ACT Leadership round-up

There is much writing about the ACT leadership issue, both on blogs and in the MSM:

Thick skin Hide’s undoing by Tracy Watkins in the DomPost:

It had long been accepted that asking Epsom voters to hold their nose and tick Hide risked doing the National brand more damage than it promised to help ACT.

ACT’s woes are many and legion – Hide’s refusal to see anything wrong with his law and order spokesman David Garrett stealing a dead baby’s identity; his total lack of remorse for charging the cost of overseas travel with his girlfriend (now wife) back to the taxpayer; the grandstanding during coalition negotiations, the various bungled attempts to bring the ACT leadership issue to a head, and the unpopular super-city legislation among them. If the party were a horse, they’d shoot it.

In fact, that was precisely the thinking among many on the Right for much of the year.

Brash’s move comes after months of rumours that a new Right-wing party might emerge from the ACT debacle.

…Brash is potentially one of the few who could rally a sizeable force behind him fairly rapidly and also attract the level of dosh that is needed to get a new party off the ground. The turning point in Dr Brash’s thinking appears to have been talk that the Government intends scrapping his cherished 2025 taskforce, whose ideas National ministers have collectively pooh-poohed.

But so long as a heart continued to beat within ACT, launching a new party was always a high-risk option. It would be battling against the famously stubborn and thick-skinned Hide, who would have the advantage of a platform in Parliament and a guaranteed seat around the table at the televised leaders’ debates. Better to take over ACT and reinvent it from the inside out.

Expect the rebranding exercise to involve more than a change at the top if Brash succeeds in his ambitious gambit – a name change is also likely, though for now that seems to be closely under wraps.

Sounds awfully like Tracy Watkins has some good inside oil there.

John Armstrong: Time for Hide to walk the plank:

The political graffiti are now writ large on the wall for Rodney Hide’s leadership of Act after the apparent Easter rising within the party. Hide has to go.

It is most unlikely that Don Brash would be making such a public pitch for his job as leader without some kind of guarantee from Hide’s opponents that they now have the numbers to dump the incumbent.

Even if he has no such guarantee – the putative putsch still seems to be at a preliminary and somewhat tentative stage – Brash is making an offer the rest of the five-strong Act caucus simply cannot refuse.

Easter is all about resurrection.

In Act’s (currently hopeless) case, Brash alone offers the possibility of recovery from its basement-level poll ratings.

As predicted by me last night, Derek Cheng is running the lines supplied by loyal lieutenant Brian Nicolle, that Don Brash is old and tired. The funny thing here is that the Hreald can spend $100,000 with high priced top end of town lawyers to overturn Mark Hotchin’s name suppression but it is clear they didn’t spend a cent asking Mai Chen for an opinion or even get Derek Cheng to read and understand ACT’s constitution and rules which is conveniently online.

Lindsay Mitchell has put up an interesting post about the ageist lines being run from the bunker.

Seventy is not “very old”. In fact, believing that says more about the outlook of the person who said it than the subject of the claim. The statement tends to fall into that collectivist-thinking basket of ideas I hate so much. It’s ageist. Some people in their seventies may be very old – near death’s door because of physical and mental ailments and deteriorating health. Others have good health, sound minds and decades of life experience under their belts. Above all they have a living memory of a New Zealand when values were different. Some better, some worse. But some worth reviving as universal. Like possesion of a work ethic.

And here’s another thing. The population is ageing. For those who don’t properly comprehend that term – possibly the owner of the ageist attitude – the proportion of people over 65 is growing in relation to those under. And they all have a vote. And life expectancy is growing. So a growing percentage of voters are less likely to judge a politician on their age – at least, having too much of it.

She also makes the very obvious point about Don Brash’s appeal to ACT supporters.

Brash has been upfront about what he wants. There is only room for one party that wants less government involvement in the economy so he has to try and use the ACT vehicle first. Anyone that has been around ACT for any length of time knows the high regard supporters hold him in. So if he just went ahead and formed his own party he will decimate ACT’s vote anyway. In that context his strategy is fair to current ACT players.

The point remains too that those supporters of ACT that left for National when Don Brash was in charge never returned once he was gone. They stayed with National and John Key and shunned the Rodney Hide led ACT party.

Don Brash may be seventy but right now he would still get back into parliament with some ACT MPs  where as Rodney Hide would be 55 and unemployed and so would his party and all their MPs.


