Ends and means

April 27th, 2011 at 9:16 am by David Farrar

I have been somewhat surprised at how amateurish the attempted coup has been. In fact, I’d go further and say it somewhat resembles a cluster fuck. I’ll explain where I think mistakes were made, and what I would have done differently.

But first I should make clear that I am in fact highly supportive of the aims or “ends” of . I just don’t think the means have been well chosen.

  • I most definitely want a coalition partner for National that is economically more reformist than National, and can attract enough support to survive the tidal ebbs and flows of politics.
  • I have been worried for some time that National’s long-term prospects (post Key) could be somewhat bleak as if ACT (and United once Dunne retires) disappears there are no partners for National. Over time I expect the Maori Party will go with Labour more often than it does with National.
  • I would like National to be more economically reformist. I doubt I disagree with Don Brash on many significant economic issues. However I do believe you have to take the electorate with you – otherwise you get thrown out and all your reforms get reversed. It is only by getting re-elected for multiple terms can your reforms become too entrenched to reverse

So in principle I’m supportive of what Don is trying to achieve – a more popular and hopefully permanent coalition partner for National, that will lead to more economic reform (which will help close the gap with Australia).

But I think the campaign to try and bludgeon ACT into handing over the leadership to Don has been clumsy, not thought through, and has in fact significantly damaged Don’s brand, and hence the brand of any new party he sets up. My criticisms are:

  1. Demanding the sole leadership, not even co-leadership, while not even a member of the party. This makes it look like you see the party as purely a vehicle for your ambitions.
  2. Openly threatening to destroy the party if they do not make you sole leader. This not only pisses off ACT party members, but also damages your standing with voters.
  3. Negotiating through the media. Never a good strategy.
  4. Not leaving room for a dignified compromise. By publicly demanding that the leadership be handed over to you, or you will destroy the party you place the board and caucus in a position where if they then agree they get left with no dignity. In politics you should always be thinking about how to make something look like a win-win (even if it isn’t).
  5. Only commissioned polling data after you launch your public bid for the job. This should have been commissioned weeks ago.

So what would I have done if I was advising Don

  1. Negotiate privately with ACT to see if there is a suitable role.
  2. If no agreement can be reached, then start the work on forming your own party. Do not publicly demand ACT hand over the leadership or you will destroy them.
  3. Announce you are creating a new party.
  4. When media asked why not join ACT, then reveal you tried to, but no agreement could be reached. Then explain that you are doing a new party because you think at best ACT will only be able to win up to five seats again and that you want to win at least 10 seats, so you’ll have more influence on economic policy.
  5. If they ask about the ACT leadership, reply that there is no vacancy there. If they ask whether you considered challenging Rodney, reply that you and Rodney have been friends for over 15 years, and you would never challenge him. Also make clear that you will not stand in Epsom.
  6. Announce you will be standing in Tamaki but your aim is to win 5%. However if Tamaki voters want him as their local MP he would be happy to do so.
  7. Differentiate the new party from ACT by saying the party will be primarily focused on just two areas – economic reform and choice in education. Say that you hope ACT and your party will both be in Parliament to help drive better policies, but that you believe you can attract the most support based on the doubling of National’s vote in 2005.

By demanding ACT hand the leadership over to him or be destroyed, Don has pissed off the very activists that his new party would want to attract. He’s made it a Rodney v Don issue, rather than an issue of how to get better economic reform.

Don’s tactics in 2011 are very similar to his 2003 coup. Coups are normally done behind closed doors and with no media statements. But the key difference is that in 2003 Don was already in caucus. It is different when you are not even a member of the party you seek to lead.

As I said at the beginning, I support what Don is trying to achieve. And I agree with most of what Don says economically. But I don’t think the way he has gone about it has put him in a good light, and hence actually lessens his chances of being able to achieve his goals.

Unless something dramatically changes, it looks like he will not be leading ACT, and he will presumably set up his new party. This is more complicated than one might think. You need a set of rules. You need an initial board. You need rules on who selects candidates, who elects the board, who elects the leader etc. You need principles and policies. You need offices and staff. You need members and activists – and you need money. The last should not be a problem from the sounds of it.

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226 Responses to “Ends and means”

  1. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Sadly this proves what I think the electorate realises – Brash is highly intelligent, but bumbling and naive. Too much IQ, too little EQ. He won’t succeed, whether with ACT or a new party.

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  2. Trevor Mallard (248 comments) says:

    I think you probably mean retires with Dunne though Freud may have helped you slip

    [DPF: heh yes have changed from retries to retires]

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  3. Trevor Mallard (248 comments) says:

    Good analysis. Don has probably delayed an effective party of the right by several years.

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  4. Radman (143 comments) says:

    ou need an initial board. You need rules on who selects candidates, who elects the board, who elects the leader etc. You need principles and policies. You need offices and staff. You need members and activists – and you need money. The last should not be a problem from the sounds of it.

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  5. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    I think Hide and Brash are reading this right now thinking – what does this word ‘negotiate’ mean?

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  6. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Excellent analysis David. It makes one ponder just how politically naive Brash is.

    By the way, I have not voted on your sidebar poll on Brash v Hide because I wanted a third option: Neither/Other.

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  7. Radman (143 comments) says:

    You need an initial board. You need rules on who selects candidates, who elects the board, who elects the leader etc. You need principles and policies. You need offices and staff. You need members and activists – and you need money. The last should not be a problem from the sounds of it.

    YeS! Something the Act Party should keep in mind! All of this within six months? Impossible!

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  8. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Much to agree with there DPF…The whole “co-leader” thing is a bit new age for me, but in this case it might have worked…Rodney to do the front of house work, he and Don to share the thinking and policy formulation…

    Sadly it seems we are going to have a shambles on the right…Don strikes me as a man who will at least make an honest attempt to carry through what he says he will…all that will do will be to create a Maori Party/Hone Party contest on the right…

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  9. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Charlie Fox sums it up.

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  10. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    Don Brash for this weeks “Darwin Award”

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  11. calendar girl (1,241 comments) says:

    Well reasoned, DPF, and you reach a fairly compelling conclusion, even if that is inevitably easier with the benefit of hindsight.

    What I have a minor problem with are these statements: “… I support what Don is trying to achieve. And I agree with most of what Don says economically.”

    From years of reading (and generally admiring) your cogent posts, I have difficulty accepting that “what Brash says economically” is compatible with your own inherent views on state spending and now-conventional welfare structures. Without getting in policy details, I expect that you and Brash would be some distance apart philosophically on the degree of change that Brash would want to pursue quite purposefully.

    While naturally National iktself would be a considerable drag on such ambitions, Brash is unlikely to accede to the degree of compromise on the direction of change (as opposed to the pace) that your cautious and arguably more centrist position would require.

    [DPF: I am far more willing to compromise than Don - absolutely.]

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  12. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    Trevor – you were quick off the mark with your comments, you thinking of starting a ‘New Labour’ party?

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  13. Radman (143 comments) says:

    Brash is unlikely to accede to the degree of compromise on the direction of change (as opposed to the pace) that your cautious and arguably more centrist position would require.

    Then he will achieve nothing just like during his prior reign. Politics is, after all, the art of compromise!

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  14. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I agree with most of this, but…

    * Hide is the factor holding Act back. Adding Brash would help but not as much as dumping Hide.

    * Sometimes the sudden smash and grab IS the best strategy.

    * Act’s rejection of Brash makes them look like idiots who care more about technicalities than survival, and more about Hide’s ego than the party’s principles.

    * I predict a huge chunk of Act’s membership will now defect, in addition to those who have left already.

    * Whatever happens behind the scenes, that part of the public from which Brash may get support may prefer the image of ruthlessness to politiness, and prefer Brash’s public approach to behind-the-scenes stitch-ups.

    * If a new party is to succeed it is desirable that Act is destroyed as quickly as possible. The declaration of war hastens that.

    * There is no time to waste – the election is in seven months.

    I also note that the coming war on the right will be very entertaining for those not involved. It has certainly become very viscious very quickly!

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  15. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    The Easter irony – the money men try a political resurrection of a self believing financial saviour.

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  16. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Gee DPF…you really are spinning this one hard.

    No doubt the Nat’s will be pleased.

    [DPF: Actually the only people lobbying me on this, have been those asking me not to say what I have been saying. No one has asked me to say what I said]

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  17. db.. (84 comments) says:

    DPF.. “You need a set of rules. You need an initial board. You need rules on who selects candidates, who elects the board, who elects the leader etc. You need principles and policies. You need offices and staff. You need members and activists – and you need money. The last should not be a problem from the sounds of it.”

    You missed the most pressing “you NEED..” of all. He or they need time.. Senility is fast approaching.

    db..

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  18. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    I received a copy of the e-mail that Rodney Hide has sent out to Act members in my in-box this morning, forwarded by a recipient. With that person’s permission, I have reproduced it in full. It’s certainly far more temperate than some of the stuff that has been coming from the pro-Brash camp (but not necessarily Brash himself) over the last few days.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2011/04/interesting-e-mail.html

    Could a co-leadership arragement have worked if there was goodwill from both sides? In all probability yes. Clearly though, that’s not going to happen given Brash’s demands and conditions. If anything Brash, despite his obvious economic competence, has shown that he learned little about the game of politics during his five years in the House.

    Act won’t be getting either of my ticks this year; nor would they have been likely to prior to the events of the weekend. But with all this dissent percolating away behind the scenes, it’s hard to see Act gaining traction at the moment, and Brash’s bumbling is going to be the signature of a new party. That all this carry-on detracts from the real issues, which Brash and Hide could easily have articulated in tandem is the real tragedy.

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  19. Manolo (13,828 comments) says:

    Gee DPF…you really are spinning this one hard.
    No doubt the Nat’s will be pleased.

    The Nats are very pleased.

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  20. smttc (752 comments) says:

    I have say that I think Rodney Hide looks ridiculous running the “It’s not appropriate for me to respond. He isn’t even a member.” line. Of course he isn’t a member and will not bother applying unless ACT send him the right signals.

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  21. Scott (1,804 comments) says:

    “it somewhat resembles a cluster fuck”
    “This not only pisses off ACT party members”

    DPF- your general analysis is good. I just find the way you express yourself,as per examples above,detracts from your reasoning.

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  22. bka (135 comments) says:

    The direction of this government was pretty well telegraphed before the last election, they bent over backwards to indicate that they were not going to inflict sharp shocks on the public.
    Don Brash has had two and a half years to sign up to the Act Party and get himself a place on the list, which no doubt would have been high, and ACT were already having problems last year. Well that didn’t happen and of course a rejuvenated right would be wanting ACT’s incumbent resources.
    He is somewhat open to the question, would he be going to this trouble if it wasn’t election year with the National Party polling well?

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  23. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    smttc, do you think meeting with the leader over many months and discussing options surrounding leadership is not sending signals?

    Really, some comments on this are insane.

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  24. publicwatchdog (2,613 comments) says:

    Interesting that there is some agreement here across the political spectrum over how inept the ‘I’m Brash – I’ve got the ca$h – it’s my way – or the highway’ attempted National Party takeover of ACT has been.

    Bulldozer corporate boardroom tactics based on the ‘golden rule’ – ‘those who have the gold – make the rules’ – are arguably NOT a good look in our so-called New Zealand democracy.

    I’m sure a number of thinking voters must be asking the obvious question – if this is how Don Bra$h acts in order to get into power – how on earth would he act if he was in power?

