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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  • davidgarrett

    I remember Hide – whose skills I have enormous respect for – telling me early on that the one thing that was fatal in politics is lying…It’s well established that if you lie to your leader or your caucus you are gone..

    The way this thing is developing, the mystery “third man in the room” at the meeting at which the leadership thing was discussed will soon emerge…if Rodney has lied, then by his own dictum he is dog tucker…

  • heyjude

    the “third man” in the room was probably one of Rodney Hides sycophants and so is unlikely to ever come clean with the truth.

    • abjv

      We could run a poll on who the ‘third man’ was. Some suggestions…
      a) Peter Goodfellow
      b) Colin Craig
      c) Darren Hughes

  • gooner

    Reading the article it is obvious that nothing was “offered” to Brash. They couldn’t have been because input from caucus and the board would have been required. Hide was in no position to offer anything and didn’t. All that occurred were that suggestions were made. And Brash doesn’t seem to have liked the suggestions. He is the one being economical with the truth.

  • cactuskate1

    The big news here is that Rodney was in a Burger King?

    • I don’t think he fits that Yellow coat anymore

      • Was it the same BK where Shane and Parekura ducked in for a feed during the Supercity hikoi? If it is, this could be a major conspiracy developing …

  • gooner

    Ha ha, nice one.

  • peterwn

    The main thing here is ‘The Golden Rule’ – ‘He who hath the gold maketh the rules’. It now all depends on whether ACT’s main ‘moneybags’ will switch their money to whatever party is led by Don.

  • tooright

    Rodney’s dog tucker.

    As for his next job….his mates will look out for him.

    He’s an environmental economist isn’t he? I pick he’ll end up at Watercare Services before the year is out.

  • gazzaw

    Not sure if this is really the right forum but here goes anyway. I have been reading the blogs & posts over Easter regarding Act with great interest. There’s a lot of wisdom spoken here from some very astute political observers but I am wondering whether we are not seeing the wood for the trees over this issue. I am not arguing for a minute that there is not a need for a party to the right of the Nats but I really wonder whether the electorate at large is really desirous of voting for a party that promises a long period of blood, sweat, tears and straight out austerity. They might accept that message if delivered by JK but not by Brash or Banks & certainly not Hide.
    I’m not convinced that even the Epsom voters are heart & soul behind halting our burgeoning national debt or the ‘one race, one people’ message from Brash. JK, ever the pragmatist can still do this election alone or with minimal support.

    A lot is being made of Banks’ popularity and that may well be true in Remuera & Epsom heartlands but the Epsom electorate extends way beyond those boundaries. Brash is largely perceived wrongly as an ageing nerd (witness the endless media shots of the plank walking and the Waitangi mudpat flinch) and Banks is disliked in Auckland and detested south of the Bombays. Much is being made of Act’s backers – the general public do not know who they are & will be viewed with suspicion much as the Exclusive Brethren were in 2008. Times have changed dramatically since 2008 – thousands of finance company investors, once Act supporters, now impoverished and surviving week to week on National Super won’t countenance a shift to the Right & neither will their families now faced with financially supporting their ageing parents. Baby boomers will not tolerate a shifting of the goalposts of the retirement age and finally why would the Gen Y voters support any change in the terms of their student loans or their repayments?

    Neither Act nor a Reform Party will be around come 27 November.

    • In which case, Gazzaw, New Zealand is fucked. Last one out, please shut off the lights.

      • gazzaw

        You’ll be right behind me Gantt!

        • Too late friend. The Klarkenfuhrer chased me out in 2003 and I’ve been in economic exile ever since!

    • giblet

      The crux of the matter rests on whether National has enough support to govern alone after the next election. Or does it need to forgo one seat (Epsom) so ACT can bring two, maybe three MP’s into Parliament.

      On Morning Report today Deborah Coddington made the point that on current polling ACT could only return 2-3 MP’s to Parliament and that that the remaining MP’s Roy and Calville, (Douglas is retiring), have no chance of returning to Parliament, but their caucus vote will determine ACT’s fate.

  • schmoepooh

    Hilary is swinging. Whats the bet she has a ministerial position in the next Key coalition.