Gareth Morgan (economist)

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Gareth Morgan
Gareth Morgan (cropped).jpg
Morgan in 2012
Leader of The Opportunities Party
In office
4 November 2016 – 14 December 2017
DeputyGeoff Simmons
Teresa Moore
Succeeded byGeoff Simmons
Personal details
Born (1953-02-17) 17 February 1953 (age 67)
Putaruru, New Zealand
Political partyTOP (2016–2019)
Spouse(s)Joanne Morgan
RelationsSam Morgan (son)
Alma materMassey University
Victoria University
OccupationEconomist, Investment manager

Gareth Huw Morgan (born 17 February 1953) is a New Zealand businessman, economist,[1] investment manager, philanthropist,[2] public commentator and former political figure.

Early life and education[edit]

Morgan was born in Putaruru, New Zealand to Welsh migrants[3][4] Roderic and Mary Morgan. He was the second of five children and the first to be born in New Zealand. From 1958 to 1970, Morgan attended school in Putaruru at Oraka Heights Primary and Putaruru High. He then attended Massey University for four years gaining a BA (Hons) in Economics. In 1982, he graduated from Victoria University with a PhD in economics.[5]


Career and business[edit]

Morgan worked for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in the early 1980s, before founding economics forecasting company Infometrics Limited in 1983.[6] That company became one of New Zealand's largest independent economics consultancy and forecasting businesses and for 18 years while under Morgan's leadership (until the end of the 1990s) maintained a regular national circuit of business and public speaking engagements focussed on raising the economics literacy of businesspeople and householders.[citation needed]

In 1984, he and business partner Andrew Gawith launched a twice weekly horse racing form guide, Bettor Informed, based on econometric modelling of all 7,500 gallopers on the New Zealand scene. The publication sought to identify the fair dividend for each horse and to instruct its readers when the odds being paid at the tote were a good return compared to the horse's actual chances of winning in that field. This publication was later sold to Independent Newspapers Limited, the owners of competing titles Best Bets and Turf Digest.

In 2000, Morgan established Gareth Morgan Investments,[7] a personal investment portfolio management service. When the New Zealand Government initiated KiwiSaver in 2007, Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver Limited launched the Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver Scheme.[8]

Morgan is well known for activism against New Zealand's financial services industry.[9] Morgan says that he's been persistent in exposing and criticising the sector, challenging the financial sector to produce safer and more ethical products.

Morgan and his wife Joanne were early investors in Trade Me, founded by his son Sam Morgan. They were paid NZ$50m for their shares when Fairfax Media bought Trade Me in 2006.

Morgan was a member of the Government appointed Capital Markets Task Force[10] (2008–2009) and the Tax Working Group (2009).[11] He is the chair of the Motor Cycle Safety Levy Advisory Council,[12] Patron of Wing 256 NZ Police Cadets,[13] and was North & South's New Zealander of the Year in 2007.[14]

In 2011, as part of a business consortium, Morgan and six other Wellington businessmen joined to take over the licence of Wellington Phoenix FC, the only professional soccer team in New Zealand after its owner was declared bankrupt.[15]

UNICEF Projects[edit]

Along with his wife Jo, Gareth Morgan has been a UNICEF NZ Ambassador and major donor since 2007 and has instigated a number of specific programmes in conjunction with UNICEF since that time. They include:

  • A water project in Tanzania where the Morgans matched a NZ public appeal dollar for dollar for funding to install boreholes, wells and water tanks in 29 villages, and provide basic hygiene education, directly benefiting over 65,000 people.
  • Repairs to 44 tsunami-damaged schools in the Solomon Islands where the Morgans matched a NZ public appeal dollar for dollar. The programme will ensure that 5,400 children have access to safe drinking water, hygienic toilet facilities, modern and relevant teaching and learning materials, and safe bright classrooms.
  • Boosting funding for a programme focused on the social adjustment of children in the slums of Bogota, Colombia through funding of the game of peace, Golombiao. This programme will directly benefit 4,000 children, teaching them conflict management skills, promoting peaceful co-existence and preventing their attachment to violence and their participation in illegal armed groups. The Morgans matched dollar for dollar a public appeal run in Bogota for the initiative.
  • Boosting funding for a programme of assisting displaced indigenous communities around Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. This programme will provide improved access to health, education and family protection of 670 children and adolescents working on the streets.

