My old mate Banksie has announced that he won’t stand again at the next election.
Personally I don’t blame him. The left-wing have worked very hard to get rid of Act as part of their wider strategy to isolate National and have been prepared to use anti-democratic mens to do so. I just wouldn’t be bothered if I was Banksie.
If it were me I’d quit at the end of next week and force a by-election to b held at the end of January. I’d do that for a couple of reasons…one is to make Labour spend even more money on by-elections and second because the toll on the family is just too great. I’d flip the bird and go on my way in life.
The Herald reports:
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Act leader John Banks will not seek re-election in the 2014 general election.
The news was posted to the Act website by president John Boscawen soon after 10am this morning. (more…)
On Friday Deputy General Secretary Policy of the PPTA Bronwyn Cross opened the front door to the raving lunacy of an organisation that purports to represent NZ Secondary School teachers.
This is also the organisation having the major influence on the Green/Labour education “strategy”.
Here is a summary:
1) You are not allowed to ask them a question, to justify their position or to support anything with research or references (normal practice in a good school). It is also okay to treat people like they are stupid when they ask a question (interesting role modelling for educators).
Cross: “I will try to unscramble your points but I do not intend to enter into a dialogue with you about them.”
2) Yes – some Charter Schools do well overseas – but any money going to anything but a PPTA controlled school is theft.
Charter school results are a mixed bag but overall there is no good evidence that they do any better than the schools they are pinching resources and funding from.
3) Actually trying to motivate and encourage children to learn is a waste of time.
Cross: “Long experience in the classroom has taught me that you can’t teach someone something they don’t want to learn.” (more…)Comment On This Article
There are some really thick people in the Act party…Chris Simmons is one of those.
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[F]ormer Act president Chris Simmons is eying the blue-ribbon electorate of Pakuranga, in East Auckland – but he has a battle on his hands.
National’s Maurice Williamson, the local MP since 1987 and now a minister outside cabinet, had considered standing down to contest the Auckland mayoral election. (more…)
John Banks was interviewed on Q+A about charter schools. It seems they are on track:
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Act Party leader John Banks says there won’t be any changes to legislation around the controversial partnership schools despite opposition parties continuing their objections to elements of the bill such as allowing unqualified teachers.
The Education Amendment Bill, which would establish charter schools, known as partnership schools, was expected to pass in Parliament with the support of National, Act and the Maori Party.
Mr Banks told TVNZ’s Q+A programme today it was not insignificant the Maori Party would want to support the bill.
“Because every second young Maori leaves school after 12 years of schooling without NCEA level 2, no numeracy or literacy.”
He said the Maori Party had not asked for any changes to the bill in exchange for their support of it. (more…)
Asssociate Professor of being a Drama Queen at huge taxpayer expense at Auckland University – Peter O’Connor – clearly feels he is running short of attention so it now putting out his own press releases on Voxy.
At least in this one he acknowledges that Maori (at 23% behind non-Maori) have been long-term screwed over by the NZEI/PPTA system.
Associate Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland says that the Act Party’s cynical manipulation of Maori disaffection with the current education system means the future of the charter school experiment now rests on an unlikely alliance between ACT and the Maori Party. (more…)
ACT is a having a relaunch this weekend at Alan Gibb’s Farm. It appears that after twenty years of giving the ACT party donors are still willing to keep giving, although this may be because someone asks them to give, unlike National where no one asks donors to give and they just tax electorates.
The Act Party is holding a “rejuvenation” conference today at the Kaukapakapa sculpture farm of wealthy benefactor and founding father Alan Gibbs.
Former MP John Boscawen, also a wealthy businessman, takes over today as the party’s full-time campaigning and fund-raising president in a bid to prevent the party sliding into oblivion.
The aim at next year’s election is to get get five per cent of the party vote and to keep the seat of Epsom – and to tell the voting public that without Act, National might have to rely on a deal with the Maori Party.
The problem for ACT is not money. ACT has often had more money than National, and has usually had the highest dollar spend per vote, and still has not provided a particularly good return on investment. (more…)Comment On This Article
Freedom In Christchurch appears to have a different meaning.
The reception Act candidate Gareth Veale received at this week’s Christchurch ‘democracy’ rally is disgusting. Even though he was there supporting the cause.
The full version is here, but here are a couple of extracts.
These people were chanting ‘freedom’, before they shouted down a supportive speaker because of his political affiliation.
D’oh.Comment On This Article
Teachers annoy the crap out of me. They think that they are the only ones entitled and capable fo commenting on education. While they demand obeisance and silence in their own classrooms they behave like petulant children when in a grown up environment. This is why they should be safely ignored and progress made on Charter Schools without their input which will be entirely negative and disruptive.
