The TOP leadership reports:

’s (TOP), Gareth Morgan, is backing a fresh face to lead the party over its former leader and one of its key policy writers, Geoff Simmons.

Morgan says he’s voting for Amy Stevens in the party’s leadership election and is willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Stevens is an Auckland-based lawyer in her mid-20s who works in a team at ASB that focuses on servicing customers who want to buy houses in pairs or groups. She previously worked as a foreign exchange dealer at the bank.

Speaking to, Morgan says he’ll “totally” alter the amount he donates to the party based on who’s in its leadership team.

He wouldn’t say how much he’d donate if Stevens was elected versus Simmons, but says it comes down to the whole package of people playing key roles in the party.

“The less enthusiastic I am about the prospects of success, then the less I’m going to fund it… If I get excited by it, I’ll put more money in it,” he says.

Asked how much less enthused he’d be if Simmons was elected, Morgan says: “We need to branch out. We need to get those two women [Stevens and another candidate Donna Pokere-Phillips] into that senior team.

So Gareth is saying he’ll donate far more to the party if Stevens is elected Leader. Fair enough, as it is his money. It will be interesting to see if that sways the votes.

What is more interesting is the apparent falling out with Simmons. Simmons was Morgan’s Deputy Leader and was employed by him for eight years. To have Morgan not just endorse another candidate, but to say he’ll donate less if Simmons wins suggests some issues there.

There are five candidates standing for the TOP leadership. They are:

  • Jessica Hammond
  • Amy Stevens
  • Anthony Singh
  • Donna Pokere Phillips
  • Geoff Simmons

The winner will be announced on the 8th of December.

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