Heather’s return

August 26th, 2010 at 6:12 am by David Farrar

I actually think Heather did the right thing, in returning early to Parliament. Staying away for a full fortnight would have just meant the publicity around her return would have been delayed.

And on Campbell Live, she basically said the right things about putting the past behind, wanting to work with Rodney, and move on together as part of a team.

should accept these intentions in good faith, in my opinion.

If Heather wishes to remain an ACT MP, which she clearly does, then she has the right to do so. Any attempt to push her out (and I am not suggesting such a thing is planned) would just keep the bad publicity going.

Having said that, Heather may find the next 14 months pretty hard. Going from a Minister with 10 staff to a backbencher with one secretary is a hard adjustment, combined with the fact that previously you actually determined policy, signed off spending etc, and then as a backbencher your main parliamentary job is select committees.

Most MPs tolerate being a backbencher, because of the potential to be a Minister one day. I can’t see any way Heather is going to end up being a Minister again. In fact I can’t see anyway that Heather will be an MP after the next election, because the remaining party members (and ultimately the Board) are highly unlikely to give her a winnable list place.

So while I think it is a good thing Heather has returned from leave, and is wanting to get on with the job – she may find it is a pretty unappealing time.

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37 Responses to “Heather’s return”

  1. Mike Readman (361 comments) says:

    I see Rodney’s not talking to her. Is he not going to for the next 14 months?

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  2. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    I think there is potential to mend fences after all the both of them worked together for 3 years as the sole ACT MP’s and things seemed to go well. The main problem appears to be two-fold – there are two camps with different views on the direction of the party, and Roy tried to outst Hide earlier this year, which appears to have back-fired and was poorly thought out. As for her advisor, that simply appears to be poor judgement on her part, and Hide is right to say there will be hard questions asked. The party needs to get its act together, National is a conservative party by nature and Labour doesn’t have any policies / ideas worth mentioning, so NZ needs ACT badly. They have made a very positive contribution to this govt, and in my opinion some very good policies. More importantly National needs ACT to win Epsom and gain 5-7 seats as an insurance policy. We all know the opinion polls will close up as they always do nearer the election, so we should all hope for the country’s sake that ACT sorts itself out.

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  3. george (398 comments) says:

    Heather won’t be an MP after the next election because there will be no Act MPs after the election. The work has failed, the cause has collapsed, the hope is dead, and the dream will never live again.

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  4. Clint Heine (1,569 comments) says:

    I agree Gwilly, good analysis. However I am very concerned that Heather has said outright that she doesn’t find anything wrong with the leaked document, which does talk ill about Rodney.

    I don’t know what her intentions are but I hope that for her sake she is back to roll her sleeves up and to get back to work. She did a fine job last term – I hardly believe that if these two were not able to work together ACT wouldn’t have got 5 MPs after the last election. Ever since that Simon fulla has been in the picture, things have gone pear shape for her. This is common knowledge to those in the know. Now he is gone maybe now she will listen to others and work as part of the ACT team.

    George… that’s a tad drastic mate! ACT will most certainly be there next term. Heather most likely won’t… although she has a bigger chance that that Peter Tashkoff guy :)

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  5. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    ACT will be confirmed dead after the next election.

    We have enough poodle political parties in NZ, so, why do we need another one? I mean the groups that sell their soul (and trade their principles) for the perks of office, the baubles of power.

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  6. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    Epsom voters are a smart lot and will vote strategically. Every election ACT’s demise is predicted, but it never eventuates for this very reason.

    George – could you be more specific about ACT work that has failed?

    Manolo – you could hardly label ACT as a party that has traded its principles, in fact quite the contrary. Admittedly some compromise on 3 strickes policy, but the basic framework remained.

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  7. Clint Heine (1,569 comments) says:

    What poodle parties Manolo? We have Jim and Peter. Jim gave up and is openly ripping off taxpayers again through his wages as a leader of a party that no longer exists…. and Peter Dunne gave up years ago.