The Kiwi Heroes Programme[edit]

Since 2006 Gareth and Joanne have supported the work of a number of New Zealanders involved in significant foreign aid around the world.[16] They include:

  • Edric Baker – an inspirational medical doctor who has worked in northern Bangladesh for over 20 years, establishing the Kailakuri Health Centre.
  • Scott and Tracey Dumbleton – a husband & wife ophthalmic team who worked at the Gilgit Eye Hospital in remote northern Pakistan.
  • Tristan de Chalain and the plastic surgery reconstruction team at Middlemore Hospital who travel to the Philippines every year to surgically repair cleft lips and palates for affected underprivileged Filipino children.
  • Judy and Ralph Duley – a retired couple, physical therapists, who work with orphaned handicapped children in Western China.
  • Rachael Hughes – a woman who has dedicated a decade to assisting the street-kids of Vladivostok, protecting them from violence and helping educate them so they can lead fulfilling lives.
  • Mary Taylor and her project to help Sri Lankan victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami re-establish their fishing businesses and get back on their feet.


  • 2007 – Gareth and Jo provided the Island Bay National Wildlife Refuge with funding to prevent a property developer encroaching on a native bush area, instead allowing the land to be turned into a reserve for the benefit of the whole community.[citation needed]
  • 2010 – Gareth and Jo provided Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre funding to hire two researchers to work on aspects of climate change in Antarctica.[citation needed]
  • 2011 – Gareth helped Wellington Zoo fund the recovery and rehabilitation of Happy Feet, the stranded emperor penguin. He did this by matching dollar for dollar a public appeal for funding.[citation needed]
  • 2011 – Gareth organised a major scientific and public awareness programme on the environment and territorial threats to Antarctica.[17] This programme centres around a voyage from Bluff to Scott Base taking place in February 2012. On board was a complement of New Zealand's top scientists and a range of communicators chosen from across New Zealand.[18] The objective was to raise the New Zealanders' awareness of the race for resources, the sensitivity of the continent to climate change and the threat to biodiversity of our subantarctic islands from overfishing, marine pollution and climate change.
  • 2013 – Morgan gained international attention for his call for New Zealand's domestic cat population to be eradicated,[19] or rather not replaced when they die, as a means of protecting the country's wildlife.[20] Although the scientific basis for this possible action is disputed,[20] some conservationists were sympathetic.[21] Euthanasia "is an option", according to Morgan's website dedicated to this issue, "Cats To Go".[20]

Political career[edit]

In 2016 Gareth Morgan launched his own political party, The Opportunities Party (TOP), to contest the 2017 New Zealand general election.[22]

The party won 2.4% of the party vote and consequently did not reach the necessary 5% threshold under MMP to win seats in Parliament. Some electoral seats were contested but the party was also unsuccessful in those contests.[23]

In December 2017, three months after the election, Morgan resigned as leader and the party's deputy leader Geoff Simmons and two candidates also stepped down from their roles. Morgan said the party would contest the 2020 election but he would not lead it.[24]

On 9 July 2018, Morgan announced that the board of The Opportunities Party had decided to dissolve the party since they concluded that it lacked the time and resources needed to contest the 2020 general election.[25][26] In late July 2018, Morgan announced that the party's board was reconsidering their decision to dissolve the party after receiving expressions of interests from sympathetic individuals. He also indicated he was willing to bankroll a "credible successor" provided they remained true to the TOP's manifesto.[27][28]

On 31 March 2019, Gareth Morgan resigned from all remaining positions he held with the party, quitting it entirely.[29]

Personal life[edit]

He married Joanne Baird from Invercargill in 1975.[citation needed] They have four children: two daughters and two sons.[citation needed]

Morgan and his wife Joanne have ridden every continent in the world on motorcycles, as part of their "World by Bike" expeditions.[30] His motorcycle trip through North Korea was documented in a video posted on the Vice YouTube channel in 2013.[31]


Morgan has written numerous public commentaries and books on issues of public interest.

