Don’t waste your vote on Gareth Morgan | The Jackal

17 Jul 2017

Don’t waste your vote on Gareth Morgan

The Opportunities Party (TOP) might seem like a progressive organisation full of well-respected academics that have New Zealand’s best interests at heart. It might also seem that the party is centre left, with many of their policies targeted at the issues left wing voters are most concerned about.

However, the party founder Gareth Morgan’s belief in the free market and its ability to fix all social, economic and environmental problems should not be overlooked. He is after all a capitalist through and through, and has often argued for a continuance of a failed market construct based on his own experience of becoming wealthy.

Environmentalists beware. Gareth Morgan’s unwavering belief in the mighty dollar extends to our much contested water resources, with TOP’s policy stating:

Consent owners get priority to use a certain proportion of the water available for commercial use. However, they must pay the market price for any water used. If any available water isn’t taken up by consent holders it would be offered to non-consent holders at the market price. The price will be set by a tender and will ensure that water goes to the best economic use. Existing consent holders will keep their entitlement (though paying the market price for water) but in the future consents will be auctioned.

Putting the power to allocate water resources through a bidding based tender process for consents that will be kept secret because of commercial sensitivity in the hands of councillors with vested interests isn’t going to be good for the environment.

The only thing it will do is ensure that those who’re already abusing our water resources to make vast amounts of money at the environments expense will have a mechanism to keep the water theirs and the price as low as possible.

There is nothing within TOP’s policy, which often contradicts itself, that says polluting industries won’t get preferential treatment. In fact quit the opposite. TOP envisions that consents will be awarded on economic grounds alone.

Furthermore, Morgan obviously doesn’t understand how resource consents work. Usually a resource consent allows for the maximum amount of allocated water to be taken (often based on spurious scientific information), so in most cases there’s no further water available.

A lack of water flow is one of the main reasons at least 61% of monitored waterways in New Zealand are of poor or very poor quality. The consenting process invariably over-allocates and TOPs water policy proposes to make that problem worse.

It’s not just the environment that would be negatively impacted if TOP ever gained a toehold in parliament to promote their foolishness… it’s New Zealand’s ability to attract migrants to help us rebuild this once great country.

TOP won’t require migrants to have a secure job before they arrive... instead they would be allowed to come on some sort of trial basis. TOP gives no thought to the fact that having migrants openly competing with the unemployed only pushes wages lower and subsequently increases inequality.

Morgan provides no analysis for the effect of reducing criteria for immigrants wanting to work here while increasing the barriers for overseas students. It’s just one of many emotionally based policies TOP believes will gain them support because of public perception.

Unfortunately most of Gareth Morgan’s ideas on immigration are similarly loopy! Here’s TOP once again arguing that the free market way is best:

To reflect the importance of salary level, English language skills, and the ability of migrants to contribute to the economy. Ensure the market rather than the bureacrats makes the final selection from those eligible.

Despite this claim, Morgan proposes to have some sort of arbitrary decision-making process based on fewer criterions in choosing who is worthwhile. As if the immigration system wasn’t being abused enough already... TOP is basically saying; ‘come work in New Zealand for free to see if you’re good enough'. Well I guess that would be beneficial for a capitalist looking to expand his wealth on the backs of the poor. It certainly won’t be beneficial for New Zealand though.

Morgan’s home ownership tax proposal to supposedly tackle property speculation is similarly unworkable. There is no question that it will make it harder for the elderly and other non-earners to hold onto their family homes. Morgan envisions that people older than 65 will be able to just pay the tax through a mortgage to Inland Revenue, which is about the dumbest idea I’ve heard in a long time. There are numerous studies that show keeping elderly in their own homes for longer is beneficial to them and consequently the public purse.

It’s not until you understand Gareth Morgan’s true political direction that his reformist party charade starts to fail. TOP is specifically designed to split the left vote and allow National, a party whose policy Morgan truly supports, a chance at a fourth term in government.

To that effect TOP’s mainstream media supported rhetoric and duplicitous policy is based on easily digestible sound bites specifically designed to trick left wing voters. So if you truly value progressive policy, don’t waste your vote on TOP.