One of the great joys of politics is being accountable to, well, everyone.
There are voters, party members, the board, the campaign committee, your electorate committee, the caucus, the media and everyone and anyone who wants to buttonhole you in the street or who has access to a phone or email.
It’s mad and it’s wonderful. It’s democracy.
It’s what the Colin Craigs and the Gareth Morgans don’t understand. They want a party to boss about rather than have to suffer everyone else’s opinion.
As Morgan says: “I’ve never really enjoyed the prospect of joining a party – you know, ‘Oh, God, I can think of nothing worse’.”
So he started his own party and made sure it’s his.
He’s certainly upped the ante on Colin Craig who at least had the appearance of an independent board and party organisation to point at.
Three years ago Morgan motorcycled through the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to declare the country’s economic achievement “magnificent” and the people “wonderfully engaged, well-dressed, fully employed and well informed”.
They were poor but happy under despot Kim Jong-un.
But it’s not just North Korean economics that impressed Morgan: the politics, too, weaved a spell.
As a result, his Opportunities Party is very Democratic People’s Republic. His party’s constitution declares Morgan “Initial Party Leader”. As such, Morgan appoints the board for a term he decides. The board then chooses the party leader.
The board also chooses the party’s list. And the party’s policy.
The board also decides who can – and, more especially, who can’t – stand for the board. There’s a members’ vote but their choice is constrained by the board. Once elected, board positions are for life. And to cement the board’s power, the board has the power to vote board members off.
Morgan’s Party is called The Opportunities Party but provides no opportunity for party members to stand against the board. It’s as democratic as the Democratic People’s Republic.
I don’t think anyone sees this as a genuine party. It is however another cult party built around the needs of one person with a lot of money to throw around, and free media exposure from a media who are happy to broadcast anything he says.
And on that basis, the circus has once more come to town.
– Rodney Hide, NZ Herald