Gareth Morgan registers political party to prepare for potential early election
Millionaire economist Gareth Morgan is fast-tracking the registration of his new political party, saying he wants to prepare for a possible early election.
Morgan launched The Opportunities Party (Top) last November, saying he wanted to "light a fuse" under Parliament and break the stranglehold that career politicians had on the country.
He had initially planned to register his party with the Electoral Commission in March, after releasing his seven "policy priorities".
However, Morgan said in a post on the Top website that changes in the electoral landscape had increased the chances of an early election, meaning he did not want to wait.
"With John Key resigning and Labour seeming to be calling by-elections at will, there is a possibility that National will get sick of that tactic and just go early.
"We have to be prepared for that eventuality."
Morgan said the party had more than 2000 financial members - well over the 500 required for registration - but wanted to grow that figure so he had "a real mandate for change".
When he launched his party, Morgan blamed "establishment parties and career politicians" for high levels of inequality and falling housing affordability, saying they did not like taking radical action.
"They give priority to no change, they do not like disturbing voters, they feel, I feel that they look at their career prospects above all else."
He was happy with the public response to Top's first two policy releases, about home ownership and immigration.
"New Zealanders I think recognise the need for fundamental change if we are going to end this crazy inequality ladder we've been climbing since the neoliberal experiment failed to deliver 'trickle down'.
"As I keep saying, you cannot build genuine and sustained prosperity on a tax and regulatory base that is simply unfair."
Morgan, who said in November his party would be list-only, had since been "approached by some pretty outstanding candidates who wish to stand in electorates" and said he was reconsidering his approach.
"While personally I don't want to go near Parliament without a significant mandate for progress, there are both younger and regionally-oriented people already amongst our membership who would form a great ongoing parliamentary team."
Each proposal to run in an electorate would be assessed on its merits, Morgan said.