Tag Archives: Kelvyn Alp

An early obituary for the OurNZ Party

The OurNZ had one main strength that was also its main liability – Kelvyn Alp.  Following some behind scenes bickering, Kelvyn Alp has quit as party leader.  Or was it interim leader? Or was it co-leader?  It’s hard to say as the reality was difficult to separate from the rhetoric  when it came to OurNZ.  While there was apparently another co-leader she only appears to have contributed her Facebook profile picture for the website.

It was, however, easy to see from Alp’s resignation message that he had the high moral ground, that he was putting the party before himself,  people will sure be sorry when he’s gone and the party is without someone for strength to protect them and it’ll be all be their own fault.

So what seems to have sparked this implosion?  A cynic (and I am one) could speculate that Alp saw the writing on the wall that the party wasn’t going to acquire enough members to register for the election.  Perhaps bowing out before this failure allows the blame to be laid squarely on someone else’s shoulders.

An alternate view is that Alp simply could not bear to be criticised for his obvious inability to play nicely with others.  Or as he puts it, his unwillingness to “pander to the sensitivities of others.

Or perhaps it was his unwillingness to, ” continue to compromise (his) own integrity and beliefs just to gain the approval from those of you that have not got the first damn clue about life in the real world and what waits as a result of your own stupidity.”    We can be sure, however, it is due to the failings of someone other than Alp.

The resignation note itself is the concentrated form of what was seen on OurNZ’s Facebook sites since the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.   Alp was without doubt the primary motivating force behind the party and the only individual who actually did anything of substance.  Without his personal drive there’s really no substance to party and certainly no one to carry things forward.  This drive was accompanied, however, with an entirely uncompromising approach to any view or action he does not agree with.

Quite simply a party is not going to grow its membership and activist base if a single person’s view has to take precedence over all others (unless your Winston Peters perhaps but then he started off as a team player in the National Party).

One interesting example was when Alp sent off invitations to other political parties to join OurNZ without discussing it fully with other party officials.  When this was questioned Alp responded that he was doing so in a private capacity so didn’t need to clear it with others.  For this to be an appropriate way to go about coalition building takes some mental gymnastics.

This incident also threw some light on another reason the party was doomed.  While wanting to link up with the monetary reform focused Democrats for Social Credit made some sense, also asking the Alliance and Libertarianz was just batshit insane.  Anyone with a modicum of political common sense would realise that asking strongly ideological parties that you have nothing in common with was a waste of time.   Not only that but merely asking makes you look desperate and foolish.   This absolute lack of political judgement, which Alp previously demonstrated by having neo-Nazis in his last party, was another fatal factor for OurNZ’s future.

To be honest I expected to make it past the line and register for the election.  For all his failings Alp’s clearly a highly motivated individual who for whatever reason seems to be able to attract followers.  I thought given the current political and economic environment,  OurNZ’s subscription to conspiracy theories around banking and foreign control of New Zealand would attract the 500 members required to register.   Also while many party policies were just silly, although the chatter around them showed some people were unsophisticated enough to believe them.  One hopes these people never get an email from a Nigerian politician with $42 million to share.

Also, given some of the other parties that have managed to get 500 members in past elections, getting 500 signatures isn’t really all that high a hurdle.

In any case, watching OurNZ has been amusing and has helped me answer the question of why people bother with this sort of thing.  In this case, it’s that people who combine passion for the ridiculous with the belief they’re smarter than everyone else, only have to make a small mental jump  to believe they have a chance of success (even if that chance is, in reality, as likely as the Moon landings being faked).

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Well at least they’re not neo-Nazis.

Say you were a new party who believed they  were being unfairly ignored and being unfairly labelled as conspiracy theorists.   You would probably want allies that were seen as credible, and capable of gaining the right sort of attention.

Well the OURNZ party has managed to gain some allies who are likely to be called the lunatic fringe and definitely incapable of gaining the right sort of attention (if any any at all).

At the last general election I was generally able to find something positive to say about the registered minnow parties.  One party, however, stood out as utterly incapable of doing anything right, the Republic of New Zealand Party.   Disorganised, incoherent and ultimately disingenuous, this rag tag collection of disgruntled fathers shamelessly pretended to be focused on republicanism when they were obviously motivated by their particular version of men’s rights.   They deservedly came dead last with 0.00135 of the party vote.  With a registered membership of at least 500 only 313 people ticked their box (and how many of those were mistakes?).

For OURNZ leader* Kelvyn Alp, linking up with RoNZP leader Kerry Bevan and Jack Gielan, this is at least an improvement on when his Direct Democracy Party put neo-Nazis and someone whose middle name is ‘thankyoufornotbreeding’ on the list.  I can’t, however, see what possible help former RoNZP members could offer that would outweigh the likely liability of their presence.  Is it that any publicity is good publicity, they did once make the news for some flag burning, or is it simply a desperation for warm bodies?