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South Auckland and Christchurch had been mooted as ideal sites for future charter schools, but the proposal received a decidedly hostile reception when Isaac spoke to 400 people, mainly educationalists, at the Otahuhu Town Hall this week.
DERISIVE LAUGHTER and cat-calls punctuated Isaac’s speech. Amid accusations that the Act Party’s agenda was driving Government education policy, the party’s former president and candidate insisted she genuinely wanted to help kids who were failing under the present system.
Of course, implementing charter schools is Act policy and is part of the confidence and supply agreement the party signed with the Government. The appointment of a former Act apparatchik, described as “cronyism” by Labour, is no accident.
And those factors set the tone for a heated meeting.
“It wasn’t a community meeting; it was a political meeting,” Isaac says now of the high tempers at Otahuhu hall on Monday night.
“They were a little unruly, especially since they were teachers. I don’t imagine they behave like that in the classroom,” she adds.
Otahuhu College principal Gil Laurenson was at the meeting and confirms “it degenerated into a bit of a slanging match”.
He wanted solid information about the proposal but came away frustrated. “I don’t think that meeting advanced the debate around charter schools.”
Jane Clifton discusses the dissonance between Colin Craig, the Conservatives and a bunch of media patsies running stories based on dodgy polls:
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he believes young New Zealand women put it about far too much, because a couple of polls – of uncertain methodology – say so. And, of course, he would. Because a touching faith in opinion polls of uncertain methodology may well be the only reason his opinion, as the leader of a small unelected party, is deemed of interest. This may be the first time a party has literally – and there’s no other word for it – bullshitted itself into a public profile. Going into the last election, the Conservative Party was a sideline oddity, based on Craig’s modest profile as an unsuccessful Auckland mayoral candidate, until word got around of a poll showing Act was in trouble in Epsom.
The source of the word about the poll? The Conservative Party, which had its eye on Act’s voters – such as they were by then. Then word got around of another poll, showing Craig ahead in the Rodney electorate. Source of the poll? Again, the Conservative Party. Well, good news should be shared, shouldn’t it? In the rush of the election campaign, the provenance of the polls was never examined by the media. But it did transpire, under the beady eye of blogger Whale Oil – until then not unsupportive of Craig – that the pollster was a person quite high up on the Conservative Party list. Then out came the Horizon poll, which I’m going to call a “poll”, because it’s a self-selecting online survey, which is to the art of polling what a $10 Rolex from a street vendor in Rome is to the art of horology. And lo and behold, this “poll” showed support for the Conservative Party had soared and it had a viable chance of getting to Parliament.
This factoid got onto the media treadmill, and in general commentary it quickly became a given that the party was a player. This was despite the party having openly emailed its supporters telling them to vote in the “poll”, and despite other parties’ supporters having obviously participated in stacking the same “poll” in the past. The robustness of the methodology used in the polls of Epsom and Rodney that the party touted is unknown. But history tells us Act was not in trouble in Epsom (although a poll of local retailers would have undoubtedly found a surge in the sale of nose-pegs), and Craig missed out on Rodney by a fairly convincing 12,000 votes. This whole scenario might strike the average fair-minded reader as beastly unfair and unbecomingly sly. Say what you like about the Act Party, at least it achieved its most recent opinion poll result of 00.00% by its own genuine and scientifically measured efforts.
In the last election the media had the biggest and game changing effect on the election. Instead of reporting the news, they actually participated in making it. The role of the fourth estate is not to manufacture news and yet that is precisely what they did when it became apparent that Labour was missing in action as an opposition.Comment On This Article
The continuation of David Garrett’s guest posts on the Rise and Fall of the Act Party.
Decline and fall ? Part III
In April 2011 Rodney Hide told Don Brash he would support Brash as leader of ACT, thus putting to an end what was in effect a hostile takeover, and the public washing of dirty laundry which was by then occurring almost daily. Things came to a head rather quickly, which meant the “setup” the day after the leadership change was odd, to say the least.
Brash was the leader of a party he had joined two days before, but had no seat in the House. Rodney and John Boscawen were both MP’s and Ministers of the Crown. Brash wanted Rodney gone – from parliament if not the earth – because Brash viewed Hide as “toxic”, and the proximate cause of all of ACT’s problems. In his imagined perfect world, Hide would simply disappear, and be replaced as MP for Epsom by John Banks, a man who did not seem any kind of “fit” with many of ACT’s principles.
However, Hide had the confidence of the Prime Minister, and was also committed to being the “best MP for Epsom”, a position he had won and then held at two successive general elections. He saw no reason to resign from either position, and in my view he was quite justified in seeing things that way. Whether one agreed or disagreed with Hide’s strategic view, there had never been any question of his competence or work rate, either as a Minister or an MP.