    If he has so little respect for the internal ‘due process’ of the ACT Party that he wants to lead – (before even becoming a member) – how much respect will he have inside Parliament regarding the ‘rule of law’ and ‘doing things in a proper DEMOCRATIC way?

    Perhaps ‘the too-Bra$h Don’ might consider doing away with a number of Parliamentary democratic safeguards – Select Committee processes, for example?

    Goodness knows he won’t get any disagreement from his fellow National Party mates on THAT one – will he – given the number of times Parliament has rushed through legislation under ‘URGENCY’ on ‘shonky’ John Key’s watch?

    Perhaps – to complete the look – ‘the too-Bra$h Don’ should not bother shaving the space between his nose and top lip?

    (Ok Rodders – I AGAIN get the Godwin(?) Award :)

    I ask again -where is the ‘transparency’?

    WHOSE ‘gold’ is behind this attempted hostile takeover by ‘the too-Bra$h Don’ who STILL(?) isn’t even a member of ACT?

    Has ‘the too-Bra$h Don’ actually yet resigned from the National Party?

    (Small, technical but probably still rather relevant point, regarding the ‘due process’ bit? )

    Oh dear – poor ‘shonky’ John Key must be tearing his hair out as he gets reports of this unfolding political ‘pigs’ breakfast’.
    Guess he’ll just look more strained and haggard as he keeps forcing those fake, phony smiles?

    (My analysis – posted after I had raised a number of these points on talkback very early this morning…………….)

    National KNOW they will not get the numbers to govern alone (the Botany by-election results, in my considered opinion, helped to confirm that asset sales are NOT popular with the NZ voting public, including (former?) National Party supporters).

    They need coalition allies – they believe that ACT in it’s current form cannot retain Epsom with Rodney Hide as Leader, nor make the 5% party vote threshold.

    So – in the true form of corporate ‘democracy’ – according to the ‘golden rule’ – ie: ‘those who have the gold make the rules’ – Brash ‘I’ve got the ca$h’ – without even being a member of the ACT Party – is saying ‘pick me – pick me as Leader – or I’ll start a new party’.

    (Not that there is much difference between National and ACT when both their personnel and policies are effectively so interchangeable? )

    All tends to prove my view that under NZ ‘democracy’ we get the government that the majority of big business want us to have, through corporate media manipulation(and anonymous political donations)?

    However – I predict that because of the bullying, ‘stumble-bum’ way that Don Brash has gone about this ham-fisted National Party ‘takeover’ of ACT – he will have put off a LOT of people.

    The spectre of a blatantly pro-corporate National /ACT coalition with John Key and Don Brash at the helm, wielding more pro-Rogernomic$/ anti-people policies should have the effect of driving voters towards those parties which have stated positions opposing such policies.

    ‘Shonky’ John Key’s not-quite-so masterful spin-doctored packaging is slipping……….

    Arguably this ‘right-wing’ in-fighting is actually over HOW this pro-corporate National takeover of ACT is being done?

    Takeover ACT vs start another right wing political party?

    The aim is the same – National will NOT get the numbers to govern alone – so will need political coalition allies.

    Breathe life into the ACT corpse or pump hot air into a new ‘hollow’ party?

    Surely even being seen to have followed ACT’s ‘due process’ would have been a better look than wanting to take over a party you’re not even a member of?

    Duh?

    Doing it this way – ‘The Don’ may have achieved the aim of making Rodney Hide seem intransigent, and been a method of publicly ‘testing the water’ to check out public support for such a move – but I predict it may well backfire – because it is arguably seen as SO arrogant and ‘undemocratic’?

    We shall see…………

    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

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  25. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    smttc said

    I have say that I think Rodney Hide looks ridiculous running the “It’s not appropriate for me to respond. He isn’t even a member.” line. Of course he isn’t a member and will not bother applying unless ACT send him the right signals.

    I couldn’t disagree more. Act entered into discussions with Brash with a view to giving him a high list placing. Hide maintains that he even offered to pay for Brash’s Act membership. I would have thought that the least that Brash could have done if he was sincere in his discussions was to join the party as a gesture of good faith.

    I’m about to join a local club. I was previously involved in a similar club in a leadership role. If I went to these guys and said “Sure, I’ll join your club, but only if you make me President” they’d laugh me down the road, and rightly so.

    If anyone has come out of this looking ridiculous, it’s Don Brash.

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  26. jaba (2,142 comments) says:

    on the way to work, I annel surfed on the radio and must have locked onto a PI/Maori channel and the presenter was interviewing Winny .. good grief. She never asked him one single difficult question and in fact I thought she must have been his mother. H sounded like he was still in bed over hung over .. maybe both.
    Same old bullshit and the Act implosion is his opening. He slagged off Rodney in a way I didn’t think he would do (UTU) got stuck into the Nats big time regarding selling assets to overseas parties .. even brought up the pay rise the Westpac Boss in NZ recieved in the tax cut.
    If this prick gets in then god help us all .. and it is a possibilty.

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  27. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    if Brash’s platform is “choice in education” then he stupid trying to buy into Act’s Epsom heartland. Epsom people will be anti-choice because they get a premium on their house price for being in the grammar(s) zone. They will lose out monetarily if anyone can get into Auckland Grammar/Epsom Girls Grammar.

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  28. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    “No doubt the Nat’s will be pleased.”

    As will some ACT members. If Don had of joined ACT it would not be long before he was encouraged to challenge for leadership.
    I quite likely would have voted for him no one on the list if members had have been asked like they have in the past.

    I think New Zealand could have been in trouble if he had of been Prime Minister. I am certainly no fan of Winston but to be fair i think he did a reasonable job as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I think Rodney could fulfill that role as well. I hate to think the damage Brash could do in that role if his ultimatum is an example of negoiating style.

    If he leads ACT or another party he will have to negotiate with National. Take it or leave it is not negotiating.

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  29. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Brash’s biggest mistake is being convinced he must lead a party. He would be a valuable financial back room boffin in a party, but leader he ain’t. Good leaders lead, he just tries to brash down any opposition to his ambitions.

    I don’t want to label him a dictator, but he does seem to want to dictate things on only his own terms.

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  30. Gahi (11 comments) says:

    Agree that Brash’s brand has been damaged by this bumbling attempt to take over ACT. Going public like this was silly. As Sun Tzu apparently said, “it is in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won.”

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  31. jaba (2,142 comments) says:

    Bomber on Tumeke has some positive ideas for Don .. no2 would be an issue though

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  32. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Yeah that Peter Dunne must be close to retirement. How old he is he again. 93? I think you’ll find he’s only just pushing 60.

    “Differentiate the new party from ACT by saying the party will be primarily focused on just two areas – economic reform and choice in education.”

    Surely health is a more pressing concern to address given the upside down age pyramid, as opposed to a radical overhaul of education which is not necessarily indicated for.

    My seven year old asked me what cluster fucked meant recently. Hes getting a good education somewhere. Best not to shut these kind of questions down so I explained quickly it meant really really f’d and could he please never say it again. Anyone got a better explanation for next time?

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  33. Paulus (2,631 comments) says:

    I will give my party to vote to Brash if he stands in a new party, and I believe I am not alone.

    Previously I gave this vote to ACT.

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  34. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Clusterfuck
    Military term for an operation in which multiple things have gone wrong.

    Today, however, “clusterfuck” is commonly used to descriptively generalize any situation with a large scale of disarray.

    A combination of things going extremely wrong in a short period of time within the same general activity — caused by stupidity and/or ineptitude.

    A polite term using the same initials would be compound fiasco.

    (urbandictionary)

    Not sure how to convert that to seven year old language. Do they have repeats of Mr Magoo on TV? Each episode was a cartoon clusterfuck.

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  35. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    When/if Don starts a new party I have the feeling it will be a “DON-FIRST” party.

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  36. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    He could do so much good for the country, but he’s such a disaster as a politician…
    Don Brash seriously needs to out-source all of his political campaigning to some third-party consultant who can do it properly.

    (He should hire Winston. That way, Don gets to learn from a real old pro, and Winston doesn’t have time to run his party. Everyone wins.)

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  37. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @ Pete George re CF. Thanks for the explanation, that’s beautiful.

    After Saturday we will know whether ACT is FUBAR. Mind you, given the events over the past year that’d be SNAFU.

    And hopefully decades will pass b4 the offspring work out what that means.

    For me the salient detail is that Brash and Hide have a 15 year friendship behind them. You don’t often get into destructive ego battles with longtime friends unless a women/man or ingrained moral value comes between people. You’re more likely to get out of stride with those you’ve just met IE Key and Brash. Brash and Hide could both still emerge smelling of roses after a bit of WWF like sparring.

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  38. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    I agree with ACT policies, but I’m not voting for ACT in its’ current state. Didn’t last time, either.

    Without Brash, they are finished.

    It’s obvious to everyone.

    Except ACT, it would seem…

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  39. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Brash is toast politically, and here’s my opinion of why.

    He did a fairly good job of being National Leader. He did very well in spite of his lack of political experience but that lack hamstrung him frequently.

    Thing was with this situation, he created it. He had all the time to go out and get good advice and keep his end tight. Heck, he should have learned half this stuff from his time as leader, digesting his experiences over time after he got rolled..

    But all he’s proven is that he hasn’t learned how to do politics right.

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  40. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    How about that.

    Two pensioners resurrecting their political careers in one election year: Winston and Don. Classic and big ups to them from an age concerns perspective. I wonder if the stench of scandals past will be ameliorated by the hum of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ you can discern on both the far right and loony left of the political spectrum.

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  41. calendar girl (1,241 comments) says:

    [DPF: I am far more willing to compromise than Don - absolutely.]

    Compromising on the organisational mechanics of how one gets things done is one thing. Compromising to the point of not getting anything effective done is something quite different.

    New Zealand’s economic situation is becoming increasingly perilous, and there can be little argument that it has gone backwards under the present National Government that many supported with initial optimism. Part of the drift has been the ineptitude of Clark’s profligate Government that overspent most of the opportunities of the years of plenty. Deterioration has also occurred on the back of the world “credit crunch” recession, which Clark and Cullen ushered in here before the world even knew it had a recession. But National must be held accountable for doing very little in 2.5 years to seriously reverse dangerous, entrenched policy directions. It is now almost inevitable that New Zealand and its economic growth potential will become beholden to international ratings agencies and IMF doctors – our reward for National compromising everything of significance to extend its do-nothing stay on the Treasury benches.

    While there are many individual differences that one can point to, once again we are heading towards the inevitable austerity of New Zealand in the mid-1980s. Tinkering with elements of public policy will not be enough. A long-term cure requires fairly sharp change, coupled with the kind of robust explanations (including the unpalatable alternatives) that Douglas made a hallmark of his time as Finance Minister. Too much “compromise” amongst beltway insiders will not carry the day, it will merely bloat the dead-weight that is our Wellington seat of government.

    Brash is something of a political bungler, as he has demonstrated again over the last week. He has too many historical negatives to make enough people listen. But whoever is going to lead the New Zealand economy away from its flight to 3rd World mediocrity needs to exhibit his kind of impatience and ambition for his/her country. The kind that Douglas exhibited as well in his effective 4 – 5 years as Finance Minister. Compromise on means to the end if necessary, DPF, compromise also on the pace of change (within limited reason), but never compromise on the ultimate direction of policy if New Zealand’s standard of living is to survive. All the clever embellishments that political activists now weave within MMP structures of “compromise” will doom our country to a state of relative (and unnecessary) national penury.

