Guest Post – David Garrett – EXCLUSIVE

Exclusive to Whaleoil a Guest Post from David Garrett. It is published unedited.

At the beginning of – and  several times during – my short but eventful career, that consummate politician Rodney Hide told me that if I wanted things to be fair, I should go and find another game. Many of Rodney’s supposed wrong doings illustrate that dictum. His trip to London with his then girlfriend  was entirely  within the rules – but he was rightly criticized for hypocrisy given his “perk buster” persona. It was public perception that was important, not whether his trip was within the rules.

His alleged “cover up” of my past foolishness was neither a cover up  nor his at all: as the Whale noted this morning, the entire caucus – and a member of the Board – knew about it before I stood,  and  they all made the judgment call that it was so long ago it didn’t matter. They were wrong. The public – and of course the scandal driven media – decided that it did matter, regardless of the fine details.

Fair or not, those “scandals”, Hides alleged bullying of Heather Roy, and his failure to deliver to  ACT supporters all they (unreasonably) expected from ACT being part of the government, have all  resulted in him losing popularity, both in Epsom and the wider electorate. Just how unpopular is unclear; at the time of writing, TV news featured a “leaked confidential poll” allegedly showing Hide running a poor third to Brash and John Banks in a theoretical contest for Epsom.  But then there have been leaked documents of dubious authenticity emerging from ACT – and indeed other parties – before now. Some reading this will no doubt know if the poll – the third in a series supposedly – is bona fide or a jackup.

In one of the sound bites he is so good at, Hide said tonight his focus was doing the best thing  for the party, the prime minister, and the country. If I am any judge, there is no doubt that Hide truly believes he is the best person to lead the party – and not  just because of his ego. All politicians are egotistical – how else could you justify putting yourself forward to make laws for other people?

Who would be best, for the party and the country – Brash or Hide? That is not an easy question. For me, watching Rodney and other politicians on TV apparently calmly handling questions is like watching the proverbial duck serenely travelling across the pond with no hint of the furious activity below the surface.  Only those who have been intimately involved  in the game know  what preparation goes into the duck’s serene traverse.

As a political operator, Hide is superb, with very good instincts for what will fly –  and perhaps more importantly, what won’t. In this regard, in  my view   Hide is   much better than Brash. Hide  doesn’t always get it right, but who does? Teflon John Key has also  dropped clangers like cannibal jokes at an iwi dinner, and not being “across” the issue of the new BMW’s. But to pretend Rodney is not hugely damaged by the events of last year would  be wilfully blind. In a very recent communication to supporters, he says he does not “have his head in the sand” regarding his present predicament. I don’t know; he can be wilfully blind.

For me, Brash has a couple of significant  pluses. Firstly, he appeals to  three significant segments of ACT support: the “economic literates” who founded the party; the “law and order” group, which was pushing three strikes long before I came along; and perhaps just as importantly now, those who strongly believe in “one law for all” and an end to race based laws and division of resources. For reasons I never understood, ACT was always scared of confronting that issue head on.

As a party and a caucus, ACT  were  and probably remain terrified of being labelled racist – seeming not to see that in the present climate, regardless of how reasoned and reasonable they sound, they would be labelled racist anyway. Brash seemingly is prepared to run that risk because the issue is so important, and I applaud him for that.

Both Hide and Brash  come with  great strengths – one of the reasons I find it easy to believe Hide offered Brash co-leadership.  Hide is smart, and knows what Brash could bring to the party.  Sadly, a showdown now appears inevitable, and to me that is a situation fraught with peril. Just as the prospect of two left wing parties delights those on the right, the prospect of the remains of ACT fighting it out with  a new Brash led vehicle is great news for the left.

So, who is best equipped to lead the right? For all his limits, probably Brash; he says he is going to form another party anyway, and he strikes me as a man who says what means. And the raw reality is he also  appears to have  the vital financial backers.  Just as ACT can’t be “the Rodney Hide Party”, even Alan Gibbs will not go on funding a losing horse forever. If Brash is to be believed – and he does not strike me as a man who is slick enough to lie convincingly – other financial backers have put their money on him and not Hide.

There has been another crucial development today – Key has not ruled out working with Brash, whether as ACT leader or as the leader of a new party. That is a significantly different  stance from his unwavering refusal to consider Roger Douglas as a Minister.

As Hide told me, politics isn’t fair. It’s often not sensible either.



THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • paranormal

    Wise words David. Good to see you commenting. Unfortunately for Rodney I think it’s not just the public that have lost faith in him.

    Sorry I couldn’t talk in Queen Street the other week.

  • Mr Blobby

    Act is just another sideshow in the MMP Circus.

    • davidgarrett

      Well, get used to it. Half the electorate has never known anything other than MMP, and half of the remainder dont yearn for the elected dictatorships that FPP produced for 50 years.

  • jimbob

    MMP will not last in it’s current form, as it will be dumped for something else, or significantly modified. FPP is long dead.