    The Greens and ACT should be in Parliament. Heaven knows Labour and National have managed to stuff it up between themselves all the time. I don’t know why you seem to be defending the excesses of the main parties trough feeding. They by far eclipse the amounts that the small parties spend.

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  8. Whoops (139 comments) says:

    Who is the money behind? Hide or Roy?

    I can’t see Roy as a >5th place list MP for Act, but I could see her as leader. Perhaps she should pull a Winston and stand in Epsom?

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  9. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Thie right thing for Roy to do is disappear.

    Shes done more than enough damage for one plitical lifetime.

    And whats up with the moron at #7 on the list decding its a good time to start pissing inside the boat?

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  10. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    Gwilly

    ACT might not have traded its principles but some of its MPs seem to be oblivious to the need to be seen as behaving in a manner consistent with public perceptions of its principles (whatever they are).

    Roy has been behaving like a naive and silly little girl and if Rodimus is genuine about his concerns regarding her performance, then the fault for this entire childish affair resides fairly and squarely with him for not dealing with her until now. He also looks silly because of his initial refusal to discuss the issue and his subsequent sniping through the media which, no doubt, precipitated her return to Parliament.

    He has tried to reinvent himself as the decisive, capable and trustworthy man of action. Witness his personal presentation, the focus on spending efficiencies and the way he dealt with the supercity. Along the way he has since stupidly slagged Key, demonstrated poor judgement in his initial reaction when his overseas travel was raised, and now he’s allowed himself to be perceived as unable to manage a meeting in a phonebox because of a silly little girl.

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  11. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Clint. I will be the last person to defend socialist Labour or Labour-lite National. I despise the former, and feel sorry for the spineless latter.

    The truth of the matter is ACT has failed, and its chance of getting over the 5% are limited. The NZ electorate will never go for it while Hide is in charge (with the possible exception of the Epsom electorate.)

    I believe the only way to get a true conservative party in NZ would be to reclaim, to take back, the National Party, now in the hands of appeasers, spin doctors, and political prostitutes.

    It will be a difficult task though, considering the party’s membership apathy and, dare I say it, cowardice.

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  12. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    ACT has traded its principles. It’s not a liberal party. It’s economically liberal, yes, but its relatively socially conservative. It’s traded its principles to appeal to conservatives as opposed to liberals. (analysis here: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-act-liberal.html )

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  13. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    …conservatives as opposed to liberals.

    And which definitions of those two loaded words is the class using today? :-D

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  14. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    I didn’t see her on Campbell Live but her segment on CloseUp was fucking horrible. It sounded like Mark was interviewing John Key – scripted, indirect, smiling at the camera but no straight-up answers or substance to anything said. Even if you don’t support your leader, if you had the good of the party in mind then you would at least pretend to until a later/future coup, otherwise you’re just doing more damage than good in saying: “I won’t answer that, but I want ACT supporters to look to the future”. Well how the fuck are we suppose to look to the future if we don’t know whether Rodney’s leadership has your support or not?

    Fucking terrible. If it wasn’t for ACT’s policies and the fact that there are no alternative libertarian parties I’d jump ship in an instant.

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  15. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Classical definitions of political ideology rather than the loaded type that people like to throw around without understanding what they actually mean.

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  16. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it, Courage Wolf? I’m unlikely to vote for them again – not because of this whole sorry mess – but it leaves me with no other viable parties to vote for. There needs to be viable competition for ACT’s spot in Parliament and there’s not really: it seems it’s a case of ACT or nothing at present.

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  17. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    “Along the way he has since stupidly slagged Key, demonstrated poor judgement in his initial reaction when his overseas travel was raised, and now he’s allowed himself to be perceived as unable to manage a meeting in a phonebox because of a silly little girl.” Couldn’t agree more.

    She was better on Campbell live, but I agree the future line was a poor one.

    Dead right Jive Kitty, the link is a very good one. You wouldn’t consider the broad church of National?