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  42. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    @ Monique – good point; looking on the bright side, Winston’s share of the Grey vote may just have been halved.

    That can only be a good thing :-)

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  43. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Openly threatening to destroy the party if they do not make you sole leader. This not only pisses off ACT party members, but also damages your standing with voters.

    From what I’ve been reading it appears the only person who’s been the most pissed off is you DPF. I would be too if I was a National party cheerleader. Most ACT members have been delighted with the news.

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  44. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Most ACT members have been delighted with the news.

    Really? What news? That Act is Dead Party Baulking at an “offer” of resurrection? That the problems Act faces have been highlighted again? That a new party may pull half the votes Act desperately needs to stay afloat? Or has there been some good news I missed?

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  45. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    Brash is an idiot politician always has been going back to the by election he fought and lost in the early 1980’s. East Coast Bays I think. This very public insurrection, utterly brazen in it’s execution, utterly clumsy in it’s methodology. Brash has one characteristic and he has name recognition, which helps with something. When you think of the political bush fires he got into and the stupid way he handled them says that he is a very high risk candidate indeed. He is an old man in a hurry and is very dangerous to anyone getting in the way.

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  46. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    I don’t see any way this process couldn’t damage the right, and economic liberalism. I actually kind of like Rodney, and I voted from him as leader (long hard thought – I liked Franks more, but couldn’t see him as leader).

    I feel a little like Rodney has worked out poorly:
    – he hasn’t been a leader for the party (albeit he has been the public face)
    – he has held Epsom, and been a good local MP, but that’s not enough
    – he has lost his way on social liberalism
    – he has been weak in the media

    Some of this is due to ACT’s ongoing poor branding and media presence – it happened before Rodney, and he hasn’t changed it. Some of it is weaknesses in Rodney himself.

    The flip side, of the minor party leaders (Winston, Dunne, Anderton, the MP leaders, the Green leaders) I’d have said Rodney was one of the stronger leaders and least dictatorial. But I guess it depends whether you want to be comparing yourself to Anderton and Winston, or to the real parties.

    I think the one weakness Rodney has had is his inability to articulate a clear vision and rally his team around that vision. ACT have felt more piecemeal recently, and less principled. I suspect that’s partly media driven – so they do still have principles and vision, they’re just failing to communicate it. But ultimately without that communication, they cannot be successful.

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  47. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Pete George (9,740) Says:
    April 27th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Most ACT members have been delighted with the news… Really? What news? That Act is Dead Party Baulking at an “offer” of resurrection? That the problems Act faces have been highlighted again? That a new party may pull half the votes Act desperately needs to stay afloat? Or has there been some good news I missed?

    Here’s just a sample from people who (mostly) volunteer for ACT:

    http://www.facebook.com/actoncampus/posts/220597237957289

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  48. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Is this the news that’s making everyone act happy? Hide on brink of resigning ACT leadership

    “3 News understands that Brash insiders, as of this lunchtime, are in the process of convincing Hide-supporter John Boscawen to change allegiance, meaning that Mr Hide would no longer hold majority support in the party.”

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  49. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Indeed Pete; Brash’s insiders are now leaning on Boscawen. It doesn’t strike me as the kind of tactic that Brash would either use and endorse, and I am increasingly wondering whether he is going to be nothing more than a mouthpiece, with the real source of power being somewhat less transparent.

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  50. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Who is Chris Simmons anyway does anyone have any information on him. I’ve never heard of him in ACT circles before. Then again I haven’t really been actively involved for quite a while. Whatever happened to Michael Crozier.

    Yes Pete – I’m looking forward to a party that has over 1% of votes.

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  51. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    I predict a huge chunk of Act’s membership will now defect, in addition to those who have left already.

    Well really. Where the hell are they going to vote then.

    Labour lite, Labour, NZ First, Mana, Greens, Maori, et al.

    You are joking.
    Act’s problem is just as PaulL syays.
    Uninspiring communications.

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  52. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Viking2 (3,880) Says:
    April 27th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I predict a huge chunk of Act’s membership will now defect, in addition to those who have left already.

    I predict a huge chunk of net increase once Don Brash takes over.

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  53. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    Who says the voters want Brash or dont want to vote for Rodney
    Seems to be about the politicians not the aspirations of the voters.
    Too many times have the wishes of the people have been overidden by those who know best.
    A populist leader is what may be required.

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  54. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    Prediction.1.13 pm 27/4/11
    1. Rodney Hide resigns as ACT leader. John Boscowan holds the reins.
    2. Rodney Hide resigns as MP
    3 By election held in Epsom in a few weeks and Don Brash stands virtually unopposed.
    4. Don Brash wins Epsom and becomes ACT leader in Parliament before mid June.
    5 Rodney Hide seen to be honourable and putting best interest of ACT ahead of self.

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  55. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Any chance Boscawen could come from the inside to take the leadership role?

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  56. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Fisiani: far more likely (given the fact that Key has said Rodney would retain his portfolios if he was no longer leader)

    1. Rodney resigns as leader, but remains as an MP – at least for now – and retains his portfolios

    2. Boscawen becomes interim leader

    3. Brash joins the party (the Board could block him from even joining, but that would be pointless) and challenges for the leadership.

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  57. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    The Greens had a co-leader outside Parliament for a while in Russel Norman. That never worked for him. Rodney forcing a by election allows Brash to lead from within Parliament within weeks and lets Rodney hold his head high. Any other situation has him in Parliament, still a Minister but dead man walking. John Key saying he would still have Rodney as a Minister does not change any of this.

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  58. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    The very fact that Key has said so publicly is very significant, and is not just a co-incidence.

    The scenario I predict (I have absolutley no inside knowledge) allows time for everyone to catch their breaths and for there to be at least the appearance of an orderly transfer from the ancien regime to a new…whatever that might be…

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  59. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    A by-election this close to the main election? Wouldn’t that smack of self interest, wasting taxpayer money so as to engineer a political outcome? If the Greens did it I’d be very against it. Why would I be in favour of it for ACT?

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  60. Radman (143 comments) says:

    Why would I be in favour of it for ACT?

    Because it’s Don Brash. Haven’t you figured that out? The Act Party rules don’t matter for him, and by-elections won’t either.

    Whatever Don wants, Don gets.

    It’s Don Brash.

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  61. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    at least the appearance of an orderly transfer

    I wonder why the heck they didn’t think of trying that in the first place. They might be able to tidy it up but some damage has already been done. I wonder if plan A was actually a plan or if Brash just blundered into it.

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  62. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    As noted or alluded to in the related threads the Reform Party cannot be ready now else Don Brash would not need ACT.

    Could anyone start a party and mobilise it sufficiently well to seriously contest a general election within 7 months? If ACT refuse him, what genuine, effective and credible alternative does Don Brash have? [remembering 7 months]

    So if he is holding a gun to ACT’s head, as is a repeated theme of the past couple of days, is the gun actually loaded?

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  63. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    I quite agree…No need for a by election…Rodders effectively says “you think you will be a better leader, go to it”, but stays doing what everyone says he is very good at, being MP for Epsom. And guiding JB – and Brash if he isnt too pig headed to take advice from a master politician – while they all sort out whose going to do what where.

    Everyone comes out of it with some dignity.

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  64. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Radman: Brash has absolutley no say in whether there is a by election or not…that is entirely Rodney’s decision…

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  65. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Radman said

    Whatever Don wants, Don gets.

    It’s Don Brash.

    Are you sure that you’re not getting him confused with Don Corleone?

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  66. Radman (143 comments) says:

    David, Don will demand it. That’s what it appears he is good at!

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  67. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    Actually, much as I like everything that Don Brash has said in the past, I am beginning to question his wisdom in this…. surely he has approachedd this in a rather hamfisted way, no? I can’t really see any win-win outcome for Brash from this. If he gets into ACT then he will look like a mafioso….. and if he starts his own party then he will look like a FAILED mafioso, which is much worse. What is he thinking here?

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  68. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Brash will undoubtedly target both Calvert and Boscawen. Calvert could be tempted by a higher list position. Boscawen could still switch again. That Boscawen and Calvert have the future of the party in their hands will be high pressure.

    I think what this really goes to show is that Calvert has been ineffective as an MP (what exactly has she done since entering Parliament) and that is clearly why she is backing Rodney – because she knows people like Brash and the high-profile people he’d bring in are way out of her league.

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  69. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Courage: Bit unfair on Hilary there…just what would you have expected of her in six months?

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  70. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    At the end of the day Hide has no-one to blame but himself. Yes, it is the toughest job ever trying to balance up responsibilities whilst somehow trying to gain support for the party – but it’s like dating a hot chick. If you don’t keep your game up and maintain her interest some other higher-value bad-boy is going to sweep her off her feet and take her away from you.

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  71. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    David Garrett (238) Says:
    April 27th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Courage: Bit unfair on Hilary there…just what would you have expected of her in six months?

    Fair point David but I didn’t see a single press release from her. I remember the days when I would receive an e-mail once every two or three days from people like Muriel Newman and Deborah Coddington with their views on some current event, always trying to get in the news. I’m just not quite sure what Hilary has been up to besides going to Parliament and voting. If you have more information I am more than happy to be proved wrong as I’d like to think ACT MPs do a lot of work.

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  72. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    How much higher can Hilary Calvert go on the list? There are only four spaces above her …

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  73. Radman (143 comments) says:

    I think it’s fair to say if Brash is leader there will be many people above Calvert on the list! Banks will be #2 and then the social conservatives will rejoice!

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  74. Vinick (216 comments) says:

    Courage Wolf:
    “I didn’t see a single press release from her.”

    It took me all of three clicks to find Calvert’s press releases. So hard.

    http://act.org.nz/news/Hilary%20Calvert%20MP

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  75. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Demanding the sole leadership, not even co-leadership, while not even a member of the party. This makes it look like you see the party as purely a vehicle for your ambitions.

    What do you mean, “looks like”. That’s exact;y what it is.

    You need rules on who selects candidates, who elects the board, who elects the leader etc.

    Who elects the leader? Why anyone whose names starts with “B” and ends in “rash” of course. That’s what it’s all about, after all… it’s hardy likely to be a democratic vehicle when its sole reason for being is to grant Don what Act are too savvy to (even when the alternative ain’t too flash, which shoiuld be telling Don something) and National did but quickly realised their error.

    Winston got away with forming a vanity vehicle because he was charismatic and because he was sufficiently flexible to permit those who supported him to craft something they wanted… he had few deal breakers and didn’t much care as long as he was Leader-for-Life. Don is neither, so his vanity will see his party ignored as it has everyone from Ross Meurant to Graham Capill.

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  76. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    There is now a leadership vote this afternoon and the Herald is reporting Boscawen is going to vote Brash.

    Looks like Don will be leading the ACT party in time for the 6pm news tonight.

    David Garrett – if you were still an ACT MP who would you be supporting?

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  77. georgebolwing (869 comments) says:

    My take of this is based on the following:

    a) ACT is in terminal decline. It’s current leader is toxic to the classical liberals who once voted for ACT.

    b) there are many people capable of winning Epsom, Rodney Hide is not one of them. Provided National put up a candidate who is not a complete joke, Rodney will be defeated.

    c) ACT could win Epsom with a “real” ACT candidate; classical liberal who offers the prospect of sensible policies without the bluster: think Steven Franks, Graham Scott or, indeed, Don Brash.

    d) Don Brash is not your typical politician. That’s his point. Typical politicians have fucked New Zealand and no typical politician is going to unfuck it. Here is is actually behaving a lot like John Key, who has also made a virtue out of not being a typical politician. In the case of the PM, his brand is to be up front, promise not to do a lot of things and then repeatedly not do them, while slowly chipping away at very marginal improvements in policy settings. While demonstrably successful his approach does not appeal to the sort of people to whom Don Brash’s policies do.

    e) Behaving like a typical politician and organizing a back-room deal is not how Don Brash operates. To do so would mean he is acting like a typical politician: see point d).

