Our People

DemocracyNZ brings together a diverse range of Kiwis with real life and business experience. We come together from across the political spectrum, to represent you. We launched in March 2022, and we stand for freedom, for family, and for farming and rural New Zealand. We stand with you.

Matt King

Party Leader / Candidate for Northland

Northland is home for Matt. A farmer for more than 30 years, Matt also comes with a wide range of experience as a detective, business owner, and most recently, the MP for Northland from 2017-2020. All Matt's roles - whether in the Police, as a volunteer firefighter, rugby referee, or in politics (to name a few), have involved service to the community.

Politics is about people, and seeing the division and erosion of democracy in New Zealand, Matt felt it necessary to stand up and form a political party, based on our fundamental democratic and Kiwi principles. There is a significant proportion of Kiwis who feel politically homeless due to the lack of true opposition in the current political landscape. Politics requires courage - and that is often standing up against the status quo and speaking up for what is right - such as standing up against blatant breaches of our democratic rights. With a proven track record as an MP who cares, and a pragmatic approach to dealing with tricky issues – Matt is well-equipped to represent those whose voices have not been heard, and getting our country back on track.

Email: matt.king@democracynz.org


Lee Smith

Candidate for Taranaki-King Country

Lee Smith has been confirmed as the DemocracyNZ candidate for the Taranaki-King Country electorate.

Lee Smith has lived in the King Country, for more than 20 years, and over that time has run a successful local business. She was born and raised in Taranaki. Lee’s father was a dairy farmer. Lee credits her parents for instilling in Lee a passion for farming and an unwavering drive and commitment to advocate for the rural sector. She is a wife, a mother of six and a grandmother, and in between supporting her children’s sports teams and participating in community activities, Lee is an avid gardener. Family is her number one priority.

Lee joined DemocracyNZ after becoming increasingly concerned about the downward trajectory of New Zealand’s economy and social cohesion under this Labour Government.

“I’m grateful to be the DemocracyNZ candidate for Taranaki-King Country,” Lee says. “Putting my name up for DemocracyNZ is a responsibility and commitment that I do not take lightly. We are an emerging Party, but we are becoming a political force. There are many people who currently feel politically homeless and DemocracyNZ is the answer to that uncertainty. I will be working extremely hard to win Taranaki-King Country for DemocracyNZ.”

“I have always been interested in service for the community and our country. My favourite political quote is from the Athenian General, Pericles, who said ‘Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you’.”

Email: lee.smith@democracynz.org

Steve Cranston

Candidate for Waikato

Steve is a farming advocate and climate emissions expert. Based in Eureka, Waikato, Steve manages a dairy farm and has also worked as an agricultural and environmental consultant. Steve was the spokesperson on carbon emissions for Groundswell because of his committed advocacy for the rural sector and reputation for being a straight talker. Steve has an agricultural science degree from Lincoln University, as well as a sound understanding of farming. 

Steve's commitment to rural New Zealand and growing concern over Labour and National’s climate policies were what drove him to reach out to DemocracyNZ and ultimately seek the Waikato nomination. He understands why many regulations are unworkable, which has underpinned his political growth.

“Our farming sector and rural communities are under threat from the climate agenda this Labour government is inflicting on our country. I am also deeply concerned that the opposition parties in Parliament won’t prevent unrealistic climate policies from destroying our way of life. The National Party speaks with a forked tongue – on the one hand it says it stands with farmers, while on the other it maintains policies that will still destroy farming communities, just at a slower rate. DemocracyNZ won’t sell out our farmers. We will end the carbon emissions madness,” Steve said.

Email: steve.cranston@democracynz.org

Kirsten Murfitt

Candidate for Tauranga 

Kirsten Murfitt is our DemocracyNZ candidate for Tauranga. A lawyer by profession and strong freedom fighter, Kirsten brings a wealth of business and life experience. After graduating from the University of Auckland in 1999, Kirsten worked in two of the top 10 law firms in Auckland before working for one of the largest law firms in Australia.

Kirsten took some time out of her career when her son was born and required regular hospital admissions and therapy. Her son has a rare congenital syndrome, which pivoted her to become active in the world of disability - a cause very dear to her heart.

Kirsten returned to private practice at a family-friendly law firm in 2011 on the North Shore in Auckland, before relocating with her family to Tauranga in 2016. She started KM Law in 2016, and has enjoyed building a successful business that reflects her personal values - based around integrity, loyalty and freedom.

