The next ACT leader

December 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Talk about a new right wing political party is being revived amid the latest body blow to after leader John Banks was sent to trial over electoral fraud allegations.

Banks announced yesterday he would step down as leader in March and former leader Rodney Hide is being actively courted to step into his shoes by some high profile members, including the man who rolled him, Don Brash.

Brash confirmed last night he had tried to convince Hide to return to the national politics and said the former Epsom MP was the best chance of saving the party.

“From my perspective there are few politicians or former poiticians who can express the views of the centre right on economic issues moreNew  clearly than Rodney can.”

Party insiders confirmed there was support within the organisation for Hide to return. But Hide is less keen – he is said to have rebuffed all approaches so far.

Former British based right wing commentator Jamie Whyte, a rising star in the party, last night confirmed he was throwing his hat into the ring for both the leadership and he Epsom nomination.

There has also been speculation about lobbyist and right wing columnist Matthew Hooton, who confirmed he had been approached by a number of people yesterday who were “concerned”  about the state of centre-right politics.

But Hooton said he had other priorities currently including his family and business and sources said it was unlikely.

Hooton also writes on this issue saying NZ needs a new Bob Jones. The Herald canvasses a longer list of possibilities:

Catherine Isaac: The former party president is ruling out standing for Epsom. But she won’t comment on whether she would consider the leadership.

Jamie Whyte: The formerly British-based journalist made an appearance at ACT’s conference. He now lives in New Zealand and has confirmed he is in the running.

Matthew Hooton: The lobbyist has ambitions to be an MP and joked in his weekly column about standing for ACT in Epsom, where he lives. His natural home is National but he was uncharacteristically tight-lipped yesterday.

Cameron Brewer: The Auckland councillor and former press secretary to Jenny Shipley did not return calls yesterday. The 40-year-old ruled out standing for ACT at the 2011 election, saying he was in no rush to get to Wellington.

Chris Simmons: The former party president and management consultant was ranked seventh on the party list at the last election. Earlier this year he was said to be eyeing the blue-ribbon electorate of Pakuranga.

David Seymour: A policy wonk and former ministerial adviser to John Boscawen, ranked 6th in 2011. But the 30-year-old has built a successful career in Canada.

Rodney Hide: A former leader rolled by Don Brash. Brash said yesterday he would endorse Hide’s return, but the self-styled perk-buster is understood to be not interested.

It will be interesting to see who stands.

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62 Responses to “The next ACT leader”

  1. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Indeed

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  2. Urban_Redneck (103 comments) says:

    It’s over. Shut it down. ACT is heading towards Libertarianz polling levels.

    The rot set in the day the party ceased to be the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers and transmogrified into Judds “Liberal Party” fiasco.

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  3. All_on_Red (1,644 comments) says:

    Brewer must fancy his chances at being Aucklands next Mayor

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  4. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    If they don’t get someone who can clearly communicate the party’s philosophy (and make sure that it is expressed in the right way as well) then ACT is dead. Seeing who is prepared to stand will show if “someone” believes that the party does have a future. It must have been a pretty dire situation in 2011 if John Banks was the only candidate !

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  5. thedavincimode (6,871 comments) says:

    Brash confirmed last night he had tried to convince Hide to return to the national politics and said the former Epsom MP was the best chance of saving the party.

    :?

    High praise indeed from the man who finally wrecked the party.

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  6. william blake (109 comments) says:

    “If they don’t get someone who can clearly communicate the party’s philosophy..”

    Brash calling ACT party ‘centre’ right, there is the nub of the problem right there. Either a lack of honesty or simply deluded.

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  7. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Who is this Jamie Whyte?

    Any one got a bio?

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  8. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    Every dog has its day; ACT is dead. We need a new centre-right party untainted by lunatic antics. What’s-his-name will never live down lunar landings and contrails: a drip under pressure.

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  9. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    The Conservative Party is not centre-right anyway, Colintrails waft all over the place.

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  10. Manolo (14,049 comments) says:

    The Conservative Party is not centre-right anyway..

    Of course not. We need UnitedFuture to fill that niche…….yeah right.

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  11. nasska (11,797 comments) says:

    ….”The Conservative Party is not centre-right anyway”….