*I know he’s officially co-leader but aside from a photo on the website I’ve seen no evidence of participation from the other co-leader. 

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Te Tai Tokerau by-election: minnow party post mortem

While the main race in Te Tai Tokerau was one of the most interesting by-elections in decades, the performance of the minnows was offered no particular interest at all.  Compared to Botany’s strong showing by the New Citizen Party and Mt Albert’s lamington-on-the-head antics, Te Tai Tokerau had very little to note at all.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party came up with one great quote, “Putting the toke back into Te Tai Tokerau”, but that was all.  Driving the Canna-bus about didn’t attract much attention either.  While they will be a little disappointed with their result they do not seem to be the types to be discouraged.  They will be back in November carrying on the same low profile, minimal effort campaigning and with similar results one expects.

Whether OurNZ will make it through to the general election is more uncertain.  The lack of effort put into the campaign by Kelvyn Alp and his supporters suggests a limited party machine.   It is interesting, however, to compare the very low level of press releases and social media activity with Alp going to the effort of filing an injunction in an attempt to participate in a Te Karere candidate’s debate.  The lost court battle was also a lost opportunity.  This was the perfect opportunity to make a fuss and gain some attention.  But not a press release was issued; a lone tweet and a link or two on Facebook were the only responses.  No one is going to win anything by squandering opportunity in that manner.

The recent news that Alp is suffering significant cash flow issues must also seriously reduce Alp’s ability to put significant resource into a campaign for the general election.  Entrepreneurs being late with the bills does not normally cause headlines, but large unpaid bills do undermine one’s credibility and this just exacerbates Alp’s main problem with getting his message across.

Given Alp’s Direct Democracy Party had intended to contest the 2008 general election but folded when he had other interests to pursue, there seems a serious chance this latest venture will fold to.   The combination of the harsh realty of polling only 63 votes in Te Tai Tokerau and not being in a position to pay the rent would direct most people toward endeavours other than politics.   But then Kelvyn Alp is not like most people.

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Te Tai Tokerau by-election: Minnow party update

Publicity-wise it was a awful week and a not-so-bad week for Te Tai Tokerau by-election’s two minnow party candidates.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP)  had its press release on its Canna-bus completely ignored (except here of course but that hardly counts).  The only interest in the release seemed to be the further confirmation that the ALCP is a lobby group first and a political party a distant second.   While other parties might challenge other contenders to state their position to establish their differences on an issue the ALCP seeks ‘assurances’ from them to influence their policy.   If a party doesn’t put itself forth as the best choice but demands others change their policies then they’re really just using their deposit money for some cheap advertising.

OurNZ managed to make the best of being ignored by threatening legal action in response to being excluded from a candidates debate.   This, at least, generated a story in the Herald.   The story did however highlight the massive barrier party leader Kelvyn Alp has in the mainstream media via a harsh comment by Marae Investigates’ producer Raewyn Rasch to the Herald.

‘…Marae Investigates had a responsibility to viewers to provide intelligent debate. Asked if she thought Mr Alp would fit the bill, she said: “I’ve looked at some of his comments – I cannot make head or tail of them.’

But as Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Further bad news for both ALCP and OurNZ came from a Maori TV commissioned poll, which had both parties’ candidates polling 1%.  This result was made more embarrassing by ‘other’ candidates, who don’t actually exist, polling 2%.  Alp, like Harawira, challenged the accuracy of the poll.  Alp’s comment about the by-election not being a three horse race is probably right but not in the way he meant.

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Te Tai Tokerau by-election

The Te Tai Tokerau by-election is pretty light on fringe candidates with only two compared to seven in the Botany by-election in March.  While Botany was interesting for the emergence of the grammatically challenged New Citizen Party, it lacked too many chances for political comedy.

Te Tai Tokerau is already off to a great start with the best slogan we are likely to see this year. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) candidate, Maki Herbert, has promised to put the “toke” back into Te Tai Tokerau.  Herbert doesn’t appear to have had much of a political or public profile prior to the by-election so her first quote might be the last interesting thing we hear from her.

Saying (ahem) interesting things won’t be something the other fringe candidate will have any trouble with.  OurNZ candidate Kelvyn Alp has a long history of saying things that others would not and no doubt sees this as a point of pride.  Of course, most people wouldn’t say that the Reserve Bank is foreign owned or that New Zealand has no lawful government.

It is unclear which minnow will win the race for fourth place.  The ALCP’s past candidate has managed 600-800 votes in past elections.  In 2005 Alp’s last party didn’t manage to win 800 party votes nationally and he personally received 85 votes in the Manurewa electorate.   Alp appears to have some existing links into Maoridom through OurNZ’s co-leader Rangitunoa Black (whoever she may be).  Alp’s reported past links to a Maori sovereignty group may also be worth a few votes.  However, I still think he will come last .

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