Kirsten felt a moral duty to speak out as a lawyer in recent years to protect our fundamental democratic principles for future generations. This has ultimately led her to play an active role in politics, by standing as a candidate for DemocracyNZ. Kirsten shares the passion and determination that Matt and our other DemocracyNZ candidates have to get our country back on track.

You can find Kirsten's Project Q&A here 

Email: kirsten.murfitt@democracynz.org


Martin Langford

Candidate for Napier

​Originally from the UK, Martin has been a dental surgeon for over 30 years, with experience working in NHS hospitals, the Royal Air Force as a dental officer, and in private practice in New Zealand. He was also on the Board of a Hawkes Bay-based medical /dental trust for 15 years.

Living in Napier since 1997, he and his Kiwi wife have raised their family of two children, who are now self-supporting independent adults. Martin became politicised when he noted with horror the extent of Government interference in the dental/medical field, with a blatant disregard for the Bill of Rights.

Never before has an individual’s confidential medical history been exposed, allegedly for the “greater good”. Ethics and informed consent were disregarded by the current Government, with no effective opposition from any of the other political parties.

Martin became aware of Matt King after attending the protests outside Parliament in February 2022, and realised he was the only politician to address the protesters and support the anti-mandate stance from day one. He believes healthcare should be evidence-based, and that the cornerstone of treatment should be “First Do No Harm”.

​​Martin joined DemocracyNZ ​because​ ​the pr​inciples ​reso​nated with his own, and the Party is not afraid to speak out against the current Government and their woeful performance.​ In Parliament, Martin will​ actively promote the Party​'s​ policies of democracy, equality and unity for all​ in decision-making and legislation,​ and advocate for the rights of the individual in all respects - medical, dental and civil.

Email: martin.langford@democracynz.org


Matt Shelton

Candidate for Ōhāriu

Matt Shelton has been a medical doctor for 37 years. Originally from the UK, Matt moved to New Zealand in 1994.

Matt predominantly has worked in integrative medicine and general practice, he is dedicated to reducing the influence and control that pharma exerts over how medicine is practiced.

Matt successfully beat his suspension by the Medical Council for championing informed consent, though they continue to target him and other doctors who challenge the COVID narratives.

A founding member of NZDSOS and NZRising, Matt is dedicated to restoring government institutions to democratic principles, operating for the people. He is a professional musician and a doting dad.

Matt joined DemocracyNZ as the Party shares his personal values of courage, unity and equality. "Matt King led the way in standing up against the unlawful and unethical jab mandates. That for me, showed immense courage and character - to walk away from a guaranteed job in one of New Zealand's two major political parties and stand up for what is right, that is a testament of the man Matt King is. No other New Zealand former or current MP had the courage or decency to stand up for democracy when it mattered, or genuinely speak up for those whose lives and livelihoods were being destroyed by the mandates. Given the privilege to enter Parliament, I will ask the right questions and fight to uncover why our country has been so damaged in last three years. I will fight to ensure 'never again', and make it stick!". Matt Shelton says. 

Email: matt.shelton@democracynz.org


Juanita O'Connell

Candidate for Ilam

Juanita has worked as a financial adviser for insurance and mortgages, owning her own business. Having lived overseas and travelled extensively, Juanita was taken aback at the ‘them and us’ mentality of politicians, particularly their willingness to hide the truth and not speak out for New Zealanders.

“I believe that in order to be in Parliament, you need to be representative of everyday New Zealanders – and our current politicians are not. When they did not come out and listen to the people at the protest in Wellington, that for me, was symbolic of MPs who have forgotten who put them there in the first place. “My motivation in politics is to make a difference, and to be an advocate – a voice, for the issues that are important to us.”

It was this passion for transparency and change that made Juanita the obvious candidate for Ilam. Juanita is a problem-solver and her years in financial advice means she knows how to work with and for people. Her dedication to give back to the community is admirable and she has the qualifications and expertise to successfully achieve the best results in various portfolios.

Juanita never expected she would become a candidate but knew she needed to speak up for New Zealanders who currently do not have a voice or don’t feel heard. She feels that DemocracyNZ can be “the light at the end of the dark tunnel we are currently in. “I had the naive idea that those who entered politics, often successful professionals, did so to make a difference for their communities and the good of their country. I think a political career is about giving back to the community and paying attention to the needs of the voters. I have faith in DemocracyNZ’s courage to speak the truth, put the needs of all New Zealanders first, rebuild and restore democracy as it ought to be, and remove any laws that divide the populace or do not serve the interests of the majority. I am determined to play my part in that.”

