TVNZ 'nuts' to exclude TOP from debate - Gareth Morgan

All Gareth Morgan wants from TVNZ is a "fair suck of the sav".

The leader of the Opportunities Party (TOP) is taking the state broadcaster to court over being excluded from its minor parties leaders' debate, set to take place on Friday.

TVNZ's criteria states the party has to be in Parliament or polling at 3 percent. TOP is sitting on 1 percent in the latest Colmar Brunton poll, which TVNZ uses (TOP scored 1.9 percent in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll).

Dr Morgan told The AM Show on Thursday he's confident the broadcaster will be forced to include him.

"If you look at our polling, we're polling three times what ACT's polling and we're not in there. ACT is only there because of the rorting of the electoral system by National. In a way, National's got two guys."

United Future also has a slot, despite its only MP retiring. Damian Light, who's only been United Future leader a couple of weeks, will stand in Peter Dunne's place.

Dr Morgan says TOP is polling more than the Māori Party, United Future and ACT put together.

"This is the state broadcaster, this is a taxpayer-funded thing that I don't think is helping democracy at all in New Zealand. It's protecting the establishment. How the hell are you supposed to have a contestable democracy if they won't let you in the door? It's nuts."

If he does get on stage, Dr Morgan is looking forward to butting heads with NZ First leader Winston Peters.

"He's a walking contradiction, in my mind. I'm trying to get him in debate - he won't come because he makes that $11.7 billion hole of Joyce's look like child's play. You want to see the hole in Peters' arguments. I'll just shred him. I'd love him to front up."

Precedent suggests he's in with a good chance of winning. Conservative Party leader Colin Craig successfully fought his way onto a minor party debate on The Nation in 2014, but was polling higher than TOP is now.

Dr Morgan took part in a debate hosted by website The Spinoff on Wednesday night. He says he almost walked out of it.

"I sat there waiting for something with some substance to be discussed, but they're not into policy. They're into one-liners, gags. Winston's [Peters, NZ First leader] had a whole political life on gags. I find that a bit difficult. We're talking about people's lives here."

If TOP doesn't reach the 5 percent threshold required to get seats in Parliament, don't expect Dr Morgan to try again.

"I sort of don't like [politics], to be honest. There's so much trivia."

Newshub.

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