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  • tooright

    Good post. Watkins and Armstrong are on the mark.

    Hide is shortly to be a hide.

  • harris

    Don Brash didn’t look “very old” or tired to me in his Q+A interview:

    In fact it was Guyon Espiner who was looking and sounding tired. Perhaps Guyon was simply recovering from a Big Night Out with Darren Hughes and the cast of Glee.

  • Is it just me, or is Guyon Espiner a condescending, rude cunt?

    • hagues

      Its not just you.

  • hagues

    “ACT’s woes are many and legion – Hide’s refusal to see any­thing wrong with his law and order spokesman David Gar­rett steal­ing a dead baby’s iden­tity; his total lack of remorse for charg­ing the cost of over­seas travel with his girl­friend (now wife) back to the tax­payer”

    What complete and utter bullshit. There is a world of difference between recognising that someone has learnt from their error made half a lifetime ago and has changed their ways to saying that they don’t “see any­thing wrong” with what was done. Likewise the way she talks about “total lack of remorse” makes it sound like Rodney did not acknowledge that he did not meet the high expectations he has nor does it acknowledge he repaid the money. Rodney is not perfect but we don’t need this revisionist crap from what are supposed to be impartial journalists.

    • Impartial? Surely you jest.

      Garrett did not ‘steal a dead baby’s identity’. Did he rock up to the parents’ place and say ‘Hi, I’m your long-lost dead baby’? No he damn well didn’t. He used the name and other details of a deceased infant to fraudulently obtain a passport. A crime for which he paid the price.

      As for Hide taking the girlfriend on a trip, that was within the fucking rules and was something plenty of National and Liarbore scum have done before and since.

      The only reason ACT are targeted in this way by the LSM is because ACT oppose their Progressive meme in a way the National of Quisling Key do not. That’s why ‘ACT’ is almost always preceded by the adjective ‘Far Right’ while the Watermelons are never called ‘Far Left’. They did the same to Brash as leader of National, and there is no reason to expect they won’t repeat themselves with Brash as either leader of ACT or a new party.

      The LSM are scum, plain and simple. Propagandists who should be made to place the Liarbore Party sponsorship statement (the one missing from the ‘Stop’ signs) at the front of every broadcast.

      • Agree ACT are not far right. That is the meme run by the pinkos and the media. Some of the best political discussion I have had about solutions for solving New Zealand’s ills have been with ACT party members and genuine good guys like Gooner and others.

        The pity is that these guys aren’t the ones in parliament representing ACT.

        • “The pity is that these guys aren’t the ones in par­lia­ment rep­re­sent­ing ACT”

          Absolutely agree Whale. ACT have been their own worst enemy with their confused message and attempts at self-immolation.

          • cadwallader

            The original reasons for ACT’s establishment has long been forgotten by the parliamentary wing of the Party. (Apparently even by Roger Douglas…)

      • peterwn

        Sorry, Gantt, Using a deceased person’s identity is ‘stealing’ it. It is taking away something intangible associated with the deceased’s soul and is as upsetting as theft of a plaque from a grave (I was disgusted a few years ago to find it happened to my grandmother’s neighbour’s grave – he was a WW1 veteran and a lovely gentleman – they lived next door to each other in life and in the cemetary). Incidentally DIA/ Police do inform the family of the deceased when someone attempts to steal his or her identity for passports etc.

  • gooner

    What hagues said – complete bullshit that piece of writing by Watkins.

  • heyjude

    Whatever David Garrett actually did-and yes – it has certainly been skewed by the media, the fact is that the women of Epsom are disgusted by it. ACT spin doctors can spin all they like, but that is the truth. Rodney Hide has said privately that he just doesn’t understand what the big deal is, that says alot about his ability to judge human nature…and perhaps understand the female voter?

  • davidgarrett

    They say the first casualty of war is truth…I want to put on the record – because the MSM wont do it – that the ENTIRE ACT caucus, including Goldilocks who was in the room when I disclosed it – knew about my foolishness 27 years ago. I told them they must assume it would come out; that too many people knew about it. The universal reaction was that it was so long ago it was irrelevant, and that if it did emerge, they would ride it out.

    So commentators here might as well say “Roger Douglas/heather roy/ John Boscawen knew about Garrett’s past and were unconcerned by it.” They ALL knew, and none of them were concerned.

