Where will ACT’s candidates come from?

ACT is a having a relaunch this weekend at Alan Gibb’s Farm. It appears that after twenty years of giving the ACT party donors are still willing to keep giving, although this may be because someone asks them to give, unlike National where no one asks donors to give and they just tax electorates.

The Act Party is holding a “rejuvenation” conference today at the Kaukapakapa sculpture farm of wealthy benefactor and founding father Alan Gibbs.

Former MP John Boscawen, also a wealthy businessman, takes over today as the party’s full-time campaigning and fund-raising president in a bid to prevent the party sliding into oblivion.

The aim at next year’s election is to get get five per cent of the party vote and to keep the seat of Epsom – and to tell the voting public that without Act, National might have to rely on a deal with the Maori Party.

The problem for ACT is not money. ACT has often had more money than National, and has usually had the highest dollar spend per vote, and still has not provided a particularly good return on investment. 

The problem for ACT is the quality of candidates. Aspiring politicians have seen ACT struggle since inception, and wonder if being an ACT candidate means a huge amount of hard work without getting much chance of making it into parliament. If they do get into parliament they will struggle to survive, and if they manage to make it into a ministry it will likely be a minor one. ACT has never had a minister of finance, or education, or health, or economic development or any of the other major portfolios.

No minor party MP has become Prime Minister, and everyone who becomes an MP believes they can become Prime Minister, so by joining ACT an aspiring MP gives up on ever being Prime Minister

For ACT to recruit good candidates it will have to show them a clear career path into cabinet, and a clear path to a major portfolio. While ACT is languishing at its current poll numbers it is hard for candidates to believe they can have a successful political career.


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  • Pete George

    After Rodney Hide’s act at the conference potential candidates may be cringing. Hide looked at times like a maniac, and also spoke like a maniac:

    They think you must have horns, and hate the poor, and hate the Maori, and hate the unions – well, that’s true.

    And he also called 3 News bastards.

    That was a very strange way to earn back some credibility. It was a very cringy act from Hide.

    Rodney Hide’s ‘hate’ speech

    • Steve R

      Not to mention we still accosiate the money sucking spending frenzy of a council the Auckland has been left with and act/hide together
      We need a right wing party , it’s just we need one we can trust and be proud of

    • I think you are being a bit too much led by the media…see that comma after maori…yeah…that one…new thought about the unions…that is who they hate.

      • Pete George

        Haha, the comma, maybe Rodney can ask 3 News to report the comma tonight, that will undo the damage.

        There wasn’t any comma in “Bastards!”

        • I don’t think 3 News will care…they have a poll to release…someone else is going under the bus

      • Pete George

        In any case there was more to follow.

        Later Jim Hopkins said to Hide “There was a little moment there where you said “Everybody knows Act hates the poor, hates Maori, hates everybody, well it’s true. I just wonder whether you’d like to come back and revisit that.”

        Hide’s response was a resounding “No!”

        He knew how his comments would be seen and he reinforced that with this clear acknowledgement of the intended meaning.

  • StupidDiscus

    Get a grip. The problem with ACT is that it has pissed away any credibility it ever had – when credibility was the only thing going for it.

    Just repeat “ACT MP John Banks” a few times and try to keep a straight face.

    The only quality that matters in a Lisp MP is to shut the fuck up and vote as directed.

    Look at Winston First – no problem there getting elected!

    All this really shows is how terrified some “liberal-tarian” businessmen are of a real Christian Conservative party getting elected.

    • Pete George

      Hide’s ‘hate’ speech is not a good way to earn back credibility.

    • Fred


  • ACT was fine when it started out but was brought undone by brain damaged libertarians and self described liberals (really pseudo-liberals).

    If its got any chance of getting going again, which I doubt, it has to get rid of the idiot Perigo faction, and the pro redefinition of marriage John Banks.

    Anyone who will re-invent themselves to the degree Bank has done is worthless in terms of political principle.

    • parorchestia

      Banks is a liability (what a self-seeking b… he is, I know this from personal experience), and I think ACT is now so tainted in the eyes of voters that it can never recover. Which means a Labour-Greens government next election.
      The only hope is the Conservative Party and we don’t know enough about them to feel safe in voting for them. Are they a narrow evangelical Christian party? Do they know enough economics to be credible? Will they treat people fairly? Will they reward the good and punish the bad unlike governments of late who punish the hard working and reward the druggies and indolent?

    • Patrick

      On that note – name a politician of recent times that has principles – and has managed to stick to them. I am struggling to recall even one. Most pollies undergo an “extreme makeover” especially from what they say in opposition to what they do once in government. Pollies speak with forked tongues.

    • StupidDiscus

      ACT fine when it started out? Get a grip. With Donna Awatere right up on thie list – not to mention the old revanchist communist, Douglas himself.

      Remember: Douglas never touched a cent of welfare: all that work was done by Ruth.

      Leftertarians are just another species of leftists – however “right wing” they may pretend to be. The problem in NZ is not a lack of liberty: it is the opposite: a surfeit of liberty and a dearth of responsibility.

  • bevanjs

    “Just repeat “ACT MP John Banks” a few times and try to keep a straight face.” – Sums it up for me.

  • bevanjs

    If only Rodney had stayed fat, focused and formidable.

    • blazer

      has always been Gibbs glove puppet.

    • Patrick

      He did his best on the fat front – buried that substantial nose of his deep in the trough of taxpayer funded junkets.

  • unitedtribes

    Winston Peters was acting PM

    • Patrick

      Acting PM – is that short for pre-muddled? Before the effects of years of p1ssing up on the taxpayer bar tab took hold.

  • unitedtribes

    Act should put their resources into buying an outstanding leader who is secretly a National man. This potential leader would then infiltrate NZ First and take over from an ageing Winston Peters. Hey presto National has a new partner. NZ First members dont care what the party dose as long as they have a leader. And they have the numbers.

    • fozzie2

      Precisely ACT’s problem – they think money will solve their problems. When ACT was formed it dripped money- problem was it lacked any political nouse – refused to give their sizable membership any say in the running of the party – and there they foundered. Their policies were those of the money men that founded it. Those that are left still cannot see where they went wrong. Political success is more than PR and fast money.