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  18. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Withholding your vote from ACT because Rodney is incompetent/unprincipled is a dead-end road. Give ACT your vote, make them a viable >5% party and that will attract a better quality of membership, candidates and competition for the top jobs. Success breeds success.

    There’s no such thing as withholding your vote; you just give your vote to everyone else by making their votes a little more powerful. And a vote for National is just rewarding John Key for a pretty piss-poor show.

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  19. Nick Archer (137 comments) says:

    She needs to lay low, agree with Gwilly ACT’s demise has been predicted every election since 96 and they are still there and they have an electorate seat which aligned to a major party as an insurance option (so hopefully for them no repeat of Wellington Central in 99 with strong opposition and electoral boundaries changes etc). If they are stable enough (i.e. Heather has to roll up her sleeves and lay really low i.e. NO Chris Carter style self righteous theatrics please!) then they will probably retain Epsom again.

    Agree with some of the sentiment though that ACT are in a rock and hard place i.e. MMP dynamics and the fact that Hide has less appeal in government (the grave yard of junior coalition partners) as opposed to prior being in opposition, since the travel thing and SuperCity especially. But if things track well for them (Heather lays low) then they will still be there and might do better than you would think currently.

    I don’t think they have many options, those who say that they should have rolled Hide to get over 5% would have backfired…

    I think key for ACT will be to just survive intact enough to be able to enter the election campaign next year with enough credability to run a campaign as a junior member of the govt and look forward to 2014…

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  20. Mike S (231 comments) says:

    Good for her – standing up to bullies is the best way to deal with them.

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  21. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    Nick, I actually think Act has a great opportunity to increase their vote to over 5% even despite Hide’s perks scandal. The reason is that National has moved to the centre, leaving a whole lot of economic and socially liberal positioning opportunities.
    Unfortunately, Hide has made a gigantic stuff up with the Roy debacle.
    And not much better, Hide thinks his best strategy is to be populist and pull some of the right leaning conservative National voters to Act with right wing positioning on issues like the foreshore and law and order is the best way forward.
    This populist pandering is alien to Act’s core principles and, in substance, the policies are not good ones, other than the ETS, where I think Act are on to a winner so long as they can come up with an credible alternative to the current ETS.
    Secondly, those more likely to vote National who were National or Green voters in 08 are the social liberals, not the conservatives, who tend to stick to their knitting ie one of the main parties every election.
    Thirdly, there is a cost to Act’s populism, the social liberals in Act may decide to defect to National or simply not vote.

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  22. Mike Readman (361 comments) says:

    Hey Murray,

    I know it’s very hard to believe, but some people involved in politics actually have something called integrity.

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  23. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    The issue with perks was relatively minor in my opinion (though I know many will disagree) , and he paid back the monies. Another year before the election and plenty of water will flow under the bridge and the usual distractions (elsewhere hopefully). The key for ACT is to give the impression of a united party, continue their good contribution in parliament, and demonstrate to the public (mainly Epsom voters) that they have been worthy partners of National (that shouldn’t be difficult given the lack of alternatives) and are deserving of a second term. Ironically if the gap in the polls close as we get nearer the election, this will only serve to shore up support amongst Epsom voters for ACT. The mere thought of Labour/Greens regaining the front benches would make most Epsom voters feel sick to the core.

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  24. Mark Petersen (1,436 comments) says:

    This whole affair just keeps stumbling from bad to worse for Rodney Hide and Act. Roy has called Rodney Hide’s bluff and whilst she has confirmed loyalty to him as the leader who is she trying to kid. From the leadership point of view it has all the potential to continue to be a festering wound for the party for months.

    This remains a very divided caucus. Roy and Douglas despite their assurances to the contrary appear to have little confidence in the leadership of Hide.

    At this point it is hard to see ACT clawing its way back from the brink.

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  25. burt (8,043 comments) says:

    Gwilly

    and he paid back the monies.

    How many of Rodney’s quotes do you think we could find where he slaggs off the concept of ‘just help yourself and if you are caught pay it back and move on’.