    So, DFP is absolutely right that Don has not acted like a typical politician. I take this to be a deliberately strategy on Dr Brash’s part and I think it will lead to him being successful in leading a classical liberal party (either called ACT or something else) into the next election and securing enough votes to have an influence on policy, albeit probably a small influence.

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  78. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    c) ACT could win Epsom with a “real” ACT candidate; classical liberal who offers the prospect of sensible policies without the bluster: think Steven Franks, Graham Scott

    Living in la la land there I see?

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  79. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    @ YesWeDid – not so, according to the latest Herald story (timestamped 2.45pm)

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  80. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    “Banks will be #2 and then the social conservatives will rejoice!”

    I am a social conservative. Rodney is a liberal but I am not rejoicing. Brash’s tactics are wrong.

    If he was half a smart as he thinks he is he would have joined ACT a year ago and would be number 1 on the list.

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  81. Radman (143 comments) says:

    Looks like Don will be leading the ACT party in time for the 6pm news tonight.

    How can this be when he is not even a member!

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  82. Vinick (216 comments) says:

    John Banks to be the Epsom candidate for Act?!

    John Banks who said the following about homosexual law reform:

    “I thank those people who had an overwhelming objection to the Bill who were motivated by its evil and their concern for the country”

    “This day will be remembered as a sad and sickening day for New Zealand”

    “those members who wheel themselves through the doors of the Ayes lobby to vote for legalised sodomy at the age of 16 should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves”

    “Members heard at the Committee stage that homosexuals cannot change – once a homosexual always a homosexual. There is no evidence to support that view. It is similar to the Victorian view that once one was an alcoholic one was always an alcoholic.”

    “Members were told that a person should be able to do what he or she wants in the privacy of his or her bedroom. That is untrue. Taken to an extreme, if that was so, how would society protect itself from incest in the privacy of the bedroom, from child abuse in the privacy of the bedroom”

    “I am prepared to take a stand on behalf of 835,000 New Zealanders who said no”

    “835,000 New Zealanders said that Parliament should not legitimise the act of sodomy at any age”

    I’d love to hear what some Act on Campus members think of that rhetoric.

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  83. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    Radman. I agree. What this will do is make BOTH ACT and Brash look bad, in my opinion. This is as an outsider looking at the charade. Sure it will attract supporters of Brash to ACT, but surely ACT is more than that.

    How does it make them both look bad? It makes Brash look like a bully, like the Don Corleone that so many are joking about. He is saying he is the way and the light. (Pun intended)

    ACT? It makes the Board look weak and kowtowing to pressure, and thus to subvert their rules, their processes.

    And so the whole process looks more like a hostile corporate takeover than a democratic process. In fact there is no democracy in the process. I think that many people will find the way it has been done distasteful. Sure some will enjoy it, but more won’t.

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  84. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    David in Chch: have a look at my prediction above @1.26….if it plays out that way, with a dignifed exit strategy for Rodney, and Don following process from this point, the irregularities to which you refer (which certainly applies right at this moment) will be forgotten in a week or two..

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  85. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    The way it is being reported doesn’t sound like your plan at all, but rather The Don getting his way. I still think it is something that could come back to bite The Don in The Bum.

    And imagine the minor parties’ leaders’ debates, as someone has mentioned before. Oh my! One of the co-leaders of the Greens, the Maori Party, Hone for the Hone Party, Winston for the Winston Party, The Don for the Don Party, Peter Dunne for the Dunne (in) Party, … It could be entertaining but I doubt it will be edifying or useful.

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  86. the bird is the word (67 comments) says:

    “It could be entertaining but I doubt it will be edifying or useful.”

    It would be useful. Many undecided voters may choose one of these to vote for based on the entertainment!

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  87. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    I disagree with DPF and many of those commenting here. Brash knows exactly what he is doing, and he is doing it this way for a reason. He means to get rid of Rodney Hide, while saving himself the bother of building an organization from scratch. No other modus operandi suggested would stand a chance of succeeding in that objective. He had to go public, and he had to do it with a stick rather than a carrot. Prenegotiations would see Hide sticking around as a co-leader, deputy leader, or just a pain in the arse. Forming your own party straight off would have been seen as even more disrespectful to ACT than he is being now, and even if ACT did come crawling to him six weeks out, it would be to retain Hide and the other MPs, by which time it would be too late. The risky mess of two classical liberal parties would have been even higher than it is under this scenario.

    No, Brash had to do it this way – it is the best of all possibilities for achieving his objectives. He is smarter than you. ;)

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  88. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Brash had to do it this way – it is the best of all possibilities for achieving his objectives.

    He didn’t have to, he chose to. I don’t think he just woke up on Good Friday and decided to politically crucify Rodney Hide, presumably it was a calculated gamble by the murky men with money.

    It will only be “the best of all possibilities” if it all works – if he takes over the party and the party survives the election with at least him in parliament (but he will need more than one co-MP).

    How the pollstees and the voters react is a huge unknown. I don’t agree that the manner in which this was done will be forgotten in a couple weeks. Brash has political history and this adds to people’s perception of him.

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  89. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    Someone who expects connections between peoples behaviour and their ambitions might wonder what sort of economic reform a political tone deaf thug who makes unilateral demands of others regardless of all public probity wants.

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  90. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    He didn’t have to, he chose to.

    You’re not wrong there!

    It will only be “the best of all possibilities” if it all works…

    Again, you are not wrong. But Brash is in a position where he has absolutely nothing to lose. At worst he will go back to his Directorships and look like a bit of a dick. At best, he will clean up, sweep in to parliament with a good sized gang in tow, and maybe hold the balance of power. Why the hell not? It’s entertaining to watch in any event!

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  91. pq (728 comments) says:

    One of the reasons ACT had major fall off in membership over the last decade was its tendency to
    ignore its members and direct from the top.

    This policy saw the change away from an idealistic party representing individual responsibility and power, and choice.

    When Prebble left the party he organised a truly democratic transfer, and I was proud of him.
    Rodney won that transfer of leadership, voted for by members, but somehow ACT just became an unpopular populist party, and members like me drifted away.

    Farrar’s analysis above is clean and tidy like most of his work ; but his earlier proposition that the right would continue to disfigure itself should not now happen.

    It is a sad fact that Brash, and Douglas and even Hide himself draw utter derision and sometimes visceral hatred from many New Zealanders. Most of these New Zealanders are isolated here in NZ, and have no idea how far we have slipped down the scale.

    Maybe they will see the crusty old Brash firing off blanks in a better light, a more macho Brash, a more Muldoon
    Brash. The fact that Brash could arrange this seige with no ammo is pretty John Wayne.

    And remember it was Buscowan who nurtured the ACt party coffers and knew the absolute necessity of funds.

    Naturally Buscowan will become no 2 in ACT, and a major publicist for party.

    But remember it was people like Rodney who joined the party at the front and worked through the ranks and rose to the top.

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  92. trout (939 comments) says:

    So much for all the analysis; it looks as though ‘smash and grab’ will win out (with financial backing). Odds on that Rodney will resign. In a theoretical world DPF’s scenario may be logical but it is a bit like the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the swashbuckler attacks Harrison Ford with impressive sword handling and gets shot with a pistol. Rodney’s fancy political manoeuvring and criticism of Brash’s non-membership is flim flam; the Act ship is sinking with Rodders at the helm, a situation that is unacceptable to Act’s backers. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/news-cartoons/news/article.cfm?c_id=500814&objectid=10721670)

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  93. David in Chch (519 comments) says:

    You raise an interesting perspective, pq. Does that not mean that ACT becomes even more of a top-down “party” led in all aspects by Brash? Would that not then suggest that the “party” part of ACT will continue to disintegrate because people like you will continue to be ignored?

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  94. georgebolwing (869 comments) says:

    pq

    If memory serves, Rodney was employed by Allan Gibbs at the time of ACT’s founding and was installed as its first president by its backers as someone who would do as he was told and run the party the way its backers wanted it to be run.

    At some point he got delusions of grandeur and decided to move from apparatchik to politician, got himself on the list, became the “perkbuster” and at this point lost much of his credibility as a serious policy wonk, becoming a populist happy to pander to the petty prejudices of the disaffected. And then there was the whole dancing, yellow jacket, overseas trip train wreck.

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  95. pq (728 comments) says:

    refer above
    georgebolwing (288) Says: April 27th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, I just received phone call agreeing with your synopsis above,
    I probably just wanted to believe that the ordinary bloke would have a shot, and
    you know here was this son of the truck driver,

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  96. pq (728 comments) says:

    readers please refer above
    georgebolwing (288) Says: April 27th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, I just received phone call agreeing with your synopsis above,
    I probably just wanted to believe that the ordinary bloke would have a shot, and
    you know here was this son of the truck driver,

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  97. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Hang on….. if its been reported correctly (and I accept that is a massive assumption to make where the mainstream media is concerned), then ACT approached Brash and offered him the co-leadership with Rodney Hide in the first place and Brash said along the lines “No thank you – I want the top role by myself or nothing.”

    If membership of ACT wasn’t a prerequisite for co-leadership when Brash was offered the role, then why should it be such a big deal now that Brash has make a play for the top job?

    If ACT is serious about getting its house in order and providing National with a viable coalition partner at the end of the year, then they all need to take a deep breath, stop the posturing and ask themselves what would be best for the Party and best for a second term centre/right Government. The obvious solution would be to have Rodney step down (maintaining his ministerial portfolio); Brash to move into the leadership role; Banks to stand in Epsom and guess what – suddenly ACT is a credible option for voters again (because they’re not at the moment).

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  98. GBB (2 comments) says:

    Is anyone watching ipredict? All stocks involving Don Brash to lead ACT have just shot up. Anyone know the inside knowledge?

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  99. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    suddenly ACT is a credible option for voters again

    Time will tell whether the Mr Magoo Mafia side of it get’s forgotton. The whole thing has a comical look.

    Another wierd aspect – Hide sets up the Supercity for Banks who fails to become super mayor so he looks at biffing Hide out of Epsom so he can become MP and help take over Hide’s party. According to rumours.

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  100. trout (939 comments) says:

    Hide has told reporters that it has been a priviledge to represent Epsom, and lead Act. He says his future leadership is in the hands of caucus. (A valedictory if you ask me) Brash met with Calvert and Douglas today; if Calvert votes for change then Hide is a goneburger. The Act Board is not going to overturn a majority decision by caucus. If I were betting I would bet on Hide resigning before the end of next week.

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  101. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    Why go to all this trouble to take over a party as a vehicle for Dr Brash to push his worthwhile views & then send the whole lot down the shitter by including Banks in the mix. The pompous twit couldn’t even hold on to the mayoralty of Auckland & now he is up for recycling into a wonder boy for Act/Reform.

    The bottom of the barrel has been reached & drilling has started.

