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ACT, the continuing implosion

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 am, September 27th, 2011 - 34 comments
Categories: don brash, john banks, law and "order" - Tags:

On Sunday, Don Brash decided to muse on decriminalising cannabis. It’s not ACT policy, we’re meant to understand, it’s just the Party Leader making a speech and saying ‘this would be a good idea’. Well, I’m sorry but in what world is that not a party policy announcement? Brash is the Leader, if he gets in next term we will expect him to push for cannabis decriminalisation, therefore, it is party policy.

In classic Brash style, he hadn’t told John Banks. Shades there of when he dropped the racist Owera speech without consulting his Maori Affairs spokesperson, which ended with Georgina te Heu Heu quitting the portfolio, and when he dropped Owera 2, which ended up with him sacking the last decent female MP National has had, Katherine Rich.

Some have said that this is just Brash saying what he believes and not understanding that part of being in a party, including as Leader, is listening to others. The second part is right but don’t believe for a minute that Brash has a deeply-held belief in decriminalisation. Check your copy of Hollow Men, see how the Owera speech evolved. It wasn’t out of Brash’s strong feelings on the issue of the foreshore and seabed, it was because the Nats’ polling showed a potential wedge issue. Brash has been banging the racial division line ever since with no effect until, the other day, he had a brainwave on another potential wedge issue and went off and made his speech.

Now, Brash is on the right side of public opinion but it doesn’t have the makings of a wedge issue (and a wedge issue is a major party trick to use against the other major party, anyway). The people most likely to support decriminalisation already support a party that does – the Greens – and the vast majority of those who support decriminalisation would never vote ACT for a slew of other reasons (not least being that Don Brash is the leader). The people most likely to switch votes over decriminalisation are actually those who are anti-decriminalisation – the tough on crime crowd that ACT has been chasing for the past decade.

Brash, the bumbling, clueless Inspector Clouseau of New Zealand politics, has succeeded in wedging his own party after only a couple of months in the job.

So no wonder Banks gave Brash a very public smacking on the idea (watch the TV3 clip, it’s brutal). He knows decriminalisation is no vote winner in Epsom. Banks is now desperately trying to distance himself from Brash in the eyes of Epsomites, and incidentally telling real ACTiods that he isn’t one of them and doesn’t share their values.

Separating Banks and Brash won’t work because the very first person that Banks would bring into Parliament with him is Brash. ACT’s whole campaign has been based on ‘vote Banks, get Brash, two for one’.

In Epsom, you’re being asked to vote a party consisting of the guy who suddenly supports decriminalising cannabis and arch-conservative who doesn’t; a party of two that works so poorly together that the deciding policy on a minor issue becomes a stand-up stoush on primetime TV.

Why would the people of Epsom vote for these two?

34 comments on “ACT, the continuing implosion”

  1. Mbossa 1

    I don’t completely agree that decriminalisation supporters would never vote ACT (although they might not vote for what ACT has become). I personally know quite a few ACT supporters who would never vote Green in a million years but wholeheartedly support decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis. ACT On Campus (http://www.actoncampus.org.nz/) quite clearly support legalisation, and our good friend Cactus Kate is quite a strong proponent of it too.

    I reckon now would be a great time for the Libertarianz to step into the breach and tell the not-insignificant subset of ACT voters who are socially liberal as well as economically liberal that they are the party they’re looking for. They won’t win any seats this time round, but if they played their cards right they could place themselves quite well for 2014.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      I certainly hope the Libertarianz do well in Epsom! Every vote that doesn’t go to ACT is a small victory for the rest of us. I’d love to see some polling in the seat following dopey Don’s musing, because the only candidate who isn’t a blow in, a stooge or a patsy is Labour’s David Parker. And he must be laughing today.

      • Ben Clark 1.1.1

        David Parker’s line of “Vote Banks, get both dopes” is classic…

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.2

        David Parker isn’t a blow in? Actually, his nomination for the seat is pretty much the definition of that.

        But to the beset folk of Epsom, he may just be starting to look a heck of a lot better than the farcical rest.

  2. tc 2

    Well Eddie they voted for the odious wodney last time out who proceeded to screw them and the rest of akl over with a supercity that’s head is still spinning with systems not implemented, dysfunctional structures and cronies atop the key boards.

    Banks is a marked improvement in some respects as at least he’s too lazy to wreak havoc like wodders, more the sit back and spin type whilst deciding how best to keep his snout in the trough.

    At least ACT get to have an MP on a full parliamentary pension again as Woger is going so like for like really.

    • Bored 2.1

      Thhe unfortunate thing about ACT is that their core beliefs are enshrined in the legislation Roger and crew put through in the 70s, and theirs is the prevailing orthodoxy. Labour in 9 years failed to roll this back, and Nact are a mirror of the Rogernomes. They have just got better at spinning and kid gloving it.

      • bbfloyd 2.1.1

        i’m assuming it’s a typo, but roger was rogering us in the eighties… muldoon was doing the nasty to us in the seventies… different crew… same outcome, more or less..

  3. higherstandard 3

    What’s Jacinda Arden doing posing with Key and Brownlee ?

    • Bored 3.1

      LOL….i have always thought her beautiful white teeth rather enhance her smile.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        My bf has commented that they’re so distracting you can’t concentrate on what she’s actually saying and when she’s trying to front on a sensitive or concerning issue, it makes a small mockery of it seeing these flashing white teeth that almost look like a permanent smile.

