Gareth Morgan's political party is hours old - but already has its first controversy over similarities between its logo and Red Peak.

Morgan launched The Opportunities Party (Top) today ahead of next year's election.

The logo for the new party is the winner of the $20,000 competition to design a new flag he ran in the lead-up to the first flag change referendum.

The flag - Wa kainga (Home) - was created by Auckland design business Studio Alexander. It is similar to the Red Peak design that was eventually included as one of the final flag options.


The creators of Red Peak said that Morgan's logo was not Red Peak.

"The Opportunities Party did not give us any opportunity to discuss the potential conflict with Red Peak and it appears they have acted unfairly in co-opting Red Peak's hard-earned profile," reads the statement, retweeted by Red Peak designer Aaron Dustin.

Morgan launched The Opportunities Party outside Parliament today, and said hundreds of people had joined in a little over an hour.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has already spoken out on the new party, saying Green-leaning voters could see a vote for Morgan as likely to be wasted.

Shaw also said Morgan's 2013 campaign to eradicate domestic cats would hurt his new party's prospects.

That was dismissed by Morgan, who said it had led to successful campaigns by local councils to have cats microchipped and desexed.

"I'm feeling quite proud of what we did with cats now. The whole cat thing is in the hands of the regional councils and the district councils to implement. It's about having cats and wildlife compatible. It's not that hard."

Morgan was asked by media if he worried he could end up playing a similar role to that of Kim Dotcom at last election. Some political commentators concluded the Internet-Mana alliance and Dotcom's involvement hurt the left vote.


"Kim Dotcom? Let me think of something better. How about Trump? We just stand on our own merits and the people in New Zealand will decide," Morgan said.

He clarified that he liked "nothing" about Trump's campaign, but saw himself as a figure outside of the political establishment.

"I think that New Zealand is really not fulfilling its potential. I see things like the level of inequality that we have got - obviously poverty - and the latest in this saga is the falling affordability of housing, which has got to the point now where I would have to have doubts if this continues if my grandkids would be able to rent, let alone own a house."

It wasn't hard to fix these problems, Morgan said, but establishment politicians were more worried about change disturbing voters.

Morgan cited tomorrow's Guy Fawkes and said he wanted to "light a fuse" under Parliament. Shortly after his press conference employees left the building because of a fire alarm.

Morgan will not contest an electorate seat, meaning Top will need to capture 5 per cent of the party vote next year. He wanted to bring five or six MPs to Parliament, but said no candidates had been selected or lined up.

At the 2014 election, Colin Craig's Conservative Party received 95,598 votes and still fell short at just under 4 per cent of the party vote.

Top will release about six key policies. The first will be a housing-related policy on December 8. If public support was forthcoming, the party would aim to register in March.

"[The Opportunities Party] is a rebellion against the politics of mediocrity, against the inertia of the established parties.

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.

Morgan pledged to give away the millions earned through his Trade Me investment, and established the Morgan Foundation, which focuses on conservation and development projects as well as public policy research.

He has resigned as a trustee of the foundation to head the new political party. Asked today what voters he would target, he said "anybody who cares about New Zealand as opposed to themselves".

"So that rules out the Act Party. The Nats have done pretty well, I think, in terms of what has happened in terms of pure economic growth. But it does concern me the cost of that - which is the loss of affordability of housing and this persistent inequality."

Political reaction

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he wasn't worried about Top stealing his party's vote.

"I really respect the work that Gareth has done through the Morgan Foundation on climate change and inequality in particular.

"I think if he takes votes off anyone it's probably that group of people who have voted for the National Party who are very worried about their environmental record but who will refuse to vote for the Greens as long as we are in a relationship with the Labour Party."

Shaw said most Green voters would question why they should switch from an established party to "a start-up that has a pretty low chance of making the 5 per cent threshold".

"There's quite a high risk that you will waste your vote there. I think Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom demonstrated that having a lot of money is useful but an insufficient condition."

Before entering Parliament, Shaw shared an office with the Morgan Foundation, and said Morgan's past comments and campaigns could hurt him.

"One of the things he said to me [when we shared an office] was because he is independently wealthy, and because at the time at least he had no political ambitions he felt he was in a position to say things that were unpopular.

"I respect that but it does add to the challenge that he's got if he wants to actually make it into Parliament. Obviously the cat campaign is going to make it harder for him."