    • Thanks for that clarification David. And you are right…they all knew…and not one of them thought what would happen when it came out…except you.

      Unfortunately politics is about perception and perception becomes reality…which is why a politician should always be in control of the message, otherwise someone else will tell the story and get their message across.

      In all these stuff ups the message was not and has not been controlled leading to the perception, rightly or wrongly, that ACT and in particular Rodney are out of touch. A circuit breaker is needed because right now the electorate have their metaphoric fingers in their ears and are screaming lalalalalal at anything ACT and Rodney has to say.

      • davidgarrett

        With considerable sadness Cam, I think you may be right about the “circuit breaker” thing…But what scenario is credible involving Brash as that circuit breaker? Who would his deputy be? The blonde one would be white anting him within minutes of accepting the post; John B doesn’t have the experience to make up for Brash’s shortcomings…and if Roger changed his mind and stayed on….”Two elderly men at ACT’s helm” would be the headline…

        Hilary? A woman from the south…but even less experience than John….

        Which only leaves Rodney as deputy to Brash…might work I suppose…

        • Trevor Mallard

          Yes please

          • Trevor, Brash taking over ACT with anyone as his deputy, up to and including Sadam Hussein, will only serve to make your pack of useless fuckwits even less relevant. Remember what he did to you in 2005 when you had an effective leader? How you only won the election through massive electoral fraud? You really fancy another go with a completely ineffectual leadership team?

            And David, I would not expect Brash to come in alone. If he’s smart, and he’s about the smartest guy in the room no matter who else is in there, he’ll convince some real talent like Muriel Newman and Lindsay Mitchell to rejoin the fray.

            The only people who should be more scared about this possibility than Quisling Key and the Dipton Double Dipper are Phil Goff and his conga-line of suckholes.

  • davidgarrett

    Gantt Guy: Bringing in Lindsay or Muriel is all very well after the election (leaving aside for a moment little details like who decides ACT’s list, and the feelings/reaction of the current caucus) but I am talking about him surviving UNTIL the election…I know only too well what he would face…

    Trevor: nice to see you here…Now that Darren is gone, Hide outperforms ANY of your team in the House – even on an off day – and you well know it….

    • I had assumed (without evidence either in favour or otherwise) that Brash would as a minimum want a significant say in choosing the list leading up to the election. Has the list been determined already? One would assume not – a new CEO normally reserves the right to choose his own executive team.

      Douglas is retiring. Roy must go. Boscawen should stay on – he is a safe pair of hands for Deputy. Calvert? Not sure, but she’s performed pretty well so far. However, neither Boscawen nor Calvert could match Newman or Mitchell for political prowess. If he could persuade Newman to come back, she would present a clear succession (in the event Boscawen falters, or reveals himself to not be leadership material).

      • TGG – I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that Act’s constitution defines how the list is picked, and that it is done for more democratically than just what the leader wants.

        • Understood and accepted, I2, but in times of great upheaval there are the nice words written in the constitution, and then there is the survival of the party. Brash won’t be coming in and saying ‘right, you guys have done a great job with the list so far. Bringing Roy in in favour of Newman and Mitchell was a master-stroke. Why don’t you go again, and I’ll just wait it out on the sidelines.’

          • paranormal

            I2 is correct, the Act constitution sets out how the list is selected in committee, however the leader has huge influence in that list.

  • davidgarrett

    Gantt: You are still overlooking two fundamental truths: a week is a long time in politics (as I know only too well); and its seven months until Brash could “bring” anyone into the House…including himself.

    • True enough Sir. Good point, well made.

      I will choose to remain hopeful, for I believe Brash is one of the few able to save NZ from herself and the third-world future which decades of socialism have decreed for her.

  • gooner

    Some of the best polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion I have had about solu­tions for solv­ing New Zealand’s ills have been with ACT party mem­bers and gen­uine good guys like Gooner and others.

    And you too Cam. We can solve the world’s problems in a day I reckon.


  • james

    David….start your own party and I’ll vote for you.As to the good Women of Epsom….fuck em.

  • cactuskate1

    I might get excited about this if Ruth Richardson was coming back.

    • Now you’re REALLY talking about the Ghost of Budgets Past!

    • cadwallader

      What is Ruth doing these days? I have not heard her name aligned to the re-construction of CHCH but understand she still resides in Canterbury.