Jami-Lee Ross' Advance NZ merges with social media sensation the NZ Public Party

Jami-Lee Ross' new political party Advance NZ has merged with the fast-growing NZ Public Party, making the latter's Billy Te Kahika his co-leader.

"Our political system is fast becoming one where there are two big party blocs, and no viable third option sitting in the middle," Ross, a former National Party MP, said on Sunday afternoon. 

"By forming an alliance of parties, together with other small parties that believe in greater freedom and democracy, we stand a stronger chance of uniting together and crossing the 5 percent threshold into Parliament."

Advance NZ was set up by Ross after his expulsion from the National Party, after accusing then-leader Simon Bridges of corruption and fraud. Ross is facing criminal charges over donations collected for the National Party, but has defended himself as a whistleblower.

Te Kahika's Public Party is a new entity, racking up a large social media following despite a lack of mainstream media coverage.

Te Kahika plans to stand in Te Tai Tokerau against Labour Party deputy leader Kelvin Davis.

"Our people deserve better, and Labour have taken support in the Tai Tokerau for granted every time it is in Government and they have failed to deliver anything for our people," he said.

"Kelvin Davis hasn't delivered for Māori or even the Māori Tourism Sector as Minister of Tourism. Our people are just as poor, just as jobless, just as homeless as they were before and all I see when I examine Labour's and his performance is they have done literally nothing. And Kelvin is the number two in the Labour Party. If Kelvin can't deliver, it's time for him to step aside and let real leadership with backbone serve our people."

Billy Te Kahika and Jami-Lee Ross.
Billy Te Kahika and Jami-Lee Ross. Photo credit: YouTube/Pete Evans/Getty

The merged party will stand candidates in most electorates under the Advance NZ banner, while Te Kahika will run as a candidate for the Public Party, despite being co-leader of Advance NZ.

"The only times in MMPs history where small parties have had a realistic chance to enter Parliament and bring a diversity of views to the table, has been when a sitting MP has formed a party, or where the Alliance Party brought a range of entities together," said Ross.

"In the past few weeks we have met with leaders or board members of around different parties. Some are considering merging, while others are still talking with their senior personnel. Advance NZ is the new Alliance Party of the 2020s, but a centrist version of that model."

He says if Te Kahika wins Te Tai Tokerau, that will allow other Advance NZ candidates to enter on the list, provided the merged party wins enough of the party vote.

"We formed the NZ Public Party because we could see our people crying out for a party to stand up for our freedoms, our sovereignty," said Te Kahika.

"I didn't set out to stand for politics this election. But now we are in a war for our democracy and freedoms, and I decided that as a genuine, everyday Kiwi I would fight to defend our children's futures."

Among the party's policies are repealing the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act, a written constitution "that Parliament can't override" and "end the unlimited unscrutinised spending". The Public Party is anti-1080, and according to their website are sceptical of "5G, fluoridation, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, poisons... electromagnetics, industrial products and waste, consumer products, food products".

They also believe the United Nations is eroding New Zealanders' property rights "without any vote, referendum, or legal recourse". 

Advance NZ only has one policy area detailed on its site, aimed at implementing "constitutional reform". 

Advance NZ is yet to register with the Electoral Commission, but will soon, Ross said. 

Ross is currently MP for Botany.