Thursday , June 24 2021

New Zealand forward co-leader Billy Te Kahika gives up on the party

Billy Te Kahika stepped down as co-leader of Advance NZ after his party won just 0.9% of the vote in last weekend’s election.

Advance NZ co-leader and former national parliamentarian Jami-Lee Ross said he understood that Te Kahika wanted to re-direct the New Zealand Public Party alone.

“Billy decided he wanted to do his own thing and that is his right,” said Ross on Monday.

Ross said Advance NZ “was never about a person, never about an election either”.

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He said he respected Te Kahika’s decision to leave the party: “I have nothing bad to say about Billy.”

Billy Te Kahika at a protest in Auckland's Aotea Square in September.


Billy Te Kahika at a protest in Auckland’s Aotea Square in September.

He said the council will review the election campaign in order to prepare for the 2023 elections.

The review would be “about asking tough questions about what went wrong,” he said.

Party supporters received the news in an email from Ross on Sunday night.

He promised that the party would restructure itself, saying that Te Kahika’s departure “is not the end of our party”.

“The rush of the election campaign meant that everything was done in a hurry,” he wrote.

“The plan for the future will see an extraordinary general assembly held early next year, and a reconstituted party, with a new national structure, will continue in preparation for 2023.”

Te Kahika took a radical line in the campaign, talking about several conspiracy theories, including questioning the reality of Covid-19, the health effects of 5G, an alleged secret UN agenda, as well as posting videos with anti-Semitic overtones.

He won 976 votes in the Te Tai Tokerau constituency.

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