A TOP candidate has resigned in protest after The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan sent terse emails to three people on the party list.
Last night Dr Jenny Condie posted a message from Morgan on Twitter that read: "Hi Jenny - please just resign from the party - you're a pain in the arse. Ka kite ano, Gareth."
The email was in response to concerns about Morgan's antagonistic response to the death of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cat, Paddles.
Today TOP's Mt Albert candidate Dan Thurston told the Herald he had resigned from the party.
"On the strength of Gareth's response which was both flippant and brutal I resigned anyway. I just felt like a line was pretty clearly drawn around behaviour," he said.
He held misgivings about Morgan's attitude to dissenting voices within the party and was struggling to defend the party founder's behaviour on social media which threatened to undermine candidates' attempts to promote the TOP agenda.
Thurston said he and two other candidates stepped in supporting Condie's measured calls for a discussion and examination of the party's values, behaviour and culture.
While Thurston wasn't asked to resign Morgan replied to him saying the party needed to be about disruption and "you can't disrupt by being pastel".
Thurston said he was concerned with Morgan's leadership style, in which dissenting voices were dismissed or punished.
"At the core of our policies is democracy and transparency. Gareth's behaviour within the party is not alignment with these two policies."
"I basically said I can't be part of that."
He did not know if the other list candidates would follow his action and leave the party.
Despite his resignation Thurston said he was grateful to Morgan for founding the party and it wasn't his intention to tear him down.
Meanwhile Morgan continued railing against Prime Minister Ardern owning a cat and its threat to wildlife and conservation on social media today.
Morgan has been widely condemned in the past few day over a number of Paddles-related tweets just hours after Ardern's pet was struck and killed by a car.
Even TOP supporters have started to voice their concerns warning the approach isn't working and risked losing potential voters.
The Herald is seeking further comment from Morgan.