Gareth Morgan is making his bid for Parliament official, starting the registration process for his new political party.
Morgan launched The Opportunities Party (Top) last year but said he would wait and gauge interest before registering it with the Electoral Commission in March.
Today, he said he had brought that process forward after signing up more than 2000 financial members - and with an eye on a possible early general election this year.
"With John Key resigning and Labour seeming to be calling by-elections at will, there is a possibility that National will get sick of that tactic and just go early. We have to be prepared for that eventuality," Morgan said.
Morgan said the party had been approached by "pretty outstanding" candidates interested in standing in electorates.
"While personally I don't want to go near Parliament without a significant mandate for progress, there are younger and regionally orientated people already among our membership who would form a great ongoing parliamentary team."
Labour has called on new Prime Minister Bill English to call an early election, accusing him of "running scared" in choosing not to stand a candidate in the February 25 Mt Albert by-election.
English has said he will give further thought to the general election date early this year.
A trained economist, Morgan amassed a fortune after selling his economic forecasting firm Infometrics in the late 1990s, later set up Gareth Morgan Investments, and received a windfall after a $75,000 investment in Trade Me, set up by his son Sam, turned into $47 million.
The reaction from established political parties to Top has been mixed. Green Party co-leader James Shaw and former Prime Minister John Key said it would be difficult for Top to get the 5 per cent of the party vote required to enter Parliament.
At the 2014 election, Craig's Conservative Party received 95,598 votes and still fell short at just under 4 per cent of the party vote.