    And here PG nails it. The CCCP is a vehicle to get religious nutters into a position to dictate the morals of the nation. Measured in terms of Left & Right it is all over the place writing policy on the hoof according to where pockets of deluded & disaffected potential voters may lurk.

    ACT, as created, was not particularly right wing either. It is fiscally conservative but generally socially liberal.

    Those who are determined to go the whole nine yards & move NZ back into the fifties may need to build a party from scratch, along with a copy of a Tardis.

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  12. dime (10,102 comments) says:

    They dont need a National party person.

    There must be someone out there.

    I like Rodney a lot, but didnt rate his last few years in parliament. seemed too busy getting fit, dancing, swimming etc and the super city arghh

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  13. deadrightkev (512 comments) says:

    Has there ever been a party of more complete benign vanilla tasteless pointless nothingness hopelessness than United Future in living memory? I seriously doubt it. How is it possible that they got 500 members on the back of that?

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  14. martinh (1,259 comments) says:

    I would struggle to think Hyde could come back and give Act credibility after being caught redhanded. I agree with Red that Brewer is a good shot at mayor since Len seems to be in hiding so perhaps Len knows hes done for.
    Id like Hooton to have a go

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  15. Nostalgia-NZ (5,278 comments) says:

    ‘Brash confirmed last night he had tried to convince Hide to return to the national politics and said the former Epsom MP was the best chance of saving the party.’

    Bit rich from Don, wasn’t it he who dragged Banks in after pinning a bulls eye to Rodney’s back. But I suppose from the point of the damage he was able to inflict he could be an expert on how to undo it. I think I heard in on the radio sometime in the last couple of years, Rodney telling the story of how Don rang to ask where to find a place they were due to meet at, or finding parking to which Rodney replied along the lines ‘you’ve just rolled me as party leader surely you can find your own parking space.’ Bloody classic whichever it was.

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  16. Manolo (14,049 comments) says:

    @deadrightkev: C’mon, you’re offending vanilla!

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  17. Changeiscoming (198 comments) says:

    People getting confused with the terms left and right again.

    While without doubt ACT is on the Right for fiscal policy, their social policy puts them on the left with Labour and the Greens.

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  18. MH (813 comments) says:

    ACT 2:been seen 2
    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
    Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

    sanity of sanities,all is unsanitary.
    when is Mike ‘the Burger’ Moore due back from the USA ?

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  19. OneTrack (3,223 comments) says:

    “I would struggle to think Hyde could come back and give Act credibility after being caught redhanded”

    – yeah, caught red-handed taking his now wife with him on a parliamentary trip like all the other parties do – then and now (including how many on the trip that Hide was on?). We don’t hear anything about those other MPs do we – nah, its ok when the left does it.

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  20. deadrightkev (512 comments) says:

    “Brash confirmed last night he had tried to convince Hide to return to the national politics and said the former Epsom MP was the best chance of saving the party.”

    Don, to say after you have publically knifed and dispatched someone as leader (only to fail more miserably yourself) then endorse that opponent again proves how tragic the whole organisation has been governed and managed. Mathew Hooton is dead right, only a completely new party has any hope of filling the vacuum on the right.

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  21. Prince (109 comments) says:

    Ron Swanson is a perfect fit. Their only hope.

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  22. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Brewer has no chance of being mayor of Auckland; the demographics are awful for him, a rich white man from the inner east isn’t going to run the super city, for sure he’d have cruised in under the old Auckland City boundaries, but they are gone forever.

    People vote for people like them, the large population growths in the south and west mean you can’t win without being at least competitive and having functional networks in these areas. I’m sorry, but you just can’t.

    As for the ACT party. Deckchairs / Titanic. It really doesn’t matter, not sure why anyone with any ambition would want to taint their CV with it now. It’s a shame, the principles of the party were great, they just weren’t lived.

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  23. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    A new organization doesn’t need to be created. Just rebrand it as the new leader takes over so show a commitment to “breaking with the mistakes of the past while maintaining the core heritage of dedication to improving the lives of all New Zealanders through greater freedom, greater personal responsibility and stronger communities rather than stronger government”.

    I’d go with the Freedom Party or something like that. It’s a word with a strong, positive existing meaning that can’t be tainted so easily by the media etc and it perfectly encapsulates what the party is about. Freedom in your economic life, freedom in your personal life. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Etc.

