Derek Cheng reports in the NZ Herald:
Mr Banks made it clear last night that he wanted to follow a proper process.
“I’m not looking for any easy ride to the line. If a high-quality candidate steps up to the plate, someone of outstanding ability, then I’m happy to step aside and support that person.”
Mr Banks has already had a huge endorsement from the party’s new leader, Don Brash.
If ACT get to even one third of the 15% they claim they can now get, then Epsom doesn’t matter to them. However if they fail to get 5%, then it is crucial to their survival. There are many interesting questions to be resolved.
- Will Banks win the nomination uncontested?
- Whom will National stand as their candidate. If it is local electorate chair Aaron Bhatnagar, then there could be a fascinating Bhatnagar v Banks contest.
- Who will Labour stand in Epsom?
- Will Labour supporters be urged to vote for their candidate or to vote strategically for Bhatnagar (or whomever is the National candidate)?
- Will National aim to win the seat back, on the basis of ACT claiming it will get 15%?
- Who will win if it is a full-on contest?
- If ACT do not get 5%, but Banks wins Epsom, will that make Banks more powerful than the Leader?
- If there is a National-led Government, one can only presume that Banks would be one of the ACT MPs made a Minister, considering his experience. So Boscawen and Roy might miss out.
Epsom is going to remain one of those must follow races.