Gareth Morgan just keeps topping himself in social engagement

TOP leader Gareth Morgan's approach to engagement is something to behold

Like Oscar Wilde – not to mention a child who doesn’t differentiate between positive and negative attention – Gareth Morgan appears to subscribe to the view that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

Assuming that’s the case, the economist/early-investor-in-Trade-Me/millionaire philanthropist/leader of The Opportunities Party has been having a week that may have caused him – to evoke the words of another irascible, plainspoken fellow he’s been compared to in the past – to get tired of all the winning.

For starters, there was the revelation Mr Morgan had donated a further $730,000 to his pet political project post-election, bringing the total beneficence TOP has enjoyed from its founder to $2.13 million – and putting him in an utterly unassailable position at the pinnacle of the donor list for Election 2017.

As an added bonus, this news also gave him the chance to remonstrate with a news organisation (TVNZ’s sin was to misinterpret the, ahem, top up as being toward setting up the party for the 2020 election):

(According to TOP deputy leader Geoff Simmons, the party is "committed to continuing" but whether it contests the next election "depends on whether there is still a need for an evidence-based voice that promotes best practice policy not pursued by the government.")

And Mr Morgan soon had another opportunity to cry “fake news” when The Spinoff reported that “Gareth Morgan is shutting down the Morgan Foundation to double down on TOP.”

Not so, apparently:

Fortunately, Mr Simmons was on hand to provide a clarification, sans histrionics – the organisation is not being shut down; the policy people are just being laid off, that's all:

Of course, Morgan watchers would have been forgiven for believing he had hit Peak Gareth when he decided that the ‘news’ the “First Cat of New Zealand” (ie, prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s moggy, Paddles) had been hit and killed by a car was a good time to re-air his view that felines need to be kept on a tight leash – or, better still, eradicated – for the sake of the environment and native birds.

(Oddly enough, Mr Morgan’s timing was widely remarked to have been a tad insensitive.)

But lo, TOP’s (not-so-en)dear(ing) leader did indeed manage to, yes, top himself by sending the following response to list candidate (and the party’s “‘boring’ tax expert) Dr Jenny Condie, after she had the temerity to suggest that maybe he should pull his head in on the cat comments, mate:

Soon after receiving the message, Dr Condie posted it to social media, while also noting that her TOP email address appeared to have been deactivated; she later told RNZ’s Kim Hill that it was perhaps best she does part ways with the party, given the ever-widening gap between its professed policies (which she still supports) and its “culture” (ie, Mr Morgan).

It has been pondered in the past what the TOP leader hopes to achieve with the way in which he conducts himself.

It gives NBR no small amount of pleasure to be able to confirm, in Mr Morgan’s own words, that it is indeed all part of a   cunning, apparently failsafe plan:

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13 Comments & Questions

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Yeah yeah yeah...but are any of those tweets not actually right? Too much time is wasted on how things are done, rather than what. We've had 9 years of national leadership that has been more concerned about 'how' than 'what'...so Morgan's calling a spade a bloody spade is still refreshing to some.

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Which ones are right? 'Cats are pests'? (Morgan certainly is) The 'PM's callous disregard of NZ wildlife'? (adding 1 and 1 to get 6043) A 'pain in the arse'? (he must find it painful blowing so much smoke out his own arse).

Outspokenness is no substitute for accuracy and knowledge. The problem isn't that Morgan calls a spade a bloody shovel, but that he calls it a trombone, or a vacuum cleaner, or a magazine --- anything but what it actually is.

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Love the headline!

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Simply no charisma.. and for all his [son's] wealth - doesn't see that.

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Morgan really should just enjoy his millions and leave politics alone. We have Winnie to put up with. We don’t need another rich old guy trying to get into politics to pass his time , and impose his “I am an expert in economics and I know what Is best for you and NZ . If you don’t like it, please leave...”

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Plus tell us we're all stupid for not voting for him. If you ask me the kiwi voters that did vote for him are the stupid ones.

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Go push your own party , instead of attacking others. Anonymous because you dont want to admit your oolitical allegiance

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Everyone laughed at the Donald until he became President!

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John Irving, Trump may be the President of the United States, he IS The laughing stock to the whole world . Would be a sad day if NZ becomes the next Laughing Stock to the whole world.

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Trump may be everything people say about him. But there's no denying, he's definitely the man of the moment.

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I'm not laughing and neither are hundreds of millions of other folk.

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Nope, we're still laughing.

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You have your opinion, pity you pass it off as journalism or fact.

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