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  102. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Pete G: I have no inside knowledge…but that rumour sounds as credible as the “Sensible Sentencing gave ACT [insert suitably ridiculous sum] in return for Garrett being given the number five slot”…you have no idea how we all used to laugh in the caucus room at the various rumours which were utterly without foundation …the ones from “very reliable sources” were usually the best….

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  103. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    I don’t see how Brash is an answer to any of ACT’s woes.

    I like Rodney, I think he’s a good guy who’s been let down by a couple of errors and a media that hold ACT to a very different standard than every other minor party. I wish he’d been a bit more principled and a bit less populist, but we need to also recall that for the last couple terms everyone has suggested that ACT cannot get back in, and both times they have – Rodney did that. He judged that any publicity is good publicity, and given the result, was he wrong? Question is whether he can take ACT anywhere in future, given that history.

    Brash, however, is not the answer. He gives the media a chance to say “see, I told you he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He has no better political skills (arguably worse). He won’t get more media coverage. I don’t think he’ll increase the ACT share of the vote. He doesn’t fix the leadership succession problem, he isn’t someone that will help National out at all (he’ll be demonised by the opposition – “Mr Key, will you put Don Brash in your cabinet? Will he be finance minister?”). I don’t think he can articulate ACT’s policies any better than Rodney did, and he’s only a short term choice – he’s a one term wonder.

    No, if ACT is going to change, they need to change to someone who represents the future. Unfortunately, the only person I can see who fits the bill would be Stephen Franks. He has issues, but I reckon he’s at least the equal of Don Brash on most measures, and ahead on a few (in particular, future potential and ability to build a team).

    Is Boscawan being promised the leadership after Brash? If not, who is? He’s clearly not going to be there for a second.

    At the moment this feels like a continuation of politics by other means…..those in ACT who were already gunning for Rodney now have a new poster boy to do it. I doubt the numbers in favour or against have changed dramatically, it’s basically a war of attrition, and if you keep coming at someone with leadership challenges, sooner or later he’ll fall. He has to win every time, you only have to win once…..

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  104. CharlieBrown (1,014 comments) says:

    “I would like National to be more economically reformist. I doubt I disagree with Don Brash on many significant economic issues. However I do believe you have to take the electorate with you – otherwise you get thrown out and all your reforms get reversed. It is only by getting re-elected for multiple terms can your reforms become too entrenched to reverse”

    Why do john key supporters constantly say that when the fact is there is no evidence to support this. Consider the reforms of the 80’s… they are still in place. Consider the shit reforms of Comrade clark…. John Key hasn’t the balls to undo these either. If National had made some significant reforms as soon as they were elected and popular, they could have taken NZ a giant step in the right direction (politically and literally) that subsequent governments would never have been able to undo very fast. I would rather have a government that takes a huge step right within only 2 terms that is hard to reverse than a government that takes a few tiny steps to the right over three terms that goes on to have them all reversed.

    John Key squandered the chance to make any significant change as the only chance to do that is during the first term when the opposition is a shambles and is unpopular. Now, during the next term, Labour is going to consolidate and rebuild itself, and build a platform against Nationals tiny footsteps to the right. You take your chance when your enemy is at its weakest, and John Key failed to do that.

    Rather than thinking that John Key was elected, think of it as Helen Clark being de-elected. National could have run a dog as leader and got elected at the last election.

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  105. pq (728 comments) says:

    to PaulL.

    I like what you say;
    you want a good future for New Zealand and so do I.
    This year we will elect a NZ NAT government, and we must hold it to account, I will hold it to account,
    I don’t like us being a poor country, and I am going to do what I can.

    Don Brash is not a politician, but he will hold Key to account,
    be prepared for your country to be better ,

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  106. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    …the ones from “very reliable sources” were usually the best….

    That’s funny, Espiner just said that a “high up Act source” indicated Calvert is going to back Brash. Maybe that’s more than a rumour, but there’s been a few like that flying around today.

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  107. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    The ‘Don’ knows EXACTLY what he’s doing. Whats more (and I haven’t seen it mentioned yet), he’s getting publicity no amount of money could buy. Brilliant!

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  108. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Of course by “the best” I meant the least reliable…but seeing Hiliary on TV just now she looked pretty much under Roger’s guidance to me…

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  109. pq (728 comments) says:

    Brash will change New Zealand for the better

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  110. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Say what you like about Don Brash’s challenge for the leadership of ACT but it sure has made David Garrett the most popular man on Kiwiblog today. :)

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  111. Courage Wolf (557 comments) says:

    Haha, interesting to see on the news that Brash lives at those apartments on Symonds Street. I thought he was at the Waterfront.

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  112. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Unless Brash gets 10 or more MP’s he will do no better – and probably worse – than ACT under Hide has done. You can only play the hand you get dealt, and Rodney has played his cards better than could have been expected…

    Johnboy: you must be reading something I am not…

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  113. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    All your comments?

    More than you ever said when you were in the asylum. :)

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  114. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    I would like National to be more economically reformist. I doubt I disagree with Don Brash on many significant economic issues. However I do believe you have to take the electorate with you – otherwise you get thrown out and all your reforms get reversed. It is only by getting re-elected for multiple terms can your reforms become too entrenched to reverse.

    Yes as Charlie observes above the real issue here and why Brash is doing this in the first place, is because National under Key have accepted the status quo. They make no effort to shift the centre of political thought in the correct direction, instead they tacitly accept Hulun’s social engineering which has achieved so much, has been spoken of so little and was done by so few.

    This is the worst and most pressing problem in NZ politics. It prevents us from getting rational policies in almost every area. You name it, commerce, property development, exporting, mineral exploitation, environmental management etc etc etc etc etc etc etc. Every single thing is tainted by lefty tint, the “new normal” which people who don’t study politics: i.e. your average voter, don’t even notice as being bizarre. With the consequent outcome that even a mildly “conservative” policy is perceived by most as being “far right.”

    Tell me this isn’t happening. Tell me you haven’t noticed this yourself.

    Key is an instinctive politician which means he doesn’t have a strategy more like a style and his style is to be popular. That to him, is political success. It’s too bad for us that he hasn’t yet realised that actually, he is there to serve us, not him, and unless and until he has that epiphany, we are basically screwed.

    The fact Brash is going out on a limb like this taking the huge risk he is taking, shows people like him understand how serious the situation is. And as you say DPF, there is very little economically, you disagree with him on. Well you know as well as I do, that its the economic aspects of the standard conservative model which suffer most, when this phenomena inhabits a nation. And what chance do we have of doing anything worthwhile, until Key starts defining political success as he should have done from the very beginning of his political life.

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  115. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Johnboy: I have just had a curious call berating me for “backing Brash and Roy”…I was trying my level best to dispassionately analyse the situation as I see it, not “backing” anyone…

    So I will say what I said on the radio: both of them have great skills to bring to ACT, and it’s a great pity they havent been able to work together…but just as Rodney had to play the hand (5 MP’s) he got dealt, those of us thinking what is best for the party and the country must face the reality that if he loses, Brash is going to form another party…with all the chaos that entails…

    And yes, I believe him…I dont think he has the guile to lie convincingly…

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  116. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Brash seems to think he’s got it, and he wants Hide out completely by what he was saying on Campbell.
    He was even referring to “we in the party” when referring to himself and Act.

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  117. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    A very good post, David.
    I particularly like your suggestion that Don’s party (whether it be ACT or another one) focus on just the two areas of economic reform and choice of education.
    I’d add in “**quality** of education” there as well, for what it’s worth. The results of our tenth-rate education system are glaringly obvious. About a quarter of all students still have difficulty with reading (and this has been almost unchanged in the last thirty or so years!). That is unforgivable. Don Buck Primary School in Auckland has shown the way for many years, with a phonics-based reading system which has given outstanding results (in spite of the school having many students for whom English is not their first language).
    Anyway, rant over……. :)

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  118. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Well if Hide is prepared to stay, and Brash has rejected that offer, then he’s a fool who DOESNT have the best interests of the country at heart…just as Key was a fool not to offer Brash something meaningful…

    Rodney is a better politician than any of you here know (unless there are other former ACT MP’s here using pseuds)…and Brash could learn a lot from him

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  119. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Brash seems very optimistic of getting “much more” than 5% party vote, but said he will know more next week when he gets the result of the poll he commissioned. Why the heck didn’t he wait for that?

    The polling he has requested asks three questions of those who voted Nat/Act last election, who they would most likely vote for between:
    – a Hide led Act
    – a Brash led Act
    – a Brash led new party

    He said if that tells him he has no show he will have egg on his face. That bit at least he got right.

    David G, I know that Hide is a far better politician than Brash will ever be. I think Hide’s biggest problem this term is he iss spread across too many jobs.

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  120. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Don’t get me wrong David. I am merely congratulating you for becoming a force to be reckoned with in politics again and someone who’s political opinions are being sought again, at least on kiwiblog that is. :)

    ps: Are you thinking of making a takeover bid for Rex’s position here as ex-fringe party insider? :)

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  121. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    PG: yeah, I heard that…he will go back to pruning Kiwifruit …apparently..

    Johnboy: Rex and I will have to talk about that after the honeymoon…we have been getting on pretty well lately…but correct me if I’m wrong, but Rex never actually took the oath of allegiance did he?

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  122. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    What ever you and Rex do David on your honeymoon is fine by me but don’t have a cigarette later in case Peter Williams is watching. :)

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  123. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    I know that Hide is a far better politician than Brash will ever be.

    People are heartily sick of career politicians. The fact that Brash is not one, and is ‘naive’ according to some will be a vote in his favour with the general public.

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  124. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    The polling he has requested asks three questions… who they would most likely vote for between:
    – a Hide led Act
    – a Brash led Act
    – a Brash led new party

    He said if that tells him he has no show he will have egg on his face. That bit at least he got right.

    Game is not even started let alone over yet Pete. It’s a very high risk strategy, so the wise thing to do is, given he’s not a fool, is why would he, a 70-year-old, put so much of himself on the line, were it not important?

    So just what do you think is that “important” thing?

    Yes, of course it’s the economy.

    But it must be really bad, with no prospect of improvement in sight, for him to do this, right?

    And who would be better placed to judge just how really bad our prospects would be under Key for the next three years, if he didn’t do this?

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  125. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    “Rodney is a better politician than any of you here know (unless there are other former ACT MP’s here using pseuds)…and Brash could learn a lot from him”

    I respect your loyalty, even more so given Winston Hide was the one who cut your throat and caved into the pinko’s demands.
    However, I take issue with your claim that Winston Hide is a good pollie, he might be good (or great even) at getting the baubles of office but he is rubbish at holding this government to task for the damage they have done to our economy.

    The truth is David (or what is seems from the outside) is that Neville Key has played Winston Hide for a fool, he purchased his silence with a ministerial credit card, a BMW and a few other perks, the rest of the MP’s (you included) where left to fend for yourself.

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  126. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    And don’t forget that Neville has conveniently got Rodders to cop the blame for the fuck up that is Super City while he is off swanning it with Queenie and Cameron.

    I can see how he made a pile as a manipulator of money/egos. :)

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  127. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    reid, it makes the upcoming budget even more interesting.

    Brash said his main focus is the economy plus race issues. It will certainly inject more life into the election. Labour might find they take a back seat to much of the action.

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  128. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    Yeah it has changed the news cycle Pete and that’s a shame. However this is a critical issue, would you agree?

    I don’t actually think Don cares about race, I think he cares about equity. I think that’s always been pretty obvious, from what he said at Orewa onward. The fact people have misinterpreted it since then, doesn’t make their opinion so.