  • 2009 – Poles Apart – a book surveying the state of the science around the phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change. The book won a Royal Society Prize for Excellence.[32] It enlisted the assistance of international eminent scientists on both sides of the debate in a project to determine the weight of evidence around the hypothesis that human-induced climate change is present.[33]
  • 2010 – Health Cheque – a book assessing the state of New Zealand's public health system, international benchmarking of its excellence and formulating suggestions for improvement. The technique involved a combination of literature research and extensive interviewing of health professionals (clinical and management) working throughout New Zealand's public health system.[34]
  • 2011 – The Big Kahuna – this book investigated the contribution that unpaid work makes to New Zealand society, and the consequences of measures of economic production not explicitly recognising such contributions – from community service, to care of the young and elderly. It recommended a series of policy responses to correct the omission.[35]
  • 2011 – Hook, Line and Blinkers – a book assessing the state of the world fish stocks and then appraising the state of fisheries management in New Zealand. The purpose is to identify where the management regime can be improved to ensure that our grandchildren's grandchildren can continue to enjoy the bounty of the sea in a sustainable fashion.[36]
  • 2013 – Appetite for Destruction: Food – the Good, the Bad and the Fatal (with Geoff Simmons) – a book which analyses the pitfalls of contemporary processed food and the problem with contemporary diets more generally.[37]


  1. ^ "Business and economic standing in New Zealand". THICMI. 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2011.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Map of the locations of philanthropic work". The Morgan Foundation. 2011. Archived from the original on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  3. ^ Anthony Hubbard (9 January 2016). "National Portrait: Gareth Morgan, the golden gadfly".
  4. ^ Dale Husband (31 January 2016). "Gareth Morgan: The Pākehā way isn't the only way". E-Tangata.
  5. ^ "Gareth Morgan's Victoria University Profile". Victoria University of Wellington. 2009. Archived from the original on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Infometrics Company Profile". Infometrics Ltd. 2011. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  7. ^ "GMI Company Profile". GMI Ltd. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver Scheme Profile". GMK Ltd. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Gareth Morgan is a man who needs little introduction". magazinestoday. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Members of the Capital Markets Development Taskforce". Ministry of Economic Development. 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  11. ^ "Tax Working Group timing may bring policy action". The National Business Review. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Motor Cycle Safety Levy Advisory Council". ACC. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  13. ^ "New Constables graduate from Police College tomorrow". New Zealand Police. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  14. ^ "New Zealander of the year". The New Zealand Herald. 9 December 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Wellington Phoenix Now Owned By Wellnix". 3 News. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  16. ^ "The Kiwi Heroes Programme". The Morgan Charitable Foundation. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Antarctica & the sub-Antarctic Islands to raise New Zealanders' awareness". Our Far South. 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  18. ^ "The Antarctica 'Our Far South' expedition crew". Our Far South. 2011. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  19. ^ Amelia Wade "Morgan calls for cats to be wiped out", New Zealand Herald, 22 January 2013
  20. ^ a b c "Call to eradicate New Zealand’s pet cats draws hisses from cat lovers", The Washington Post (Associated Press), 22 January 2013
  21. ^ "Conservationists back anti-cat campaign", TVNZ Onenews, 22 January 2013
  22. ^ "Candidates". TOP (The Opportunities Party). Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  23. ^ "2017 General Election – Official Result". New Zealand Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  24. ^ "TOP loses leader Gareth Morgan and three other candidates in matter of hours". 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  25. ^ Lee, Julian (9 July 2018). "Gareth Morgan's The Opportunities Party is over". Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  26. ^ "The Opportunities Party Will Not Contest 2020". The Opportunities Party. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  27. ^ Bennett, Lucy (30 July 2018). "The Opportunities Party puts deregistration on hold after new interest". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  28. ^ "The Opportunities Party won't deregister, will make comeback with new leader". Newshub. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Gareth Morgan leaves the political party he founded". 31 March 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Traverse the world by motorcycle". 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  31. ^ North Korean Motorcycle Diaries, retrieved 6 May 2020
  32. ^ "2011 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize". The Royal Society of New Zealand. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  33. ^ "Poles Apart Official Website". Public Interest Publishing. February 2008. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  34. ^ "Health Cheque Official Website". Public Interest Publishing. 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  35. ^ "New Zealand's tax and welfare policies are a mess". Public Interest Publishing. 2011. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  36. ^ "Everything kiwis never wanted to know about fishing". Public Interest Publishing. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  37. ^ "Appetite for Destruction". Gareth Morgan. Retrieved 7 February 2014.

External links[edit]