Minor parties debate 'a farce' - Gareth Morgan

  • 08/09/2017

Gareth Morgan says Friday night's minor party leaders' debate will be a farce now his Opportunities Party (TOP) has been ruled out of taking part.

Dr Morgan took TVNZ to court on Thursday in a bid to have its decision not to invite TOP reversed. He failed, with Justice Geoffrey Venning saying it hadn't been proved that TVNZ's criteria for participation were unfair.

The criteria were that parties must be represented in parliament or hold poll ratings of 3 percent or more. TOP, in a poll released on Thursday night, had a rating of 2 percent.

Dr Morgan said he was naturally disappointed.

"The TVNZ minor leaders' debate now becomes a farce with the third, fourth and sixth ranking parties appearing alongside a man no one knows from a party that doesn't even register," he said.

Dr Morgan was referring to United Future, which has a slot despite its only MP, Peter Dunne, having announced he's not standing for re-election.

Damian Light, who has succeeded Mr Dunne as party leader, will be United Future's representative.

The Greens, the Māori Party and ACT are also confirmed participants.

Winston Peters won't be there. He doesn't consider NZ First to be a minor party and would only have taken part alongside Labour and National.

"It appears Labour and National see little value in this debate and because of their absence, disappointingly, I have come to the same conclusion," he said on Thursday night.