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  24. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    @OneTrack, the difference of course is that Rodney built his reputation on condemning such things. The charge was hypocrisy and in the court of public opinion he was convicted.

    Clean hands and a clean brand are needed here.

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  25. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    The ACT brand is trashed. Why persist with it?

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  26. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    PS: When there is a re-brand, for the love of God, don’t go with “Freedom Party” :)

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  27. Manolo (14,049 comments) says:

    Let’s rebrand Libertarianz! :D

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  28. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    The ACT brand is trashed. Why persist with it?

    Because there’s a lot more chance of success (it’s been done before) than starting a brand/party from scratch (when did that last succeed?).

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  29. Nigel Kearney (1,048 comments) says:

    PS: When there is a re-brand, for the love of God, don’t go with “Freedom Party” :)

    I tend to agree, but would it be any worse than ‘National Party’?

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  30. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Not with United Future

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  31. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    There is only one party in the last 40 years that has got into parliament for the first time without an existing MP jumping ship, and that is ACT. All this talk of a “new party” is just that: talk. It’s not going to happen. If you don’t want a Lab/Green govt next year , or at best Labour-lite reliant on the Maori party, then now is the time to join ACT and have a say in who the new leader is.

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  32. Jack5 (5,152 comments) says:

    Hooton! The guy has been leading the campaign that ultimately wants to squeeze more out of taxpayers for fibre to the home – and screw Chorus shareholders.

    Hooton’s ambitions ought to lie with Labour under Cunliffe, the guy who screwed Telecom shareholders for billions.

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  33. MH (813 comments) says:

    it’s not what these parties stand for that worries us, its the people who stand for them and the petty jostling for power- Follow the Gourd or the sandal ?. Even Anderton gave up the high ground,Hide let us down,Winston , Craig dithers…the list(MP’s) goes on. Even sheilas can’t be trusted anymore, and what effects us most – Local Councils and what a fiasco they are.

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  34. Martin Gibson (247 comments) says:

    I met Jamie Whyte in London ten years ago and travelled with him a bit in Europe and have stayed in touch with him sporadically. Great to see he’s back in NZ and putting his hand up for ACT.
    He’s a smart droll and thoroughly decent bloke and will bring some much needed intellectual weight to NZ’s political bun fights.
    I look forward to seeing him again.

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  35. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    @Peter. I’m open to being told “Freedom Party” is a rubbish idea… but what’s your reasoning? My reasoning, apart from what I already said above, is that it’s basically a synonym for Liberty but less likely to be confused for Libertarian and it’s similar in scope to, say, “Green”. Green basically conveys “we’re focused on the quality of the world we live in” (even if that’s not borne out by their policy) just as Freedom conveys “we’re focused on the quality of the life you live in that world”.

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  36. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    There is only one party in the last 40 years that has got into parliament for the first time without an existing MP jumping ship, and that is ACT. All this talk of a “new party” is just that: talk. It’s not going to happen. If you don’t want a Lab/Green govt next year , or at best Labour-lite reliant on the Maori party, then now is the time to join ACT and have a say in who the new leader is.

    The brand is toxic.

    The fact those in ACT can’t see that blindingly obvious fact just confirms to me it will be a replay of the same old out-of-touch party.

    You need to slam the door on the past. Convincingly.

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  37. NK (1,257 comments) says:

    The Freedom Party was formed a few years ago by some disaffected Act members. It went about as well as our track sprinters do against the Jamaicans. I think it is dissolved now. So the name is not good. I like the Liberal Democrats, or something similar.

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  38. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    I’m open to being told “Freedom Party” is a rubbish idea… but what’s your reasoning?

    a) Sounds like a bunch of nudists/hippies
    b) Too easy to mock. The minute they vote to pass any law that restricts something, and there will be plenty of those, then they undermine their own political identity.
    c) Twee. We know there’s no such thing as freedom.

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  39. xy (189 comments) says:

    ACT as originally premised was pretty appealing to a lot of lefties too – I would love to have them in parliament and I’m mostly a Green voter these days. Socially liberal, fiscally sensible, good to have around.

    As soon as the TOUGH ON CRIME posters started going up with ACT branding, that was lost.

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  40. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Is it too late to nominate Penny Bright?

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  41. publicwatchdog (2,812 comments) says:

    Is it too late to nominate Penny Bright for what ‘Kimble’?