The situation was ripe for the kind of shambles that is now ironically being played out a year or so later – an ongoing and unwelcome distraction for the government, and daily further ignominy for ACT. Thankfully for all concerned, fate had delivered John Boscawen as Deputy Leader of the Party, a man disliked by no-one important, and trusted by anyone who mattered as an honest broker.
One could write another book – albeit an unsaleable one – on the machinations which occurred in an attempt to resolve the apparent impasse. When the smoke cleared, Brash had agreed not to continue trying to rid himself of Hide “by lunch time”, Hide had agreed to step down at the 2014 election, Boscawen became the leader of the parliamentary caucus, and the bit players continued their roles.
While all this was happening, back at party HQ Brash was selling the idea of his mate Banks succeeding Hide as candidate and then MP for Epsom. Those with much longer track records in ACT than me remain puzzled how Brash convinced the Board to accept Banks as the vehicle for bringing Brash himself, and presumably one or two others into parliament at the 2014 election.
Everyone else has a theory, so here’s mine. Brash had promised the Board two things if he was leader of the Party. First, that he would bring in large sums of money which would not be forthcoming if Hide remained. Second, he would increase the Party’s vote at the election later in the year to at least 15%. It is hugely ironic given the public perception of ACT as “the rich pricks party” that in the first quarter of 2011 it was as usual broke, and scrabbling to pay the bills.
We now know that the party managed to raise and spend almost $1.3 million at the 2011 election. Presumably, some of that money had begun to flow in as soon as Brash became leader. If so, it seems credible to assume that the Board were persuaded that Brash was indeed the new messiah – after all he had pulled off a coup that had seemed laughable only weeks before, and his promises of being able to deliver money were coming to fruition. Surely a party vote of 15% – Brash apparently thought it would be more like 40% – was as deliverable as the money? As long as they followed the prescription of the good doctor.
So Banks was confirmed as MP in waiting in Epsom, and the train clattered on, its couplings increasingly strained, but still in one piece. For a while, it must have seemed that the storm clouds had cleared, and after November 2011, there would be a solid ACT caucus of Brash, Banks, John Boscawen and two or three others. Senior ACToids have apparently always been very optimistic.
Then, a new bombshell. John Boscawen announced he would not contest the election and would retire from politics “to spend more time with his family”, a well used political cliché normally employed to cover up something sinister. Since John is unmarried and has no children, it was assumed by the feverish media that the real reason for John’s decision must surely be something else. Wrong again. John meant exactly what he said, and knowing him as I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had to explain to him what the cliche normally meant.
For me, the next seemingly inexplicable decision was to abandon the Party’s law and order focus completely in favour of education and the usual “market forces and deregulation” economic policies. This despite the Party having achieved a major victory in the “three strikes” legislation, and for that and other reasons, having the tacit support of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, probably New Zealand’s most effective lobby group.
The appointment of a 25 year old university student as Justice Spokesman, and the concurrent release of some totally silly policies led quickly to Garth McVicar publicly telling his supporters that ACT had lost its way, and urging them to consider which other party best articulated SST’s goals. This was a not-so-subtle steer in the direction of the fledging Conservatives. The result? ACT got a lower Party vote than the Mana Party, and the Conservatives – which none of the pundits had taken seriously – got 2.8%, six months after being formed. Coincidence? Who knows.
Then three months after the worst election result in its history, the Banks fiasco. A week is certainly a long time in politics, and who knows what the coming sitting week will bring. Every political columnist has a theory or a prediction. The end of the week could see anything from Banks resigning from parliament – which in my view is unlikely – to the vultures in the mainstream media finding some new sideshow upon which to demonstrate how far the fourth estate has fallen since the likes of Ian Templeton or even Barry Soper began their careers as political journalists.
I understand that much of the debacle surrounding Banks stems from his refusal to take advice – which must surely have been to STFU and keep his head down. As Rodney Hide noted last Sunday, Banks is a politician from another era. He was used to Ministers giving press conferences – from which they might exclude journos they didn’t like. He was used to a time when journalists called Ministers “Mister” and wouldn’t dream of chasing them through building lobbies thrusting microphones up their noses. He must think he has mysteriously found himself elected to a foreign and not the New Zealand parliament. As they say, the past is another country.
Can ACT survive all this? Who knows. Hide and others have pointed out that ACT has been written off many times, but Phoenix like, somehow always rises again. For what it is worth, I doubt it can survive the collective blows inflicted on it which I have traversed in these three posts. Even if it does manage to stay alive to contest the next election, if the Conservative Party can avoid being branded “just another bunch of God botherers” and do significantly better than ACT in 2014, I believe, with some sadness, that would indeed be the final ACT, and the end of a remarkable story.Comment On This Article