    But hey, you have learnt a lot from Helen Clark, your comment said “move on” without even using that phrase.

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  26. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    “The key for ACT is to give the impression of a united party”

    Yes Gwilly. After all, its impressions that count.

    No doubt the alleged porky to his electoral committe regarding cost is a minor matter also.

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  27. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    It’s not Rodney, Malcolm. It’s the move away from liberal principles. With that move, the likelihood of attracting high quality liberals who are more than just liberals in name only is much less likely. I’m not a strict liberal but liberal is about as close as it gets to views similar to mine being represented in Parliament.

    Voting as we know is not overly rational in that the likelihood of any one vote making a difference is extremely low, but that’s not the primary attraction of voting it seems: there are things such as civic duty and being seen to express an opinion. As it stands, there is no party that is particularly close to representing my views and nor is their likely to be for quite some time, given the populist pandering and short-term decisionmaking that occurs. As such, there are two facets in play here. Firstly, it is not rational for me to bother to vote as my opinion is that all viable options are evils (it’s not rational for me to spoil my ballot paper either because that requires effort but has the same end result as not voting) and the area I’m in is not a marginal one in terms of local candidates. Secondly, withdrawing my vote and making it known that I’m doing so is the only way I have to conveying my dissatisfaction with the party and the system in general. If enough people don’t vote, it conveys either of two things: there are problems with the system and/or there are gaps in representation that another party, if not more, could fill. For me, not voting is rational and conveys what I want it to convey.

    @glubbster: Despite giving their candidate my electorate vote last time, I wouldn’t consider the broad church of National, no. Their policies and mode of operation of late don’t appeal. Alcohol (despite poor evidence and a cunning conscience vote so they can appeal to wowsers while maintaining they had little to do with it if the proposals are supported), tobacco tax (I loathe smoking but the way it was done was inappropriate particularly given it’s likely tax already covers the harm from tobacco), no movement on drug laws (despite good evidence), Finlayson and the Maori party, smacking (which ignoring the way the actual debate seemed to be framed I understand the reasons behind – and still am opposed to taking it out of the parental toolkit) in terms of ignoring the referendum – they should never have bothered with one if they were going to ignore the result (yes, it was poorly worded but it’s doubtful a similar result would not be had if the wording was improved), hinting at compulsory savings.

    I didn’t mind the budget so much, and it’s better than the economic illiterates in Labour would have come up with.

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  28. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    I think people like Clint are deluding themselves about ACT’s chances – this is not like every other time where the enemy was a lack of publicity and poorly executed PR. People who would possibly vote for ACT were really turned off by Hide’s spending hypocrisy and are unimpressed with his efforts as Local Government Minister implementing the rather pointless Super City. If National put up a good candidate in Epsom, Hide WILL lose.

    The fiasco with Roy et al, has simply shown that, despite Hide being useless, never fear – in ACT there is always someone with a bigger ego than you to stuff things up for everyone.

    ACT deserves to die – it is unreformable, it’s Party rules and structure are fundamentally flawed, its branding is awful, and the people have far too important a view of themselves. Those who want to see classical liberal policies in government should join National or Labour, and support good nominees in local electorates so we can have the people there who can actually do it.

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  29. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    For me, not voting is rational and conveys what I want it to convey.

    Fair enough, JiveKitty. If you tell them why they’re not getting your vote (assuming the message get through). But I think they’ll take more notice if they get your vote and you tell them what you like and what you do not like.

    Of course you’ll never get the perfect party. I’m of the opinion that it’s best to give your vote to the party which best represents your views and if you have the time and energy become involved and try to make the party more reflective of your position.

    Maybe we need Bob Jones to dust off the New Zealand Party.

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  30. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    BlairM – the PM recently hinted Nats won’t put up a candidate against Hide, so he will win and ACT will gain 5 odd seats. National would not be able implement some of their policies without the support of ACT MP’s – e.g. 90 days probation. All said and done its a nice arrangement for National as they can’t rely on Maori / Dunne for support on any tough decision-making surrounding welfare / labour type issues.