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright :)

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  42. Manolo (14,049 comments) says:

    Is it too late to nominate Penny Bright for the most corrupt individual in Kiwiblog?
    Never ever. Miss Dim will win hands down!

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  43. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    ACT would have my vote for ever and a day if Rodney Hide was involved either as party leader or MP. Brands can be revived if done properly and with a clear severing of the past. The Brash-Banks years were horrific but they could be put behind ACT with some clear leadership.

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  44. publicwatchdog (2,812 comments) says:

    “Is it too late to nominate Penny Bright for the most corrupt individual in Kiwiblog?
    Never ever. Miss Dim will win hands down!”

    Like to put your name to this post GUTLESS ‘Manolo’, and back it up with some FACTS and EVIDENCE?

    Thought not.

    No ‘Man’ in ‘Manolo’?

    What a pathetic wee creature you are.

    Penny Bright

    PROVEN ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    For evidence proving my anti-corruption work :

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz

    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

    http://www.stopthesupercity.org.nz

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  45. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    Fair calls. I would note those are all valid criticisms of “Green” too, but doesn’t mean I want to make the same mistake.

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  46. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    You never contribute anything to a discussion Penny. You’re a grandstander of the highest order and shameless self promoter. Please limit your posts to only those that contain something of use. And if you’re hoping you’ll get some google juice SEO super ranking out of your links you might want to read up on ‘nofollow’. Although you’re sure to enjoy these sites I set up.

    http://www.pennybright4payingherrates.org.nz

    http://www.pennybright4stickingtothesubject.org.nz

    http://www.apennyshort.org.nz

    http://www.stoppennysinsanity.org.nz

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  47. ChardonnayGuy (1,213 comments) says:

    Haven’t there been several attempts to set up an alternative centre-right satellite party/coalition partner for National, though? It’d be interesting to chronicle those in a future post, David (hint hint) and why they failed to get off the ground. I think the question is whether ACT’s brand is too compromised. Granted, United Future is, too, but why not rebrand/fuse ACT and United Future together? That’d have the advantage of not having to reinvent the wheel.

    (What’s that, Colin? You think that the wheel is a ruse invented by (deep breath) Giant Maori Lesbian Deconstructionist Trade Unionist Morris Dancers conspiracists…? )

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  48. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    How can Matthew Hooton be described as right-wing?
    Shows you have far left we are in this country.

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  49. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Please let it be Whyte, a bonafide idiot.

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  50. publicwatchdog (2,812 comments) says:

    errr…. I share information with Kiwibloggers, including research that I’ve done, and action I and others have initiated.

    Some of this work – like the research which proves that there has been NO ‘due diligence’ on the increased risk of money-laundering arising from the NZ International Convention Centre Act 2013, to my knowledge, has yet to be covered by any mainstream media.

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

    Sorry if that upsets you ‘labrator’ :)

    Would you prefer it if I didn’t put my real name to my posts?

    Perhaps you’d like to share work you’ve done which helps the public or the public interest?

    I’m sure such a post wouldn’t take you very long…..

    (Meant of course in a caring way :)

    Penny Bright

    PROVEN ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    For evidence proving my anti-corruption work :

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz

    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

    http://www.stopthesupercity.org.nz

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  51. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Thanks for proving my point Penny.

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  52. deadrightkev (512 comments) says:

    So its settled then. Its going to be Jamie Whyte. It must be because the media has named him, he is a journalist (bonus) and no one has ever heard of him. Thank goodness that is sorted.

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  53. publicwatchdog (2,812 comments) says:

    Glad to assist ‘Labrator’.

    I see you have yet to share any work you’ve done which helps the public or the public interest?

    Thanks for proving my point :)

    Penny Bright

    PROVEN ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    For evidence proving my anti-corruption work :

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz

    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz

    http://www.stopthesupercity.org.nz

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  54. big bruv (14,148 comments) says:

    Penny.

    A couple of questions if you don’t mind.

    1. Have you paid your rates yet?
    2. Do you receive any income at all from the tax payer?

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  55. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    ‘Penny’, I refuse to answer your questions until you open your books and prove you’ve paid your rates.

    In the mean time, check out all the public good I’ve been doing recently.

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  56. KevinH (1,236 comments) says:

    To win Epsom you need a name and that can only be Rodney.Secondly you need money a spare hundy thou.