  • “Just as the prospect of two left wing par­ties delights those on the right, the prospect of the remains of ACT fight­ing it out with a new Brash led vehi­cle is great news for the left.”

    This is bs. ACT have never really been a right wing party. They’re essentially a pack of liberals and totally confused about their political direction. This is the basic reason they’re at such a low point in the polls.

    A new party started by Brash will have the clear direction ACT always lacked, and there will not be any battle because ACT doesn’t have the ammunition. They are finished.

    And I hope David you’re not planning on being a part of Brash’s new party. We need people with real guts, ready to fight and defeat the left. Not cave weakly after a bit of manufactured criticism from their media allies. Your pathetic collapse over the entirely false “stealing a dead baby’s identity” charge was sad to witness.

    We need a NZ Donald Trump. Not of course for Trumps own political confusion, but for his readiness to take the fight to the left and NOT BACK DOWN TO THEIR MEDIA TROOPS AND PROPAGANDA AGENTS. We don’t need any more weepers.

    When you talk to a media person in NZ, there’s a 95% chance you’re talking to a lefty and a cultural Marxist and a Labour supporter. You should remember that when you talk to them.

    Its long past time the right in NZ ripped the facade of objectivity from Labour’s media people and exposed them (to the public) as what they really are. The front line troops for the left. Every interview should be seen as an opportunity to pursue this objective.

    • davidgarrett

      When you are prepared to use your real name dickhead I might respond to your charges. Otherwise you are just another weasel hiding behind a pseudonym who hasnt the first clue about the realities in the bearpit…read todays Herald editorial by any chance?

      • Mr Blobby

        Well said, doesn’t deserve a response.

        I voted for MMP because of the failings of FPP. But the reality is that MMP has not delivered the results required for the country to move forward.

        There are times when somebody needs to be in charge and hard decisions have to be made. Not this wishy washy compromise based on vote buying and trying to get reelected decisions that we see now.

        Three strikes is a classic example so watered down it is 3 strikes in name only. Class A drug offenses should have been included as a minimum, especially as they are a precursor to a whole range of related offending including violence.

        We could start by limiting the term of the Prime Minister and possibly MP’s as well.

        Democracy is far from perfect but is still worlds ahead of the alternatives.

        • davidgarrett

          I beg to differ on 3S Mr Blobby (but then I would, wouldnt I ?)

          Ironically – and it certainly wasnt the intention of the would be “waterers” – we have ended up with a 3S law which has a longer list of strike offences than in my original draft. The trade off was reducing the 25 year to life third strike sentence to the maximum prescribed by law for that offence. Any analysis shows it makes little difference.

          What the waterers wanted to do was to define a strike as a conviction for a listed offence FOR WHICH a sentence of three years or more was imposed. That would not only have watered it down, it would have neutered it. We successfully persuaded Key on that point.

          But I am off topic…

      • “read todays Her­ald edi­to­r­ial by any chance?”

        I’ve got far better things to do that read such weak Progressive propaganda. You should have too, but seeing as how you didn’t even know how to cut and paste a blog comment a few weeks ago I think you’ve got along way to go before you wizen up to the fact that newspapers, a domain controlled almost completely by the left, are a dying industry.

        I know well I’ll never read anything worthwhile on Don Brash in the NZ media. Or see it on TV either. The Progressives who control the media hate Brash.

        Blogs and the internet are where the real information lies. Where intelligent and informed opinion is shaped. Shame you (apparently) haven’t come to that realisation yet.

        • Good grief redbaiter… play the ball, not the man.

        • Mr. Infinity

          Oh, I forgot, redbaiter is completely insane.

          There are many fair arguments against National not being on the right, though I disagree with them I can understand them. If you don’t classify ACT as being on the right, then you really need you head read. Either that, or, you’re letting social issues contaminate your idea of politics – gays, women, racial nonsense, etc; and thinking that unless you have Storm Thurmond’s social views you aren’t a right winger.

          It’s nonsense.

  • thor42

    I think there’s definitely a need for a right-wing party. The Nats have gone well-and-truly centrist recently.
    One thing that I *love* about the right-wing (and I am rabidly right-wing) is that we tend to have, if not a monopoly on the truth, then the vast majority of it. I’m thinking of a number of issues here –
    * The abysmal waste of funds in “Working for Families”
    * The truth that it is **Israel** which is the victim in the Middle East, not the “Palestinians”
    * The long-standing left-wing bias in the MSM (and in the education system)
    * The poor quality of our education system
    * The pathetic excuse that the education system “has failed Maori”. They fail themselves.
    Left-wing parties are all “slogans and sound-bites” with no real answers. Only the right has the ability to actually get the country working as it should do.

  • sexybeast

    Brash symbolises all that Act stands for today….a bunch of frustrated old white guys and a couple of token ladies. I say let the fossil have his day! The party seems doomed anyway.