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  129. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    “Rodney is a better politician than any of you here know (unless there are other former ACT MP’s here using pseuds)…and Brash could learn a lot from him”

    So why is his party at 1% at the polls.

    And don’t forget that Neville has conveniently got Rodders to cop the blame for the fuck up that is Super City while he is off swanning it with Queenie and Cameron.

    Yeah, Rodney is finding that the PM is as slippery as they come. Look at how he did a deal wih Sharples to burden the Auckland taxpayers $2 mill a year for the Maori board. Rodney was left holding the baby. Brownlee had better watch out when the proverbial hits the fan in ChCh.

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  130. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    The economy is the critical issue, we can’t afford to just keep muddling along. So the upcoming budget is a critical issue, for the country and as an indicator as to whether National has the will to address it boldly or carry on cautiously/timidly.

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  131. pq (728 comments) says:

    Imagine a progressive New Zealand, where the smile PM waves,
    and ACT under Brash has 5% ,
    Imagine us fighting our way out of the oblivion we are now in,
    Imagine having better currency than say Romania,,
    vote here dudes

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  132. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    On TV3s Campbell tonight, Don Brash indicated strongly that he has the numbers and is poised to assume the leadership of ACT. Don also indicated that Rodney Hide will have to resign from and leave parliament due to possible conflicts of leadership style and also because Don wants him gone.
    In a nutshell the Don has spoken and Hide is gone. Either tomorrow or later this week Rodney will make the announcement.

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  133. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    BB: sorry, but I disagree completely…what Hide did – on any number of occasions was play his hand of five cards without aces (if you’ll pardon the analogy) as well as it could be played…he threatened to resign over the Maori seats on the Auckland Council, and he would have done so…you simply can’t play the “I’ll resign if…” card very often with 5 MP’s..

    It cant be said he left me and JB to fend for ourselves…

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  134. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    He is being eaten by the monstrous Gorgon that is smile and wave, the peoples choice, David.

    No adjunct party can survive that. The Maori’s have tried but will be eaten by their own Taniwha, Hone. :)

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  135. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    the upcoming budget is a critical issue, for the country and as an indicator as to whether National has the will to address it boldly or carry on cautiously/timidly.

    I agree Pete and add, based on performance and all statements to date, precisely what do you think is going to happen, in the way of positive surprises?

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  136. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    JohnBoy: I will never forget our first caucus meeting…Hide told us that as a small support party we were in the death zone of NZ politics…that no party before us in that position (The Alliance, NZF, United) had survived intact…that if we allowed ourselves to form factions and succumb to infighting we would destroy ourselves…

    Well, that’s what ultimately happened…Brash wouldnt have been able – or need – to do this if ACT had all be singing from the same song sheet…

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  137. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Not wishing to preempt PG reid may I hazard a guess: “Nothing that may jeopardize JK’s re-election chances”.

    There. That should cover it. :)

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  138. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Reid, I fear what Johnboy suggests, I hope for much better. Key is right, you have to aim for what is achievable and won’t get rolled back after the next government gets in, but he has to step up a couple of notches or I will start to agree with other assessments of his performance. 50% rides on the budget, 50% on what policies they go into the election with.

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  139. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    Hide told us that as a small support party we were in the death zone of NZ politics…

    David, who:
    a) soiled themselves on the spot
    b) weaponed up
    c) went into the foetal position and called for “mummy”

    (If it’s not breaking caucus confidentiality.)

    Key is right, you have to aim for what is achievable and won’t get rolled back after the next government gets in

    No he’s not Pete he’s dead wrong.

    Politics is the art of the possible not merely the achievable.

    That’s what Key doesn’t get.

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  140. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    When the gaze of the Gorgon falls upon you David and offers the baubles its bloody hard to resist.

    Lets face it neither of the two major parties (I’m being polite here in regards to Goofy’s Liarbour. :) ) really wants MMP.

    The only ones to survive are the Greenies because.

    1: They have never been in power.

    2: They are really a weird religion not a political party.

    Best we get shot of MMP. With FPP.

    At least we can give them a go and arsehole them if we don’t like what they do.

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  141. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    You see Key hasn’t grasped the fact he has an army at his disposal. He can order anything and it will be done.

    If he did enough ordering enough would stick. Not all would but enough would.

    It was no accident the 5th Liarbore govt was one of the most prescriptive in our Parliamentary history.

    But Key is still learning the game. He’s too naive still, even to have the ability to hatch even something resembling the plans Hulun hatched during her long incubation, and it is these which must be undone, lest NZ sink in an abyss of despair. It’s not really he who is at fault, it’s his advisers. People like McCully and Brownlee who have been around long enough, who clearly since even before he was elected, prove to be shallow fellows indeed.

    No strategic nouse in those minds. Lots of Machiavellian cunning, but no strategic nouse. This is evident from how these two – his two top advisers, have handled him over the years. I believe English knows this, he’s smart enough, but he for some reason doesn’t intervene.

    That’s my current top 4 Nat analysis. Key badly needs someone good, and he doesn’t have anyone because what’s the bet guess why, the top two keep anyone sensible in the outer layer.

    I’m disappointed Key hasn’t woken up, but putting myself in his shoes, he’s been run off his feet from day one, what a roller-coaster of a first-term for a novice Parliamentarian, and he has and I’m sure will continue, to handle it with aplomb. It’s just a shame John that you haven’t yet had any head-space to reflect, on what is clear to me, and I would assume others.

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  142. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    What ever you and Rex do David on your honeymoon is fine by me but don’t have a cigarette later in case Peter Williams is watching.

    Johnboy that was a real classic. Thank you.

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  143. dime (9,977 comments) says:

    Watching the Don on Campbell Live (how JC has kept his job astounds me).

    The Don does have a presence. More so than Rodney. Maybe its a hang over from leading a major party?

    Either way, I dont think it will be easy for the media to dismiss the Don as “extreme”.

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  144. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    I dont think it will be easy for the media to dismiss the Don as “extreme”.

    It’s amazing how often they achieve the “difficult” isn’t it.

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  145. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @Johnboy:

    …Rex’s position here as ex-fringe party insider?

    Ahem… when I ran the strategy for NZF it shot up to polling 30% – way higher than Act (and I think higher even than the summit scaled by Social Credit at one point). It was only when Lhaws took over that it plummeted to 13% (by the election) and then 3% and has been “dead cat bouncing” ever since. We outpolled Labour under H1 & H2, no slouches in political manipulation.

    It may be “fringe” now… in fact not so much fringe as that wiry hair that grows between the butt cheeks… but it wasn’t when I was there.

    It’s a bit like that old joke about how you create a small business – buy a big one and give it to Alan Hubbard… how do you create a fringe political party… take a mainstream one and give it to Micael Lhaws :-D

    So there :-P

    (And yes, David Garrett, I did “take the oath”… was a member, Deputy regional Chair, Spokesperson on Broadcasting, Energy and Telecommunications and candidate x 1.5 (got part way through the ’96 campaign and Winston and I parted company)).

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  146. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    He certainly isn’t extreme in regards to his penchant for fine foods.

    Hell I’m no gourmet but I draw the bloody line at reheated corned beef and peas.

    Christ knows how he would have got on at Windsor Palace and Number Ten today if Johnny Key hadn’t rolled him. :)

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  147. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    This fucken “Oath” shit has me worried Rex. :)

    You and David aren’t really having a honeymoon are you? :)

    Are you both members of the “Craft” perhaps? :)

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  148. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Johnboy: All I will say is map reference 365 989 …”its a fine moonlit night”

    Rex: I meant sworn in as an MP…I dont think you got that far?

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  149. Vinick (216 comments) says:

    Rex,

    Just out of interest (and a little off topic) given that NZ First were polling so high (30%) had they scored that they would have been the main party in Government.

    Now, very, very few of the people who stood for NZ First were MPs (or former MPs). So my question is, wouldn’t that Government have been something of a disaster? I seem to remember at the time reading an article on the man who would be Minister of Finance (for NZ First) and he didn’t seem ‘all there’.

    Any comment?

    Also, I think when Garratt mentioned taking the oath I think he meant being sworn into Parliament.

    EDIT: and Garrett beat me to it (clarifying).

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  150. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    Rex – You’re a dreamer! A legend in your own lunchbox.

    Day after day you post with such self belief. What you don’t seem to understand is that most people on this blog seriously don’t rate NZF or anyone who’s ever had anything to do with them.

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  151. Nookin (3,352 comments) says:

    Dime is right. Don has a presence. He stands for an economical direction. Hide made his name as a perk perk buster and was found with his snout in the trough. I don’t think a leader can recover from that. Just as English will always be seen as Double Dipton, Hide will be seen as one who is influenced by baubles. Act will remain tarnished while Hide is the leader.

    Brash could have worked in the background as DPF suggests. If he had succeeded he would have been accused of being a sneak thief. Instead, he has been quite open about it. He has the policital and financial clout to lead a right wing party. He also has plenty of personal support. If Act wants its shine back then take him.

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  152. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Surely “Its a fine moonlicht nicht” if ye are using the Scottish Rite ye ken? :)

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  153. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    “EDIT: and Garrett beat me to it (clarifying).”

    It was always clear Vinick! :)

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  154. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Johnboy: Our lodge is very liberal and inclusive in its rituals, which is why Rex and I can….no no…you almost had me there…

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  155. Vinick (216 comments) says:

    Not to Rex, evidently.

    “(And yes, David Garrett, I did “take the oath”… was a member, Deputy regional Chair, Spokesperson on Broadcasting, Energy and Telecommunications and candidate x 1.5 (got part way through the ’96 campaign and Winston and I parted company)).”

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  156. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Keep riding the Goat David. You get in trouble with the press if you ride a horse. :)

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  157. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    So seriously, do you think Whale is right, or DPF?

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  158. Nookin (3,352 comments) says:

    Funny that. As I read the exchange I was wondering when someone would mention goats.

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  159. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    I’m just too predictable Nookin.

    Goats are closely related to sheep you understand. :)

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  160. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    I told that reporter…at least the goat was a nanny….

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  161. Nookin (3,352 comments) says:

    If Brash is an Act supporter who thinks Act has lost its way and wants it to change direction then DPF is right. If, as Brash says, he has the momentum to lead a right wing party and can proceed with or without Act then Whale is right. Another advantage of Brash’s method is that there will not be a behind-closed-doors deal dumped on the broad membership. If his move works it will be because there will be a groundswell behind him

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  162. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    “If his move works it will be because there will be a groundswell behind him”

    Of cash? Which is the commodity sadly lacking in ACT’s war chest at present!

    Wise ACTor’s would take the bait methinks. :)

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  163. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that success or failure here determines who is right or wrong Nookin.

    I think Brash could easily fail, big-time, yet he is still correct.

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  164. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    “I told that reporter…at least the goat was a nanny….”

    Never be ashamed David. I love all my ewe’s. :)

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  165. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Getting back on point…I am very concerned at Brash’s seeming unawareness of what Rodney can offer…in a dozen ways he is the guy who “knows how things are done”…JB and Hilary are too inexperienced, Roger is retiring…Roy never even bothered to attend meetings where we formulated questions for question time..stuff like that is very important…

    Brash had all that stuff done for him by others…I shudder to think how he would manage his first caucus without Hide…

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  166. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    He will flash his wallet David. :)

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  167. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    .stuff like that is very important…Brash had all that stuff done for him by others…I shudder to think how he would manage his first caucus without Hide…

    Somehow I don’t think a former Governor of the Reserve Bank and Leader of the Opposition would have too much trouble formulating questions, Dave.