Email: juanita.oconnell@democracynz.org


Doug Allington

Candidate for Banks Peninsula

Doug has followed every election back to Keith Holyoake’s re-election in 1966, with a renewed interest in politics following the mess this nation has been left in – courtesy of the current Government. Over the last few years Doug, a husband, father of four and grandad to six, has become increasingly concerned over the behaviour of our current crop of politicians, and their blatant disregard of our country’s citizens. Something has got to change. Someone was needed to stand in the gap for the people.

“I have clear concerns over the nation’s governance. I see DemocracyNZ as the only serious party offering Kiwis hope for their future. New Zealand needs to be sovereign and independent again, setting its own destiny. I fully support Matt King and DemocracyNZ’s core policies and values.

“Some concerns I have are the housing and construction industries, addressing Labour’s urban planning and RMA chaos, children and youth affairs, cleaning up education, strategies for business growth, apprenticeships, job creation, EQC, disaster response and recovery.”

Bringing to the table an extensive background, in building, project management, financial advice and governance, Doug along with wife Ali, have also devoted much of their time to running youth programmes.

Following Saturday’s announcement, Party Leader, Matt King, welcomed Doug with his obvious passion and dedication into the team. “When you talk to Doug you instantly get the impression that he’s a man committed to change, and he has the experience to make a significant difference in his focus areas. It isn’t about left or right anymore, it’s about moving forward together with the values shared by all Kiwis. Doug has committed so much of his life to others, and we are thrilled he has joined our accomplished team. We know he is committed to the freedom we all want New Zealanders to regain."

In Doug's words, “The fact is, New Zealanders need politicians that are there to serve, and not to be served, and who can offer them a hope for a future. It was a brave and principled step for Matt to leave National when he could have stayed and been the candidate for Northland again in 2023. I just knew I had to get behind this man and his party’s cause. It was clear he was not a career politician. DemocracyNZ in my view, is prepared to listen to people’s views. Leading into the coming election, it is proving to be the strongest advocate for the voices of many in this nation, that our current politicians are ignoring. The standard and experience of each candidate named to date, confirms that DemocracyNZ will make a difference in Parliament.”

Email: doug.allington@democracynz.org


Gordon Malcolm

Candidate for Waimakariri

Gordon Malcolm is a registered industrial electrician and HVAC specialist, having lived in the Waimakariri electorate for thirteen years with his wife and three daughters. He lost his home during the first Christchurch earthquake in 2010, but still dedicated time to help others who had lost their only sources of heating after the disaster.

Gordon’s passion for people has been ignited once again after witnessing discriminatory policies from the Labour Government and the repugnant mandating of people from their jobs. For Gordon, the decision to stand with DemocracyNZ was easy.

"Good Kiwis are working longer and harder than ever. Instead of having an opposition party to keep checks and balances on Labour, the National Party has been working in lock step with Labour and offering no discernible opposition to some of the most draconian policies that New Zealand has ever seen – particularly with the mandates that resulted in thousands of Kiwis being segregated from society and from earning a livelihood. The cost-of-living crisis we are seeing today has been the reality for quite some time for those mandated out of their jobs – discrimination of any kind is totally unacceptable. The right to choose is a fundamental basic human right, and this is my driving force to help DemocracyNZ entrench the New Zealand Bill of Rights,” says Gordon.

Having him join the party was also an easy decision for Party Leader, Matt King. “Gordon is an asset to our growing team; politics is about people and Gordon is a man of integrity who does what he says and is dedicated to doing what is right for New Zealand. His knowledge of the economy and his passion to entrench the Bill of Rights makes him an ideal person to join us and stand up for Kiwi families and their freedom.”

In accepting the candidacy, Gordon says his focus is largely on two things – freedom and the economy. His very first action in Parliament would be to remove the emergency powers the current Labour Government has given itself.

“Most Kiwi families are having to work longer and harder for an ever-weakening dollar. Economically, we are heading into dangerous waters. Our debt levels are soaring and the Labour Government is spending like a drunken sailor. Prudent fiscal management and discipline are required, and budgets should be used to help Kiwis who are suffering.

Email: gordon.malcolm@democracynz.org


Bill Dyet

Candidate for Whangaparāoa

Bill Dyet is an experienced aircraft engineer, and has always been passionate about effectively addressing issues that impact New Zealanders. This is what solidified his decision to join politics with DemocracyNZ.

