Last night was the first of the “Meet the Candidate” events in Epsom. Here’s the feedback from Whale;s spies who were at the meeting.
There were three performances worth remarking on.
First was the performance of John Banks, whose successful candidacy for ACT is critical if ACT are to make it back into the next Parliament. Banksie, the warhorse, didn’t disappoint, with a number of people noting his strong performance last night. He handled the heckling from the Labour Party thug squad with tact and humour, and stayed on message with his “strategic voting” line – “A vote for me will help John Key”.
Second was the performance of the Labour and Green thug squad, whose heckling probably served the interests of Banks and ACT by effectively disrupting and unnerving National candidate Paul Goldsmith. Active, noisy and in good numbers, the Red and Green hecklers were enthusiastic to the point of counterproductive for their cause. Though his volunteers aren’t likely to listen to any instructions, David Parker might want to restrain his hecklers if he wants them to be more effective. Right now they are proving to all that labour are the nasty party.
Lastly, Paul Goldsmith failed his first major outing in front of the public, by fluffing key lines and showing visible signs of agitation in front of a concerted effort by the Labour and Green thug squad. However, this public speaking collapse may have been all part of the plan to help show Banks as a superior candidate and thus win him votes for his crucial tilt. Nevertheless, if Goldsmith overdoes his incompetency he might accidentally start losing party votes, which would be a no-no. Having some National supporters turn up to cheer on Goldsmith might help his confidence too.