King spoke to Paul Brennan of Reality Check Radio this morning to give his side of the story.
King said the catalyst for the walkout appeared to be a decision of the party’s board to de-select Waikato candidate Steve Cranston. ‘As a result of that four others that are connected with Steve resigned,’ he told Brennan.
‘In any organisation we have people that leave and people that join for various reasons. It’s actually quite normal. I read the stories about DemocracyNZ is imploding – we’re nothing from it. I’ve just finished nine meetings in seven days around the North Island, from Wellington to Gisborne to Tauranga and through the Central North Island and we had hundreds and hundreds of people at each of the events, and we were well received, really enthusiastic support… This is a setback, no doubt about it, but it hasn’t stopped us and it won’t stop us.’
When questioned about ‘transparency’ concerns with the board and leadership King said he was mystified by the allegation, as regular zoom meetings with the Board were conducted and all the candidates had the phone numbers of all the board members. ‘At any request of any of the candidates we could have a board meeting and have done.’
‘We have people who’ve come along side us we’ve now recognised were not genuine – that’s a fact.’
Responding to the claim of a ‘shadow leader’ King said that was ‘just mischief making. There is no shadow leader… The reason why some board decisions are now kept in-house is because we recognised information that was within our tent was being leaked to our opponents. We don’t know who, but we have suspects.’
King said the decision-making process was normal. ‘As a candidate when I was in a previous party, we were never privy to that [decisions of the board] – we just got the decision and had to accept it. Some of these people are not politically experienced. Most of them have never been in political parties. The few that have have never been MPs, they’ve just campaigned. So the reality is you have to have structure, you have to have protocols, you have to have rules and you have to meet legal requirements, and if you don’t you risk jeopardising the whole party, and I will not allow that to happen.’
When asked if the party was removing the entrenchment of the Bill of Rights from policy, King said the claim was ‘absolutely false’.
‘Of that statement they made that is the one I take issue with the most… They are trying to mislead the freedom movement that somehow our position has changed and that is an absolute falsehood.’
King explained that the party had dropped using the word ‘entrenchment’ in policy because it was a legal term with a specific legal meaning, and replaced it with the phrase ‘preserve and protect’ which was more ‘understandable and user friendly’. DemocracyNZ’s position on the Bill of Rights ‘had not changed. That is the cornerstone of our party,’ he said.
Listen to the full interview here.
Steve Cranston speaks
Speaking on Twitter, fired candidate Steve Cranston said the issues were more about the party’s culture and management style. ‘It was just not compatible with a growing political party. We’ve got people walking out quicker than they’re walking in a lot of the time. A lot of people have left DemocracyNZ, and lot of really good volunteers with a huge amount to offer, very skilled in their areas. They’re just getting frustrated and leaving.
‘There was no way we were going to deliver what we were promising or attempting to deliver for our supporters if this continued.’
— Steve Cranston (@Steve_4ruralNZ) June 19, 2023