In front of a packed, Trumpesque rally in an Auckland event centre this afternoon, ex-National MP Jami-Lee Ross hitched his wagon to New Zealand's radical political fringe.
He joined forces with a man named Billy Te Kahika – the leader of the new New Zealand Public Party.
It's against 5G, 1080 and electromagnets but its most extreme policy platform boils down to conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and the Government's response to the pandemic.
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In a near 40-minute speech, Te Kahika – who founded the party 11 weeks ago – suggested Covid-19 was a bioweapon designed to be used on civilians around the world.
Often prefacing his opinions as "not conspiracy theories" before launching into them, the blues musician turn want-to-be-politician took aim at the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and New Zealand's Government.
He called Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a communist.
Much of what he was saying has little basis in fact or reality.
Despite this, Te Kahika has now been catapulted into the mainstream by Ross – his new co-leader.
The ex-National, but still sitting, MP – who exited the party in dramatic fashion in late 2018 and is still facing SFO charges related to National's donations – announced his party (Advance NZ) and Te Kahika's party would be merging to form a "new Alliance Party of the 2020s".
It's an arrangement of mutual advantage to both Ross and Te Kahika and means they can both stand in electorates on their party tickets, but their party vote is combined under one banner.
Borrowing heavily from US President Donald Trump, the new merged party would "take back New Zealand," according to Ross – Te Kahika said it would help "make New Zealand great again".
During his speech at the rally, Ross did not distance himself from Te Kahika's extreme fringe views.
Rather, he appeared to embrace the Public Party's deep scepticism of the establishment and announce his own new policies.
Ross wants to freeze New Zealand's free-trade agreement with China, until a "full investigation" into Chinese influence in New Zealand politics takes place.
He also wanted to do a full review of every UN agreement New Zealand has ever signed – this drew rapturous applause from the more than 1000 Public Party members at the event.
Ross faces a colossal uphill battle to win back his Botany seat against his National Party rival, ex-Air New Zealand boss Chris Luxon.
Without that seat, Ross' days in Parliament are likely over and he knows it.
With election day just a little less than eight weeks away, Ross appears to have pinned his last hopes of getting back into Parliament on an extremist party with an eccentric leader.
His uphill battle just got a lot steeper.