Hide offered Brash Epsom: Fibbed to the media about

As I predicted last night, the media is turning on Rodney Hide after his rather transparent economy with the truth has been outed by Don Brash. Tracy Watkins is again in the lead on this:

Mr Hide has repeatedly dismissed Dr Brash’s claim that he was offered a co-leadership role in behind-the-scenes talks about lifting ACT out of its current polling doldrums.

But a clearly angry Dr Brash said yesterday the idea was canvassed after a meeting early last month, when he was asked to speak at an ACT-arranged function at the Mecca Cafe in Auckland’s Newmarket.

“We met a few days after that in the centre of town, at a Burger King … Subsequently [Mr Hide] and I met at a [private home].”

He would not name the other person in the room but said it was suggested at that meeting that he be co-leader. Mr Hide would stay on at No 1, he would be No 2 and “[Mr Hide] would look at the possibility of my standing in Epsom instead of him, if polling revealed that I had a considerably higher chance of winning the seat than he did”.

He had told Mr Hide a few days later that he was not prepared to accept the co-leadership on that basis because he believed Mr Hide’s “personal brand” lay behind the party’s poor polling. He never heard back from Mr Hide.

That is pretty specific and pretty damning. As one influential party member put it to me last night in an email:

Rodney’s biggest problem seems to be that he recognised there was a problem by approaching Brash in the first place, but now he’s saying everything is fine with him.

What was so great about getting Brash as co-leader that now doesn’t apply to him being leader?

As I said Rodney was being very economical with the facts about his meetings with Don Brash, so economical that he hadn’t even shared the details with his caucus members or with key board members. Now they can all see who is being honourable and who is not. We also now know that Rodney himself doesn’t think he can win Epsom and is so utterly convinced of this that he tried to recruit Don Brash to stand there instead of him.

Right now the board is staying staunch but emails I am receiving suggests that it is mostly a front, an appearance of unity. Expect now for Brian Nicolle to start running the lines that this is some sort of National party reverse takeover of ACT. Farrar has already started this line of attack albeit a little more subtly. It is a ridiculous accusation on many levels. It is an open secret that John Key and Don Brash have hardly spoken in two years and that Don Brash has largely been shunned by the parliamentary wing of National despite him being the main reason some of them still have seats in the parliament following his recovery of National’s vote in the years after the disaster that was Bill English. Brash in many respects re-built National off of the back of ACT’s support, support that never returned to the Hide-led ACT party once Don Brash departed the scene. Perhaps Don Brash sees returning that support to ACT as the very least he can do and at the same time send a message to the ungrateful National party.

Meanwhile a quick view of the ACT on Campus Facebook page suggests the younger members of the party, those without previous Labour party affiliations are falling in behind Don Brash’s tilt at saving their party.

Right now ACT is between a rock and a hard place, depending on their decision in the next week is the life of their party and their continued representation in parliament. If they bottle this decision then life becomes very, very hard for them.

Sometimes there is only one option: Eject!


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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