Their attempt to poach the Greens’ Julie-Anne Genter may not have worked, but Gareth Morgan’s TOP party have secured the help of one of the party’s candidates.
Marine scientist and charity boss Teresa Moore has announced she will run for TOP in the East Coast Bays seat.
Moore has run as a Greens’ candidate twice in the past and was slated to run for them again this year, but pulled out because she didn’t feel she had the time for politics – and was growing tired of the party system.
Get the who, what, why of NZ politics in our newsletter
But that was all before she went and saw Morgan speak at one of his roadshows.
“It was an instantaneous thing. I went to see Gareth [Morgan] at a roadshow and just went up afterwards and told him it was awesome. He asked if I wanted to run for a seat and I said yes,” Moore said.
What swayed her? Morgan’s radical tax policy, which would drastically cut income tax while creating a new wealth tax on property.
“It resonated with me. It’s actually a good answer to the question of getting more money into people’s pockets each week – and 80 per cent of people would be better off. That’s a big chunk of New Zealand.”
She was also very interested in TOP’s Universal Basic Incomes policies.
“With TOP we are talking the language that I want to talk – we’ve got to look after our environment, our economy, and local issues.”
Moore said Morgan got her excited about politics again, but she said she still shared values with the Green Party.
The charity she runs provides support for families dealing with autism. Earlier in her life Moore worked for the then-Ministry of Fisheries.
Moore wasn’t concerned with one of the major worries the Greens and Labour have over TOP – that they would pull a few percentage points of the left vote off them and then waste it by not making it into Parliament.
“The thing about TOP is we appeal to all people whether you’re left right or whatever. Our votes could be coming from the left but I think they are mostly swing voters.”
TOP are polling at around 1 per cent. Without a seat – which TOP is unlikely to win – you need to win at least 5 per cent of the party vote to enter Parliament.
She thought the party had a good chance of making 5 per cent.
“I’ve been getting phonecalls from people I haven’t heard from in years saying ‘congrats we’re right behind you’.”
East Coast Bays has been held by National’s Murray McCully since 1987. He won over 16,000 more votes than Moore in 2014 when she was standing for the Green Party.
This year McCully has been replaced by his staffer Erica Stanford.