s just as much a populist policy now that everyone can admit there are problems.

    What I do see is a number of policy on fairness, through the tax policy, democracy reset and underlying many of the others which seem libertarian, an axis which has been rather absent from NZ politics until now. Take UBI for example, media seem to paint that as ‘hard-left’ which seems absurd given the freedom associated with how the money is used. The same arguments made for tax-cuts on the right (people know where best to use their money) can be made for how money is allocated through a UBI. While one side sees socialism through redistribution of wealth, the other side should see rampant capitalism as the roles of the state are replaced by private sector and people are left to themselves to choose how to spend their dollars as they see fit. I’ve seen proponents on both sides for it, but it’s not how the media or politicians like to portray it.
  • Katharine Moody
    commented 2017-07-24 15:08:36 +1200
    I’m not Epsom, sorry :-). But I dislike the left/right dichotomy too, given political ideology has moved on;.

    whether the electorate realises it or not. In accordance with the new/emergent typology described on page 27 of the paper – I see TOP as most aligned to a ‘global social justice’ ideological position – and that is considered as being left of the centrist/globalist (i.e., existing dominant) political ideology.

    And hence, I think TOP is far more likely to attract votes from the left/Labour/Green, than the right/National/ACT (your own polling likely tells you this). But, yes, I think if TOP has a good candidate, then standing is Epsom is a must. As TOP has always suggested, the election should be a contest of ideas/policy.
  • Patrick Barnes
    commented 2017-07-24 14:37:50 +1200
    You do realise that National have stood a candidate in Ōhāriu in every election since 2002, right?