Perigo on ACT

November 17th, 2011 at 4:25 pm by David Farrar

blogs on ACT, with a unique perspective having worked for them briefly. He notes with the cannabis speech:

On the night after the speech, Don appeared on Campbell Live to defend it. The programme ran a poll on decriminalisation to coincide with his appearance. A record number of people—15000—responded; 72% supported him! Not for the first time, we saw that this is one of those libertarian issues where the voters are much more enlightened than most politicians. As the Press noted at the time, on this matter Banks rather than Brash is the dinosaur.

Here was Don’s chance to re-brand unambiguously as the live-and-let-live party across the board, not just on economic issues. But he needed to hold his nerve. I had texted him a line from Rudyard Kipling just before his Campbell Live appearance: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you … “

I agree with Lindsay that the speech was not a mistake per se. However where I have been critical is that key stakeholders were not in the loop, and talking points agreed in advance. If that had been done, then the speech could well have worked as intended – showing Don as a social liberal, not just an economic liberal.

13 Responses to “Perigo on ACT”

  1. Ruth (164 comments) says:

    My husband worked with Brash for some time 25 years ago. He had strong political ambitions even then, and has betrayed his so-called values to try and achieve them.

    He has destroyed his career to advance those ambitions.

    Perigo, with his rabid hatred of Muslims (especially immigrants _ remember his “Death to Islam” and call to deport peaceful Muslims from NZ) , Central Banks, and so on, has accelerated Brashs’ demise and is now attempting to cover his arse after his ill-advised position within ACT.

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  2. tas (883 comments) says:

    I completely agree. Don may have mortally wounded ACT with the fiasco. He offended ACTs conservative supporters and failed to attract social liberals. The damage was already done within a day, and backtracking only prevented ACT reaping the rewards.

    If Don had stuck to his guns and ensured the party was behind him, then ACT would be in much better shape now and on November 27.

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  3. V (1,592 comments) says:

    I think people see through the ‘process’ errors.

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  4. Radman (145 comments) says:

    There are plenty of others who have much better “unique perspectives”, and who have worked for Act for much longer than Perigo, who could give a much better analysis than this drivel. I note on his blog there is a comment by a Libertarian who wonders “why Libertarianz can’t get traction”!!! That’s because there is no support for Libertarianism, despite how appealing it is!! That means you don’t talk about it, because it doesn’t get you votes!!! Don’s so intelligent but cannot figure this out?!?!?! Mr Banks was right to reject the stupid speech. It merely confirmed Dr Don as the Mr Magoo of NZ politics, and it doesn’t matter one iota whether he is a nice guy or not. I heard him on Radio NZ this morning still talking about the teatapes. STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was no way Act could market itself as a purely liberal party only a few months out from an election, especially when it holds a conservative seat!! Some parts of Epsom are liberal, but there’s a good reason it’s been held by the Gnats forever!!! This speech was a disaster for Act and I’m told the lady who pushed it on Dr Don (Cathy Bridgeman??) was given the flick and rightly so!! But this wasn’t the biggest disaster for Act. That nutcase Heather Roy and her offsider Ewings were the ones that started the decline. They should be put in front of the firing squad!!!

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  5. freddos (54 comments) says:

    This week will have destroyed Act. The Teapot sideshow is one thing, but Brash’s awful performanc on last night’s debate does not make them viable anymore. Epsom will vote them out because no one in their right mind would want to be to blame for bringing that mess back. I think most voters sense this and will not risk their vote on Act. (It is a shame because I think the likes of Stephen Whittington at number 7 would have been a refreshing change in parliament).

    I wonder though if any of this will have hurt National or if it will just sure up their 50% +. The only other option (unless you are Maori) is United Future (baring some extreme tactical voting in Rodney or Botany). I’m not sure I see Act voters switching to United any time soon, but maybe they’ll pick up a few undecideds. Having seen Rob Eaddy on Backbenchers last night, I must say I hope UF gets at least 3 so he gets in

    (on an unrelated note, if UF get 2% and the Greens get 10% then Hutt South would have 4 sitting MPs in the area, equalling Ohariu for representation. Unless NZF gets 7% – then Ohariu could have 5. How is this proportional representation?)

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  6. Nick R (941 comments) says:

    I think the “process” errors were the whole problem really. Brash did exactly the same thing when he was leading National. It seems he hasn’t learned much from that experience.

    If you are the newly appointed leader of a party who is still wiping up the blood of your predecessor, so to speak, you really need the goodwill of the rest of the party. You don’t get it by going rogue. Particularly after failing to deliver a promised jump in the polls.

    Nek minnit – Key and Banks plotting his downfall within earshot of the media and Cactus demanding his head before the election.

    Pass the popcorn.