    Another potential problem for National is a resurgent NZ First who will as usual play on populist themes such as GST and foreshore and seabed. This is probably the reason why Key isn’t prepared to discuss raising super age…can you imagine the vaccum Peters could fill on that subject alone with his grey power support base.

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  31. burt (8,043 comments) says:

    BlairM

    Those who want to see classical liberal policies in government should join National or Labour, and support good nominees in local electorates so we can have the people there who can actually do it.

    Great idea, then the bloc voting mentality of the National/Labour can make sure that these people have no ability to influence the popularity at any price self serving nature of either Labour or National.
    The two horse race of red-team/blue-team really needs smart and dedicated people, muffling puppets and forcing them to tow the party line is easy and the whips needs a challenge – so sure, lets elect a little entertainment for the whips so they don’t get bored.

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  32. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    A liberal party prepared it seems to play the race card, two of my nephews voted ACT, they were surprised at Hide’s antics with taxpayer money and are even more surprised to see ACT not stating the Foreshore should go back to the courts lately.

    I told the older one that he should join ACT, no doubt they will feel they need a token hori at some stage as an MP.

    Hides seat is guaranteed ? nope, not if Labour make the suggestion to their supporters that voting National with their seat vote will get rid of ACT.

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  33. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    There seems something pretty dodgy about ACT women. Showponies with strange ethics (excepting Muriel Newman I understand, who got trampled)

    Given his integrity, I was very surprised to see Stephen stepping up for La Roy, she seems to have committed to ultimate crime -”remember never go full retard”

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  34. Mark Petersen (1,436 comments) says:

    It just gets worse. its like the Keysone Cops.

    If National don’t put up a candidate in Epsom even the most ardent tory must be tempted to vote for the Greens

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  35. Clint Heine (1,569 comments) says:

    Manolo, if ACTs members were to join National, I can tell you right now it would be worthless. We already have many ex ACT people in National and they are downright useless (sorry Blair). All they do is join little splinter groups like Bluegreens or Bluelibs… and that is supposed to appease them? How could any Nat be 100% behind Don Brash one day and the next be bending over backwards for John Key, unless their principles were paper thin and there was a stronger desire to win an election rather than win with good policy?

    There are still a few stirrers in this thread talking about Rodney being a bully. However the only people saying this are Simon and Peter Jerkhoff…. and we all know what side of the fence they are on. No other person associated with ACT is saying this.

    In fact apart from Heathers early return, this story has pretty much died… apart from a few clingons who are upset about the demotion. But these people are more interested in getting themselves famous and are putting the boot into the party.

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  36. pq (728 comments) says:

    It is absolutely imperative for any political party to have PC equality gender things, like mummy and daddy.
    It worked very well with Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzimmons.
    This is another bad mistake by Rodney.

    I feel sad when I read “george (390) Says:

    August 26th, 2010 at 7:20 am
    Heather won’t be an MP after the next election because there will be no Act MPs after the election. The work has failed, the cause has collapsed, the hope is dead, and the dream will never live again.

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  37. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Great idea, then the bloc voting mentality of the National/Labour can make sure that these people have no ability to influence the popularity at any price self serving nature of either Labour or National.
    The two horse race of red-team/blue-team really needs smart and dedicated people, muffling puppets and forcing them to tow the party line is easy and the whips needs a challenge – so sure, lets elect a little entertainment for the whips so they don’t get bored.

    Gee, well I wonder how Jack Marshall, Derek Quigley, Roger Douglas, Trevor De Cleene, Richard Prebble, Ruth Richardson, Max Bradford and so many others managed to have such a positive political influence on our country. I guess they were all in a fringe political party that got five percent of the vote… oh no! wait! they were all in NATIONAL AND LABOUR!!!!!

    If you want to fuck around at the margins forever and get nothing done, a third party that gets single digit MPs is the fastest way to do it, and suck up resources and energy of committed activists who would be better off getting people into positions of real power, like the many names I listed above.

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