The Opportunity Party’s Geoff Simmons steps down as leader, citing family commitments

Source: 1News

Geoff Simmons has stepped down as The Opportunities Party's leader, citing family commitments. 

Simmons announced his resignation, effective immediately, at a TOP annual general meeting tonight. 

Deputy leader Shai Navot has been named interim leader until the party completes its review of the 2020 election. A new leader would then be selected.

“Now feels like the appropriate moment for transition so we can continue to build and grow,” Simmons said.

“My partner and I have discussed starting a family. Being the leader of a party outside of Parliament can make that quite challenging, given the time it takes to both lead and volunteer.”

He will stay on in the party’s Policy Committee.

“While I'm disappointed about the election result, I'm hugely proud of what we achieved over the last two years since Gareth Morgan handed the party over to the membership,” he said.

“At the end of 2017 TOP was effectively dead in the water, and now it is a thriving community, and a strong movement.”

He added: “We now need a new leader to take up the mantle for growth and momentum.”

TOP needed time to “build and spread our ideas”, with National and Labour having been around for decades, Simmons said. 

TOP has only contested in the previous two elections. 

He warned there was a “real danger of sliding back into the two-party system that MMP was designed to take us out of”.

Navot said Simmons had been “an excellent leader”. 

“TOP would not be where it is today without his exceptional commitment to the party and its ideas,” she said.

“We are proud to have run a positive campaign, and of what we achieved despite the many barriers that come with being a minor party.

She said TOP was “all united” and intended to contest the 2023 election. 

Simmons took over as party leader from Gareth Morgan, who resigned following in 2017.

TOP failed to make it into Parliament on preliminary 2020 General Election results, after failing to win an electorate seat or meet the five per cent threshold for the party vote.