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Libertarianz call it quits as party

Monday 3 Feb 2014 2:27 p.m.

Minor political party Libertarianz has been deregistered and its leader is throwing his support behind the Jamie Whyte-led ACT Party.

Party leader Richard McGrath says it made a request to the Electoral Commission to deregister the party because its secretary could not keep up with the administration of its members.

Mr McGrath believes the party always had more than the minimum 500 members, but it was a "struggle" for the party – made up of mostly part-timers – to officially maintain the number.

The party had more than 500 people on its email lists, but Mr McGrath was not sure how many were paying members. That was something party secretary knew, "but the rest of us didn't want to know".

The Libertarianz received 0.07 percent, or 1595 votes, in the 2011 General Election and 0.05 percent in the 2008 election with 1176 votes.

He says a number of issues factored into the decision to deregister, aside from membership.

"It's been very difficult for a long time for fringe parties to expect to be elected under MMP. Without a well-known figurehead we weren't ever going to do that."

The party had its last conference in 2012, where it contemplated joining with the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, but "nothing got off the ground".

"They're the closest in terms of vision to ours, but we didn't really gel," Mr McGrath says.

As for the future of the movement, Mr McGrath says the focus now will be to lobby larger political parties and making submissions at certain select committees.

He believes the party's ideas, though typically seen as right-wing, could appeal to those on the left as well.

Mr McGrath says he will throw the party's support behind ACT and Mr Whyte, who he believes will be more appealing to voters.

However, he thinks ACT should "excise" its conservative policies and go back to its libertarian ideals if it wants to get back to having more than one MP in Parliament.

Mr McGrath is also considering running as an independent candidate in the Wairarapa.

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