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  7. James Stephenson (3,053 comments) says:

    That piece by Perigo just reconfirms the thoughts I had when Inv2 asked the “where did it all go wrong for ACT?” question in comments on a post of mine at his place last week. I suggested that since Prebble, ACT just hadn’t had anyone of leadership calibre.

    Don has many qualities, but leadership and an ability to sell his party are not among them.

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  8. Liberty (618 comments) says:

    You are wrong Libertarianz is the party. voters would love to vote for.
    But want because their vote will be discarded. One of the joys of MMP
    It would also piss one off. IF Labour/Greens and whatever flotsam it could dredge up.
    Formed a government because National /ACT were short by .05%

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  9. Mark (1,611 comments) says:

    With a conservative such as Banks in the mix running a liberal agenda was never going to be easy but for Don not to consult with the wider Act hierarchy said much more about his communication skills or lack of. ACT may will be rolled in Epsom now. Whilst the undecided voter number is extraordinary at over 40% it says a lot about the trouble many National voters must be having reconciling voting for ACT rather than their own man.

    if Winston gets up to 5% then National don’t just need Act they desperately need Act. JK’s handling of the teapot saga could well see them rolled by the devils own coalition of Goff/Peters/Norman and Harawera. Unthinkable mayhem would prevail post election with Winston stringing us out until Christmas without a government, JK flouncing out of parliament and Goff becoming PM. It’s the stuff of nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat screaming “tell me it isn’t so!!”

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  10. KevinH (1,751 comments) says:

    It must have been dissappointing for Perigo to discover that ACT was a neo con construct of the National Party and not a libertarian party with a neo liberal perspective.
    However in the short time with ACT Perigo had an undoubted influence on Brash who went public with his liberal views on cannabis, or was that a clever move by Perigo.
    Did Perigo influence Brash into listening to Mario Lanza and enjoy long discourses on the relative merits of neo liberalism in the modern age because it didn’t show on Brash.

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  11. CharlieBrown (1,768 comments) says:

    ACT should never have even tried to go for the conservative votes, thats what national is for. Its a shame as NZ needs a
    strong center right party.

    Interesting it seams that Don Brash has unintentionally destroyed ACT in two phases, first he halved the act vote by making national a center right party whilst he was leader, and even when key slyly took power and sent the party slightly left of center, they never recovered. Now through his inept politics and recruitment of a conservative fart, he seems to be hammering the nails on the coffin. Its a shame as I do believe if Don Brash was finance minister our country would benefit hugely.

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  12. reid (21,413 comments) says:

    Its a shame as I do believe if Don Brash was finance minister our country would benefit hugely.

    It’s tragic CB. For the country. Imagine if we’d had Brash in charge all through Hulun’s years. Imagine how wealthy and debt-free and agile this country would be, if that had happened.

    People seem not to understand the very profound fact that it’s not so much that ACT is, as they seem to think, on the extreme right, it’s that this country, by comparison with others, is on the extreme left. If each country in the world was rated on the left-right political spectrum, we’d be positioned where the Gweens are on our local scale. We would.

    Recognising this fact is critical to understand the political future of this nation because this leftism just gets worse and worse. For example the high level of opposition to what really is a very mild, reasonable program of “mixed ownership.” I mean it’s not radical at all, but apparently 40-50% of people in this far left nation, still have a problem with it, even given the fact we have an earthquake to pay for and our trading partners including China, might be engulfed in the economic contagion at any moment. It’s unbelievable yet it’s happening.

    The media of course play a huge role in all of this and the way they’ve played this tape issue all last week, which basically is insignificant, is a big tell in the way the Fourth Estate lets down those NZers who need the media to tell them what to think, and that’s most of the country.

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  13. Dick (80 comments) says:

    The party that once boasted it would give National a backbone has lost its own. The party that once fearlessly stirred up controversy is now paralysed by fear of controversy. Thinking voters—the party’s natural constituency—are staying away in droves.

    Truer words. Truth be told I’ve been disappointed with ACT ever since Prebble retired. Hide just couldn’t match his advocacy skills and was always weak on televised debates (he went from being a radical rebel as an opposition backbencher to nice guy leader almost overnight). I have voted for ACT at every election where I have been eligible – this will be the first time I abstain. Largely due to Banks. It will be an unfortunate end to a political chapter, but the majority of the New Zealand public are just too economically illiterate – there will never be another round of Rogernomics through ACT due to both major parties being centre-left and the only way I can see it happening in the future is possibly through an infiltration of the National Party ranks as with Richardson in ’93. In this current climate I just can’t see Brash having any influence on the government, and I definitely can’t imagine Banks doing anything besides having cups of tea with the PM and towing the National Party line if elected.

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