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  168. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    ACT is a party there to be bought. Don has the cash ready. QED. :)

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  169. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    You are sounding like an ACT purist David.

    The only true purity in politics is can you afford to buy what you want or is the price too high. :)

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  170. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    reid: well you would be dead wrong…oral questions are a skill, its not about what you know about a subject…With no offence to you intended, that is a perfect example of the lack of knowledge of people who have not done it…by “it” I mean been in parliament…

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  171. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    No offence taken Dave but isn’t it the content of the question: the point of it, not particularly how it’s delivered, which is often the killer point?

    It’s just that’s been my experience when I’ve been watching Question Time, for even a lousy question delivered well doesn’t get my attention but vice versa does.

    Maybe I’m just not representative.

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  172. Nookin (3,352 comments) says:

    Agree, Reid. The worst case scenario here is if Brash and Act go their separate ways, both achieve 4.5% and neither achieve a seat. Brash is too shrewd not to have sussed out the likelihood of support at grassroot level. I think he sounded out Hide, maybe got a lukewarm reception or a non-answer and then decided to let the members put the acid on. I hope he succeeds. We do not need another political party simply because of two leadership aspirants. Take the guy who can sell the message. That’s Brash.

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  173. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    reid: wasn’t that a problem for Labour early in this term – asking questions that you could give inane or marginally correct answers to? Answers like “yes” or “no”.

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  174. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Brash is too shrewd not to have sussed out the likelihood of support at grassroot level.

    Brash said tonight he commissioned a poll, he won’t get results until next week, that doesn’t sound shrewd, it sounds premature.

    “It may turn out the market research says, ‘There’s no way we want Brash either leading the ACT Party or a new vehicle,’ in which case I can go back to my life outside Parliament… it would be very embarrassing indeed if that were the outcome.” (Brash on TV tonight)

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  175. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    You miss the point David. Every three years politicians buy their power as we all vote with our wallets as the main consideration.

    Politicians are just the same as the rest of us they buy their jobs by considering their wallets first.

    If Don can bring the cash and Rodders can’t (and God help ACT they surely do need the cash) Don will be the boss.

    Once all this little sideshow is over JK will buy the election by not hitting us in the wallet too much.

    Bleating about earthquakes and world recession only lasts so long before the voters turn off.

    Cut the benefits, or whack the interest on student loans, or up the age for super, not a chance.

    You can buy anything you like David as long as you have the cash.

    The real worry for JK and Bill is they don’t have the cash.

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  176. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    And was a frequent problem for the Nats in opposition Paul.

    To be fair I think Dave was probably referring to the devious garden-pathing that goes on in the supplementaries, at which I agree, Brash would be hopeless at for he doesn’t have a devious bone in his body, unlike everyone else there.

    But Brash would be a partner of the govt and that means answering not asking question so I’m not quite sure what Dave’s point was.

    Brash said tonight he commissioned a poll, he won’t get results until next week, that doesn’t sound shrewd, it sounds premature.

    Sigh, but Pete, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t already know the answer, not through this poll, but through an earlier one, does it.

    (I mean, who knows, maybe he does have one or two devious bones, after all.)

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  177. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    “If I can’t get 5 percent, I shouldn’t be trying to do this. Quite frankly, we should be getting much more than 5 percent.”

    Later in the interview, he explained why.

    “In 2005, I ran on a policy that got 39 point something percent of the vote. That’s the policy framework I want to run this time.”

    Does he really think he totally carried National, so he can achieve the same numbers with Act?
    While at the same time throwing away the nuts and bolts of Act (Hide).

    Cockiness for sure. Cocked up? Yet to see.

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  178. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I would like to pick up on a couple of DPF’s points.

    One is criticism of Brash’s tactics. DPF seems to wish for a more genteel approach from Gentleman Don. But uprisings/revolts are generally not genteel in nature, as any Egyptian, Tunisian, Yemeni, Libyan and even Americans would inform you. So far, Don’s shockjock approach has been extraordinarily successful in garnering media attention, not to mention upping the pressure on the famous four.

    The second would be his understanding of Brash’s economic policies. Over the years, I have read as extensively as I can Brash’s speeches and articles dating from his time as Reserve Bank Governor. It’s scary stuff.

    Quite frankly, for one of his background, you can take the boy out of Presbyterianism but you can’t take the Presbyterianism out of the boy.

    And, of course, his interpretation of Article III is self-serving in the interests of continuing the colonial project in New Zealand and oppression of the uppity natives, and the kindest thing I could say is that he is genuinely unaware of how his stance is racist.

    But he would be in good company there, I’m sure.

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  179. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    The money Pete follow the money.

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  180. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    The peasants may think that too much money being wielded is revolting.

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  181. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    I have just watched Don Brash on TV3’s Brain Dead Socialist or whatever its called and I have just realised what he is up to. DPF, he’s got you and countless others sucked in big time and he is brilliant.

    Hide looked and behaved like a he knows he’s a gonner and thats exactly what will happen. All this dragging out the numbers, market research, publicly taking over ACT etc is one of the biggest political media stunts of the decade. Right now the country’s media are all nicely cooperating to give Don a huge publicity boost which he would never have got if he had simply launched his own party at the Ellerslie racecourse one rainy Sunday evening.

    If you think Don Brash is an elderly over-the-hill non-political animal, then think again. He’s smarter than most people give him credit for and he will get around 20% at this election and good on him.

    The National Socialists won’t know what hit them in November.

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  182. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    Don’s shockjock approach

    Yes I know Luc. Complete and utter upfront honesty about everything is very shocking to you lefties, isn’t it. Unheard of. Appalling!

    Over the years, I have read as extensively as I can Brash’s speeches and articles dating from his time as Reserve Bank Governor. It’s scary stuff.

    Only cause you think Keynesian economics should still dominate over Hayeckian, Luc. Unfortunately for you, the only countries that agree with you are North Korea, Iran, Cuba and South Yemen. The rest of the world don’t. You only think it’s scary cause you’re not keeping “good company” Luc.

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  183. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    “Roy never even bothered to attend meetings where we formulated questions for question time..stuff like that is very important… ”

    Judging by tonight’s news she was probably too busy writing favorable comment about herself on her facebook page under a different name on her own computer.

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  184. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Don isn’t waving his cash at the peasants Pete he is waving it at Rodders team. :)

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  185. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    I realise it’s the money that will probably buy him a part to stick his flag on.
    But to get the numbers he really needs to get a lot of peasants to vote for him.

    Some lefties are claiming it’s all a National jack up. I think it’s closer to an attempted boot up National’s bum.

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  186. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Jeeze reid. You fell for Luc’s trap.

    You are meant to ignore him and just like the witch in the wardrobe he goes away.

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  187. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @David Garrett:

    Ahh I see. I thought you meant the oath of allegiance to the party, to never mention the Spencer Trust etc – unfortunately I broke that one – and had just remained a professional advisor. I felt it beholden to own up and admit to having, for one brief moment, believed something Winston said :-D

    @Vinick:

    Now, very, very few of the people who stood for NZ First were MPs (or former MPs). So my question is, wouldn’t that Government have been something of a disaster? I seem to remember at the time reading an article on the man who would be Minister of Finance (for NZ First) and he didn’t seem ‘all there’.

    The NZF shadow cabinet also had people like Brian Donnelly, who went on to do a lot of good things (though not nearly as many as he could have done had he not sadly passed away) in education, an ex Army guy by the name of Ross Gluer, who I’d put up against anyone in Key’s Cabinet, let alone the likes of, say, Paula Bennett… there was enough talent there to fill out the major portfolios I think.

    Yes, Bernard Downey (the finance guy you’re thinking of) was a little abstract but very smart. Communication definitely wasn’t his strong suit, but at least as Finance Minister he’d have figured out how to claim his accommodation allowance in without getting caught with all four feet in the trough, unlike the present incumbent.

    @first time caller:

    Bitter wee thing, aren’t you. What’s the matter, blog commenting the only impact you’ve managed to make on the world?

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  188. reid (16,491 comments) says:

    Jeeze reid. You fell for Luc’s trap.

    D’oh.

    Sorry everyone.

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  189. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    The only numbers he needs to start with Pete are 3 from the ACT caucus.

    How much do you think it will take to buy that many? :)

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  190. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    “Another advantage of Brash’s method is that there will not be a behind-closed-doors deal dumped on the broad membership. If his move works it will be because there will be a groundswell behind him”
    What groundswell? He just has to encourage one more ACT MP to support him. It does not look like it will be John Boscawen in any case I heard him on the news say Rodney had his 100% support. That normally would not meant much from an MP but it does from John. He is one of the few MPs who deserve the word honourable.
    It would be interesting to see the result if it was put to the membership. How many think it should be?

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  191. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Reid, you need to add Vermont to your list. It’s just passed a pioneering single server state health scheme.

    One that puts people first, not insurance company profits.

    Socialism on speed!

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  192. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Chuck

    Do you think the Don can get his ol’ magic to work on Hillary Calvert?

    Could sex appeal swing the deal?

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  193. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    Those of you berating Key for his softly, softly, take the voters with him approach need to learn the lesson of history.

    National took a sharp step to the right in the 1990-93 term. Voters hadn’t signed up for that and quickly became disillusioned. After a massive electoral landslide in 1990, National was returned with a majority of 1 in 1993. The following election they were saddled with NZ First. Key is no fool and has learned from that (or his inner circle has anyway).

    Labour’s so called social engineering is a more recent example of what happens when you don’t bring the public with you – less extreme because Labour’s vote didn’t decrease all that much and no one was burning them in effigy in the streets…but you get the idea.

    You can enact certain policies because you think its the right thing to do (e.g. anti smacking, asset sales) but there is a cost to doing that. Policies that are out of step with the public give the opposition an opportunity and a mandate to undo all of the government’s work once they get their backsides on the treasury benches.

    Key may be blessed with an opposition that is about as effective as a wet paper bag but nothing would be more likely to breathe life into Labour’s corpse than a short sharp dose of Brash;s medicine. It is much better for National to move that way incrementally.

    This approach is likely for example, to lead to National getting a mandate for partial privatisation / sale of SOEs, which was electoral poison not that long ago. Had the government just done this without spending all that time laying the ground work it would have played straight into labour’s narrative of the “secret agenda” and Key being untrustworthy.

    Simply adopting ACT / Brash’s policies is a recipe for ending up in opposition.

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  194. Chuck Bird (4,895 comments) says:

    Don’t know. Don does not appeal to me. How about you?

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  195. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to see the result if it was put to the membership. How many think it should be?

    In a better sort of democracy I think it should be, but it doesn’t look like the membership are a consideration with this bid. Public plebs who are right inclined are being polled, but that’s a tool to try and sell the deal.

    I guess members of a big business party won’t mind being ignored, takeovers don’t generally care about what the minions think (they are just there to do a job when asked).

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  196. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    It sounds like Act do have an option for the membership to decide:

    The party’s constitution allows for a primary-style run-off between leadership candidates, to be voted on by the members, rather than MPs.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4934835/Brash-thinks-he-has-the-numbers-to-roll-Hide

    It’s likely the Brash Cash Brigade will want to avoid mucking around with diversions like that though.

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  197. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Well, going on reports in the herald this morning, it looks like Brash has done it. Fantastic!

