The Opportunities Party gunning to take Labour's seat in Christchurch electorate

  • 08/06/2023

The Opportunities Party (TOP) could have an outside chance of entering Parliament this year by winning Ilam's electorate seat in Christchurch.

Leader Raf Manji has history there, in 2017 he got more votes than Labour as an independent, coming in second place behind National's Gerry Brownlee. 

This election the contest for Illam has had a shakeup, in the 2020 Labour landslide, Sarah Pallet became Ilam's MP, taking the seat from long-time holder Brownlee. But this election Brownlee is running as a list MP and Labour is down in the polls, opening up a door for Manji. 

TOP has been recently polling around the one to two percent mark, meaning it will need to win an electorate to get into Parliament.

Appearing on AM on Thursday, Manji described himself as "progressive but financially competent".

"We are essentially a progressive liberal party. We want to take New Zealand forward. We want opportunities for all. We want everybody to be able to thrive," Manji told AM co-host Laura Tupou.

Manji believes he has the experience for the job, spending two terms as a Christchurch City Councillor then going on to work in the Human Rights Commission and the NZ Police Assurance and Risk Committee.

"Essentially we've got a fairly inexperienced Labour candidate and the National candidate who's got no political experience at all and is coming from another ward," he said.

One of TOP's policies is giving every young Kiwi $5000 tax-free savings boost in exchange for completing the National Civic Service Program, which is a range of life skill courses including first aid, driving lessons, financial literacy, civil defence, conservation etc.

The policy would cost $1.5 billion each year which would be coming from tax changes TOP is making.

"We think this is an investment in our younger generations and that's something we are prepared to do."

Watch the full interview above.