“The history of revolutions demonstrates that there is always an active campaign throughout the world to undermine and eventually end the freedom and democracy that we take for granted. The “Western” democratic model of “rule by the people, for the people” is actually unusual in history and must be continually protected.”

In accepting his candidacy, Bill cites several key issues that have encroached on Kiwi freedoms. He wants to address:

  • International treaties which have steadily disenfranchised the New Zealand public.
  • The Government’s draconian and destructive COVID response.
  • The destruction of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
  • Toxic climate change politics, which are used as an excuse to globally centralise all food and energy production.
  • Attacks on free speech and corruption of the news media.

“Bill is a massive asset to our team, and he is driven by the desire to do right by people”, says Party Leader Matt King. “He often speaks about the global push towards the destruction of democracy, and he has a clear plan of how he wants to make a tangible change for New Zealanders, so we are very fortunate to have him on this journey with us heading into the 2023 General Election.”

Given the opportunity to enter Parliament, Bill would first call for a full public enquiry into the Government's COVID response, particularly the "safety and effectiveness" of the vaccine - as well as the effectiveness of the lockdowns. He always wants to hold main political parties to account for not acting in the best interests of the New Zealand public.

“Right now, of all political parties, only DemocracyNZ is addressing these issues in the coming election. That’s why I knew they were the Party to get behind.”

Email: bill.dyet@democracynz.org


Chris Robinson

Candidate for East Coast

Serving the community comes naturally to former police officer of 37 years, Chris Robinson, who joins DemocracyNZ as the candidate for the East Coast electorate.

Chris quickly reached the rank of Commissioned Officer in the New Zealand Police after working across Auckland on the front-line and at a strategic level, implementing numerous strategies which have been adopted nationally.

Retiring from the Police brought Chris back to Whakatane. “This is the worst government in the history of our country, and I don’t have faith in any of the opposition parties to solve the issues we face as a country. Crime is at an all-time high, and it is heart-breaking to see so many young people getting into trouble with the law when they should really be in school – learning and thriving to be well-rounded adults. As a former police officer, I feel I bring something to the table and can help get our country back on track again. Many Kiwis have lost faith in the political system, however, DemocracyNZ has a team that is not afraid to challenge the current political landscape - and has the courage to stand up for what is right, when it matters.”

“We are stoked to have Chris on board, he is always willing to put in the hard yards to make a difference in the community, and that willingness to do good makes him a fantastic candidate and member of our team. Creating safe communities is a high priority for DemocracyNZ, as a former police officer myself – Chris will bring a wealth of experience to the team”, says Party Leader, Matt King.

Politics wasn’t an obvious choice for Chris, but when the mandates were introduced, Chris couldn’t ignore the obvious breach of the Bill of Rights.

“It is disturbing that all the parties in Parliament supported the mandates, they disregarded body autonomy - which is a fundamental human right. The actions of our politicians show how easily democracy and freedom can be lost, and people are often attacked for having different views. Debate is stifled, which is not the sign of a healthy democracy.”

“When Matt King showed courage and integrity to speak to the protestors in Wellington, I decided that Matt was the only politician to trust - so I’m glad to be on this team with other people committed to making change that really matters.”

Email: chris.robinson@democracynz.org


Roger Small

Candidate for Waitaki

Roger is a staunch campaigner to stand up for rural New Zealand. Roger has been a farmer for more than 30 years, he and his family run a mixed arable and lamb fattening farm near Waimate in South Canterbury.

He is actively involved in his community, including as chair for his local catchment group. Roger has been the Groundswell NZ co-ordinator for South Canterbury.

“I believe in education and a local community driven by a hands-on, practical approach to find solutions rather than excessive regulation and the punitive taxes model currently in play.”

Party Leader, Matt King says that Roger is the right man to promote the concerns and ideas of the residents of Waitaki. “It’s clear from every conversation that we’ve had, that Roger cares deeply about New Zealand. I have no doubt in my mind that our team and our country will benefit hugely from Roger’s expertise and commitment.”

In accepting his candidacy, Roger wants to push for common sense, affordable policies in Parliament and return autonomy back to local communities with decisions and allocation of resources being based on need rather than race.

“Bureaucracy has become a monster that is manipulated by political propaganda rather than true evidence. This needs to change with full accountability of the politicians and officials who should all work for the good of all the people of New Zealand.”