    I actually think Don has played this pretty damn well, he has had a huge media following and therefore publicity, publicity that money can’t buy. It certainly has been the talk of the watercoolers this week….

    My only negative of this, is as David Garrett mentions, Rodney Hide is going to be gone completely, therefore Brash will not have access to all of the very sound in-house advice Rodney can offer. I like Rodney and would probably have voted for him in Epsom later this year, but I’m a realist, and I realise that if Brash did not do this ACT was as good as finished.

    Whilst I also like Roger Douglas and have a lot of time for what he espouses, again being a realist, I know he is electoral poison, especially to farmers. I therefore pray that he will be as far removed from the party as possible.

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  198. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Asked by John Campbell why people should vote for Act in Epsom when he was so critical of National, he said:
    “We are the only party in Parliament which is even remotely akin to what National stands for.”

    Makes it sound like he already sees himself as a part of Act, or that Act is his party (and should have been all century).

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  199. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    It would appear Dons the figure head and Banks is the boss.
    Don’t mind Don but don’t want that fucking new age Christian self righteous loud mouth Banks.

    Banks for Prime Minister after November.
    Careful what you dream about.

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  200. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    “very sound in-house advice Rodney can offer”

    About ….???

    Management? Perk-busting? Merging councils into super cities?

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  201. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    davinci: been an MP have you?

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  202. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Thanks David G, my point exactly.

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  203. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    V2

    I’m not sure he’s quite that bad.

    Interestingly though, thus far there seems to be no recollection of Banks’ last term in Parliament when he had his his talk-back radio gig. All that grieve that geriatric Jim got over his double-dipping aspirations when contesting the Christchurch mayoralty, yet nobody has raised the Banks talk-back show. I vaguely recall comment from him to the effect that it kept him in touch with the electorate. That may well be the case, but even so I didn’t ever think it was a godd look or precedent.

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  204. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    DG

    No I haven’t but I am capable of discerning hypocrisy, bad decision-making and judgement, and poor management. These are not failures that are unique to the little canary – they are failures that are more prevalent in NZ business than we would all care to know about.

    However, Rodney’s failure have been so incredibly public it is hard not to notice them. Goff rightly gets a lot of criticism but it strikes me that if one were to extrapolate the Rodney experience in such a small caucus into a caucus like Labour with the added complication of its external pressures, Rodney would have managed to make an even bigger shambles of the job than Goff has.

    And in any event, you haven’t addressed the criticism. Are you suggesting that Rodney hasn’t been hypocrititical and exercised poor judgement.

    What’s your benchmark for success? All I can see from the last 3 years is failure. He did a grand job in his last 3 years in opposition, but before that he was a one tune record.

    Or are you simply suggesting that criticism of MPs should be the exclusive domain of MPs? Should the rest of us even have a vote?

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  205. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Whale makes a case for Brash being Fair and Honest.

    Really?

    Fair to who? Not to Hide. Maybe not to other Act MPs or board members or the general membership. What about Epsom voters?

    Honest? Yes, up to a point. Honest about what suits him to be out in the open. There is much left unsaid, there is much he hasn’t yet been open and honest about – and he has a bit of a history for trying to keep secrets about who he is involved with and is backing him.

    Hard to trust him.

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  206. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    I am not one to kick a man when he is down…let’s agree that Rodney make mistakes – which politician doesn’t?

    What is is his record over the last three years? Let’s start with three strikes..I provided the knowledge and research and advocacy which got it passed, he provided the strategy. It was his insight that led to us rejecting Power’s “generous” offer to make it a stand alone Bill “for which ACT could get all the credit” when the reality is it would have been much harder and probably impossible to get it passed if it was not tacked on to a government bill as Rodney said it should. I didnt have a clue about that sort of stuff, and thought a stand alone Bill was a great idea. I was wrong.

    Don Brash has NEVER been responsible for the passing of any bill…I will say it again: leading an opposition is not the same as being in government.

    The extending of the 90 day trial period to all employers was driven by Rodney, as was the requirement for the ERA to act judicially and permit cross examination. I had input into both of those, but it was Rodney’s involvement – I cannot say more than that – which turned our input from being politely heard – prior to being ignored – to actually being incorporated in the changes.

    There are a dozen such examples.

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  207. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    davinci, I can’t speak for DG, but I was not suggesting that criticisim of MPs should be exclusive to MPs themselves, and am quite sure that David wasn’t either.

    I don’t disagree that Rodney has made a bit of a hash of the last 3 years, especially when comparing to his previous 3 and more. I think his focus hasn’t entirely been on his job, but hell, it is a pretty damn tough job and who does give 24/7 focus? His judgment has also been very poor, but in my opinion, judgement has to be all taken into context – Rodney/ACT (and any right leaning party) gets a helluva hard time from the wet liberal media we have in this country. Where has the media investigated the greens double dipping of the housing allowance? When does the media ever call the greens left-wing extremists? Such as they regularly call ACT, Hide and this week in particular every chance they have had, Brash.

    My connotations of Hide being able to offer in-house experience are more about helping Brash with his public persona and in the bearpit that is the Beehive, helping Brash appear less ‘wooden’, so to speak.

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  208. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    PG, why does he need to be “fair” to Hide. This is the way it happens. Its the way Hide rolled Prebble. Hide has enjoyed a golden run for one reason only: he convinced Epsom voters to return him year after year. The consequence of his ham-fisted endeavours of the last 3 years is that he can no longer play that card. He has greatly disappointed me for a host of reasons and I have no sympathy for him. This is nature at work.

    Equally, I wonder what exactly Brash thinks he can achieve on the economic reform front. All the cheerleaders for hard reform ignore the reality that was reiterated YET AGAIN by Key a couple of days ago, that unless you take the voting public with you, you will piss them off and all the gains will be undone and you will be a long time in the wilderness. key’s game is progressive behaviour modification. Clark had largely fucked this country in 3 or 4 years. It will take longer to fix attitudes than it took Clark to reinforce bad attitudes.

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  209. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Pete George, give it a fucking rest would ya! We all know you’re not going to vote for Brash, you wouldn’t have voted for Hide either anyway, so what is all this shit you keep carrying on with in defense of Hide, re Brash’s handling of this?

    Why don’t you run off back to the stranded where your subversive (in the appearance of being a neutral fencesitter) comments aren’t seen for what they are, shite.

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  210. Nookin (3,352 comments) says:

    DaVinci
    You got it. We have a poor national culture. There is a culture of dependancy that will take years to reduce. We have to produce effectively and for proper reward. We have to avoid pitching to the mediocre. We have to add value and not sit back and hope it happens. Policy is only a part of the process. We need a bit of inspirational leadership as well. Labour doesn’t even come close. Key has the charisma but does not appear to provide the idealogical inspiration. Brash gets you thinking

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  211. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    matty

    Brash needs all the help he can get in the latter respect, but I still admire the way he answers a question. Compare that to Goff who routinely uses the weary “turn the question on its head and say something incredably positive that has nothing to do with the question” ploy.

    And I’m not suggesting that it isn’t a hard job, but plenty of people have tough jobs and are better at them than what we see from many parliamentarians. Its just unfortunate that we don’t get enough of them into parliament.

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  212. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    Yes Nookin, its all about water on a stone.

    And ACT has an important role in that respect but I think Rodney has failed in that regard again over the last 3 years. I’ve a vague idea about what ACT might be standing for, but in all honesty, I can’t say that I have ever discerned a clear message from Hide, or any of them, as to what they are about. Its all spot issues stuff.

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  213. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Time will tell if Brash can save the Act party. It is doubtful however who knows. If Rodney resigned now and the nats or a party other than act won the by election what would happen to his caucus colleagues?

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  214. KH (695 comments) says:

    I tend to agree with a lot that of what Don Brash says. But what a weird individual he is. Think about him. It’s a concern.
    Key on the other hand does well in one respect because he is so non-weird (is that a word?) and communicates it superbly. Pity it seems to be turning out he has no policy and indeed not a clue about what to do.

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  215. thedavincimode (6,777 comments) says:

    DG, sorry, but is that it? Three strikes?? 90 days? And maybe a few other spot issues??

    What about articulating a clear message about what you stand for across the framework of society and the economy? I still don’t know what you guys are on about.

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  216. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Davinci:yet again…from the day I began till the day I left, I was being told NOT to simply “answer the question”…doing that got me into all sorts of trouble..

    sadly the days are gone when a poli from the right can say what he means…to get any kind of positive coverage you virutally HAVE to “turn the question on its head….”

    I got plenty of coverage for simply answering the question – most of it negative. And I am living proof that the old adage “all publicity is good publicity” is not true. Next year, if he is part of the government, Don simply wont be able to say what the thinks. I’m sounding like a broken record, but he has only been in opposition….you can say what you like there…

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  217. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Christ I hope Brash is telling Key that nope, will not go into coalition with the Nats if those hories are part of the coalition.
    As well as demanding the finance portfolio for going into coalition with the Nats.

    Damn it will be funny as fuck to hear Brash ranting about family values, maaaaaries who own too much, why the hospitals need to be sold off, why the minimum wage needs to be halved, why super needs to be dropped by 50%.

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  218. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Nookin said:

    Brash gets you thinking

    This sums it up so very well and so very succinctly. Brash is the reason I first got interested in politics, to me, he always said stuff that made me think and therefore want to research and find out more. Plus of course, his one law for all resonates very strongly with me.

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  219. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    davinci said:

    but plenty of people have tough jobs and are better at them than what we see from many parliamentarians. Its just unfortunate that we don’t get enough of them into parliament.

    Dead fucking right. I have long believed we need to pay our politicians a lot more to attract the quality people that can make a difference, not the ones that think they can make a difference, or the ones that simply become prime-minister to fulfill a boyhood dream.

    I would be supportive of paying our prime-minister 4million a year, as Singapore does, if we could get some of the outcomes that Singapore does. Unfortunately for us, for our politicians it has become more about outputs than outcomes.

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  220. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Davinci: fair call…all I can say is its hugely difficult to get any coverage from the leftie media of “big picture – what you guys stand for” stuff. They are simply not interested.

    If the Don can do that – as he did on the Maori issue in the Orewa speeches – good on him. I am already on record as saying ACT inexplicably failed to grasp the nettle of the damage being done to the country by divisive racial policies and division of resources…We made lots of noise in the House on such issues as the resources of the Waikato river being carved up at the whim of iwi – virtually no-one was listening.

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  221. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    @nookin 8.13 yes, thats one of the most succinct summaries of this country’s situation I have read lately.

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  222. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Don has a brand?? Where are the rest of the jokes?

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  223. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Plus of course, his one law for all resonates very strongly with me.

    The “one law” drum may resonate, but when it’s hit with different sticks in different places many different sounds can be heard.

    We don’t have and never will have “one law for all” – neither in wording and in appication. Tax laws favour some groups over others. Laws apply differently to different ages, eg driving, and drinking. We have a law for people who deliberately kill and a different law for people who accidentally kill. We have gender specific laws. We have different property ownership laws.

    “One law for all” proponents don’t want to think others might get favourable treatment, while they “manage” their business expenses, set up their trusts, exploit any grants and subsidies on offer, and think their Beamer is safe at 150kph.

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  224. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    And there you nail your true colours to the mast petey gal, by believing that more laws and more regulations are the cure to all of societies problems.

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  225. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    I didn’t say anything like that mattypoo, all I did was point out your bandwagon naivity.

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  226. max.auckland (5 comments) says:

    DPF IS LOOSING IT!

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