Wellington Scoop

TOP starts again from the bottom


Report and photos by Roy Murphy
About 50 members of the Opportunities Party meeting in Wellington last night gave their reaction to Gareth Morgan’s decision to disband the party. They ranged from “disappointed” to “absolutely gutted”. Geoff Simmons said: “The reaction made him realize that the party was bigger than he was. He handed it all over to us.”

One member praised Morgan, saying, “I have great respect for him. He had the idea, he put the money up and he put the time in.”

Morgan will no longer be involved in the political side. “There will be no public role for Gareth and he will not speak for The Opportunities Party,” said Simmons. Nevertheless “Morgan will be matching all donations to the party dollar for dollar.”

Their target for 2019 is $300,000 and they are getting close to half of that.

The Party is now run by a three-member board headed by Simmons. But he is adamant that members have a say not only in policy but in governance. Simmons is standing down next month and the party will elect a new leader, probably Simmons again, and three more board members. He is standing down because he wants the leader to be “democratically elected”.


And he wants the members a big say in reviewing TOP’s vision and values. Simmons said there will be a Chinese wall between funding and policies. He said, “The funders will not have the ability to change policy. Our policy will be decided by the members.”

He used the phrase “evidence based” a lot.

Simmons ended his address to the members with an interesting statistic. He said the votes for The Opportunities Party were dominated by male voters – about 60 percent men to 40 percent women.