        • Bored 3.1.1.1

          Personally I think she has a lovely smile and is a fine looking lass (with a hint of menace …I suspect her tongue might be a little too sharp for Key to handle). I propose she should be used as the front person who looks better than Key, Mr Joe Smoothy in his Italian suit versus her sharp TV photo friendly looks. Mr Sound Clip Photo Op might be harried into second place in the public image gallery.

    • Kevin Welsh 3.2

      ‘Cause Bunter Bennett takes up too much room.

      • Craig Glen Eden 3.2.1

        Isnt that bunter on the right Brash in the middle and Banks on the left? Lol

        H/S I think Jacinda would have a little chuckle at that comment after she had come back with some little smart quip of her own.

  4. Rich 4

    I guess ACT may well be short of grassroots activists (having pissed so many people off) and this might be an effort to get a couple more. But their normal MO is not to worry about that and use their wealthy supporters dollars to pay for campaigning – has something changed?

  5. aerobubble 5

    decriminalization is an import issue, while most people DONT either totally
    disagree or totally agree, MOST people agree with legalization for medical use.
    So here we have the classic lobby construct that trashes democracy.
    Some fuckwit sees that there is a force of people who want and need
    change on the issue, and so some right wing politician sees an opportunity
    to get out in front and misdirect the popular sentiment away from change
    and so stop real debate.
    So Brash comes out says he wants to talk about decriminalizaton, yeah,
    what exactly does he have in mind, he never says once about medical
    use. Not once.
    Its why our democracy does not work, MSM loves right wing hecklers.
    I do not want decriminalization, I do not want criminalization, I
    want medical use and a advertizing campaign that stress how only the
    ol and infirmed need drug enhancements.

  6. prism 6

    Why would the people of Epsom vote for these two?

    Because they’re perverse, reverse, obtuse and confused thinkers, and a living example of the Peter Principle whereby you rise to a level in society/organisation that is just above your level of capability and spend the rest of your time ineffectively covering up and relying on the efforts and brainpower of those at a lower level.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    At least Laurel and Hardy were amusing.

    The self-serving, sociopathological liars who constitute ACT are not the slightest bit amusing.

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Latest media narrative, hot off the press:

    http://bit.ly/peCTQn

    Banks has all the moral authority in the party now.

    We’ve already seen with the dope debate that nothing will happen in the new-look ACT without his say-so.

    It is one-nill to Banksie.

    That is the way it is going to go from here on in. Banks is in charge.

  9. randal 9

    the way I understand it is Boscawen gets $40,000 if he hangs around and stands for Tamaki. Is this true?

  10. John D 10

    That TV3 video was rather cringeworthy, I have to agree.

  11. Akldnut 11

    My question would be “which of the three in the picture is number three on the list?
    I’m guessing number 1 is the guy in the middle.

  12. Treetop 12

    The way I see it is that Act consists of two people Brash and Banks. Two people who are having a tug of war because the leader of Act is such an ass as he has shown that he is unable to communicate with the ONLY hope that Act has.

    How stupid is Brash to think that he can offer Act any stability.

    How long is Brash going to last if Banks wins Epsom?

    Maybe if Brash goes now Banks has his best chance of taking Epsom.

  13. Georgy 13

    Can anyone explain what this means, in particular the ‘paradigm effect?

    “Just because it’s the view of the leader doesn’t mean it has a paradigm effect on my free thinking around drugs,” said Mr Banks [Herald today]

    • McFlock 13.1

      It means that in order to do anything less than mercilessly persecute even the most minor drug offences, Banks would have to fundamentally change his world view (i.e. have an effect on his paradigm). This applies whether he is a member for a socially liberal party or not.

      It might be advisable for ACToids to also explore his views on abortion, homosexuality and prostitution. I wonder if they’ve asked him yet?

  14. McFlock 14

    Lol. Apparently Boscawen didn’t like early starts .
    Isn’t that what they get a double-dipton allowance for? At the very least he could have rented a room and flown down the night before. Pretty weak excuse.

  15. Rodel 15

    ACT is about as genuine and absurd as the Disney, sorry Destiny party was.
    Honestly how could anyone think of voting to let such a pair of losers as Banks and Brash have any say in the running of our fair country?

    By the way- Thanks Helen and co. for negotiating the rugby world cup to be in New Zealand.

    Oh my Gawd! I just imagined Don Brash or Banks representing NZ at such a negotiating table-Our ambitions would be gone by breakfast time. Unthinkable!

  16. uke 16

    Banks & Brash are presumably in agreement on one thing, though. Neither knew about the misleading of investors in the Kiwisaver fund they were both directors of:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/5690645/Huljich-pleads-guilty-to-misleading-investors

  17. Nick C 17

    Hey Eddie you should follow this up with a post about how the National Party is far too stage managed and how this undermines any genuine internal debate and input by members. That would be great.

  18. Jenny 18

    Hoisted by his own petard?

    Mr Key revealed National’s pitch for the November 26 election yesterday, saying New Zealanders would weigh up which of the parties could deliver “the strongest and most stable government”.

    John Key

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5694643/Labour-up-but-challenge-ahead-for-Goff

    The implication of the above statement that Key is trying to create in the public mind is that a coalition of the left would, not be “the strongest and most stable government”.

    With the continuing slow car crash being played out daily by National’s main support party, is if anything a warning that a coalition made up with the help of the loony right would be anything but, “strong and stable”.

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