Email: roger.small@democracynz.org



Diana Burgess

Candidate for Whangārei

Diana is a proud Northlander, a fourth generation Croatian/Kiwi. With over 30-years’ experience in the health industry, Diana is a naturopath, Nia teacher and business owner. She co-owns the Hardy’s Health stores brand with her husband Vince, which includes retail stores in Kerikeri, Paihia and Whangārei. Diana and Vince have raised their two boys in Northland.

Diana’s passion for educating and supporting the health of others, strengthened after witnessing first-hand, the discriminatory policies from the current Government.

“The overreaching COVID-19 mandates restricted when our health stores could operate, prevented me from seeing my patients, teaching Nia fitness classes, and being involved in everyday activities as per our human rights.”

Party Leader, Matt King said DemocracyNZ is thrilled to have Diana join the growing team of accomplished candidates. “I know a huge concern of Diana’s is the proposed introduction of the Therapeutics Products Bill, which in its current form, will restrict choices for those who wish to take supplements and herbs for their health and wellbeing. This is shocking when you consider approximately 50% of New Zealanders take natural health supplements.”

“Diana is passionate about Kiwi’s natural health and wellbeing, and we are fortunate to have her on our team - especially as we aim to push back on the Therapeutics Bill, that is currently not fit-for-purpose and will encroach on the freedom to choose safe, high quality natural products for consumers, health practitioners and their patients. DemocracyNZ is vehemently against this Bill.”, Matt says.

In accepting the candidacy, Diana said DemocracyNZ was an easy choice as the Party aligns with what truly matters to her, including making sure what happened during COVID never happens again. “This move into politics is the right thing to do, but it’s not for me, it’s for my children’s future, and my future grandchildren.

“We must always be able to continue to improve the health and well-being of Kiwis naturally, to support our educators, small business owners and hardworking farmers.  We must let our kids be kids, have safer communities, ensure our human rights are upheld, and most importantly - we must retain our right to freedom of choice”.

Email: diana.burgess@democracynz.org

Our team is growing!

We have some exciting candidate announcements planned, so have a look on our events page for dates!

We will continue to carry out candidate selection over the coming months in the lead-up to the election. If you have an interest in politics and would like to put your name forward for candidacy, please get in touch on matt.king@democracynz.org

Our Board

Danny Simms

Party President

Danny comes with vast political, business, and community experience – having been a beef and dairy farmer in Northland, a Justice of the Peace, and has also served on several boards. Danny received the New Zealand Commemoration medal for services to agriculture, particularly in the veterinary field. 

Danny was a volunteer ambulance officer for six years, holding a National Diploma in Ambulance practice as an Emergency Medical Technician. Danny has always been politically active, and after feeling immense disappointment with the current centre-right parties in Parliament due to their lack of opposition to the Labour-led Govt; he decided to support DemocracyNZ – to provide a true alternative to the current political landscape. Danny believes that the core values and purpose of DemocracyNZ resonates with Kiwis – the values of freedom, equality, and the New Zealand Bill of Rights. 

Greg Brown

Board member

Greg is a medical doctor and retired military officer, with a keen interest in music. Greg joined DemocracyNZ after witnessing the virtually unopposed destruction of the rights of New Zealanders on the pretext of public health, the economic devastation caused by lockdowns and border closures, and the social harms of masking and vaccine mandates.

Recent times have shown us how fragile democracy can be, and how none of the political parties currently in Parliament during the 2020-23 term have stood up against what has been a complete breach of democracy. Greg joined DemocracyNZ because it is built on the solid foundation of everyday Kiwis - it is a Party that is built on democracy. He believes that the success of DemocracyNZ at the next election is critically important for the future of the country, that the imperious political class has had its day, and that Kiwis should be free to live without government overreach.

Tania-Lee Knowles

Party Secretary

Tania-Lee is a born and bred Aucklander. She has owned, co-owned, and operated small businesses in New Zealand and overseas, including Qatar, the UK and Fiji. This first-hand experience entrenches the critical place small-to-medium business has in New Zealand.
Tania-Lee’s off-shore experience has given her an in-depth understanding of different cultures and religions, including sensitive issues around social status, social segregation, and gender inequality. She has extraordinary passion for New Zealand’s democracy, free speech, freedom of choice, and property rights - which are her key drivers for joining DemocracyNZ. It is time to rebuild New Zealand and our democracy.