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  57. blondewithaniq (24 comments) says:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/119ec24a-9215-11e0-9e00-00144feab49a.html#ixzz2maHUsQAI

    ‘A nasty man with a knife can injure people. But the harm he can cause is trivial compared with the misery that can be inflicted by those who wield the power of the state. They, more than anyone, must submit to rules. The use they can make of the force at their disposal must be limited and we must know what the limits are.’ Jamie Whyte..

    Quite..
    That will never work with the Key ethos will it? From way before the Tranzrail share ownership memory problem fiasco Mr Key has had the same selectively amnesiac and peculiar relationship with the truth JA Bank’s has had.

    Having read a few of Jamie’s UK articles, I do think he should consider founding his own party, perhaps calling it The Socially Credible Party.Will have at least as much of a chance as Colin Craig did before he ‘joked around ‘ with the media, as Key would like people to believe?
    He almost blew it with his last answer on Climate Change tonight though.
    Politicians’, media’s hot air and Penny definitely having an effect on many, Man o lo and Labrat especially.
    I can almost sense the prickly heat rashes rising from here. Incidentally isnt Libel illegal on Kiwiblog David? I thought you ran a tighter blog than Slater and accusing someone of being the most ‘corrupt’ with some of those who contribute, more farcical than big bruv’s apparent continuing obsessional ‘hots’ for Penny too..
    I’ll answer for her though.
    1.No
    2 No

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  58. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    It’s a bit of a problem alright. There are some principals that may not be able to be overcome.

    First is the absolutely dire state of support for right-wing parties in New Zealand. Act got one hundred votes in the recent by-election, and I heard the party president crowing on the radio about how fantastic that was.

    For one reason or another, New Zealanders have rejected neo-classical liberalism.

    Second problem is finding someone credible enough to pony-up. Today there was a chorus of ‘no interested’, ‘busy’, ‘washing my hair that day’ from the usual reprobates. I am sure there are plenty of others out there with the wherewithal and the desire, but lack the skill and credibility. I’d run but I would NOT like my mother to read some of the stories that are bound to come out; and stealing a dead child’s identity would pale in the light of those!

    The reason for this is tied in with #1, New Zealanders have simply moved on from that sort of economic policy. We have seen the gap between how much work we do and how much we get paid widen further and further. People are becoming more and more cognizant of the fact the predictions of 1984 have simply not come true in many ways. Lets face it, if it weren’t for the one-MP rule, Act, or any political party of a similar ilk, would have been flushed into political oblivion long ago.

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  59. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    ACT got 0.42% in Chch E. But in 2011 we only got 0.34% of the party vote there (no candidate). So you can read what you want into that. It’s a deep red seat for 90 years. A proportionate increase nationwide in 2014 would give ACT another MP

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  60. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    I think there’s hope of salvaging something if Rodney Hide returns. Other than that if they can’t secure him then this party is dead as a dodo/Social Credit.

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  61. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    OneTrack: “I would struggle to think Hyde could come back and give Act credibility after being caught redhanded”

    – yeah, caught red-handed taking his now wife with him on a parliamentary trip like all the other parties do – then and now (including how many on the trip that Hide was on?). We don’t hear anything about those other MPs do we – nah, its ok when the left does it.

    True, but the difference was Rodney Hide made a name for himself out of his self-righteousness on perks abuse. He was even branded as the perk-buster.

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  62. Gwilly (158 comments) says:

    If those on the centre-right want National to remain as the government, they probably need a coalition partner to bring approx 4-5 seats to the table. Perhaps they will secure enough of the vote to govern alone, but I wouldn’t put my house on it, and nor will John Key.

    Looking at the options for National – United Future is dead, the Maori Party (nothing more needs to be said); the Conservative Party is perceived as slightly nutty and too conservative for most, and Craig will scare voters with his too often foot in mouth comments.

    ACT is obviously struggling, we all know that, but the Epsom voters will probably vote for any ACT candidate versus a Labour/NZ First/Greens/Mana government. Hide was well liked by the Epsom voters and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind they would overwhelmingly vote for him again. The only problem is Hide – he is probably enjoying life too much outside politics. Even if Hide rode into town, ACT somehow need to get over the 5% threshold nationally or will it be a mixture of ACT/Conservatives/Maori as coalition partners?

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