Money Free Party looks likely to fall short
Hopes are fading that Money Free Party New Zealand founder Richard Osmaston will see the party logo installed on every ballot paper in the country for September's election, but he still intends to stand as an electorate candidate.
Osmaston has been joined by Kaikoura community and political stalwart Ted Howard to progress the party. The pair held a thinly attended public event at the Victory Community Centre at the weekend to streamline the party's framework and future direction.
The Money Free Party says it has "clear, logical and sustainable solutions" to poverty, crime, climate change, unemployment, housing, health, energy, corruption and inequality by ditching the monetary system and installing a structure where everything is free and all work is voluntary.
Osmaston's campaign to secure the 500 signatures needed to get the part officially registered before the election has met a stumbling block in that many "fringe" people who signed could not be located during the verification process.
He pounded pavements throughout the region and in Wellington to get the numbers, but not all could be verified.
"You don't exist without an IRD number, an address or phone number," Osmaston said.
He said the Electoral Commission had been a big help in the process, but the numbers were just short of the threshold.
Only registered political parties are able to contest the party vote. Unregistered parties can only stand candidates in electorates, which independent candidates can also contest.
"I'll still stand as an electorate candidate, but it's a real shame we won't get to feature on the ballot paper," Osmaston said.
The St Arnaud farmer who took part in the race for the Nelson mayoralty in last year's local government election, plans to stand in the Nelson electorate.
He said despite the numbers falling short, the process got him out and about talking to people on the street.
"I found it reinvigorated people, and some people, it gave them hope that maybe there is something to be had in this ‘politics bollocks'."
Howard, who is no stranger to the political process at a local and national level, joined the Money Free Party movement after connecting with Osmaston through a kindred link to the global Zeitgeist Movement.
Howard is a zoologist who runs a software company in Kaikoura and said standing for election was not always about aiming to win. He said the election process was a good platform for getting messages across.
"People tend to pick up on fringe things but someone has to be first to stand up and speak."
While he and Osmaston were working out finer details of the party's ambitions, he "totally agreed that money has reached the end of social utility".
He believed it posed more threats than delivered value.
"Money is a scarcity-based valuation system - things have to be scarce to be valuable, which is what the market teaches us and we need to break that barrier."
Howard, who is nursing a shattered collarbone from a mountain biking accident, was yet to decide whether he would stand in the Kaikoura electorate. He was, however, keen to pursue the party's mission for the next general election.
The Nelson Mail