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Be afraid, be very afraid …

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, December 22nd, 2022 - 165 comments
Categories: act, david seymour, john key, national, national/act government, poverty - Tags:

David Seymour is feeling his oats.

Earlier this week he was interviewed by Radio New Zealand and postulated on what the next Government may look like.

From Radio New Zealand:

[Seymour is] concerned National will “babysit” the Labour Party’s ideas, and insists ACT’s role will be ensuring promises to repeal Three Waters and the Māori Health Authority come to bear.

“The lesson from history is crystal clear right from Sid Holland in 1949; he said Labour were applying socialism, destroying the country and then got in and didn’t change a thing. That’s happened another four times with Holyoake in 1960, Muldoon in 1975, Bolger in 1990 and Key in 2008.”

Yep National has always been such a wimp when it is in Government.

If you need proof then just remember how the first National Government under Sid Holland  declared a state of emergency and used troops as strike breakers and censored union publications in an attempt to stop waterside workers from getting a wage increase.

Or the second National Government under Keith Holyoake who brought in voluntary unionism and sent troops to Vietnam.

Or the third National Government under Rob Muldoon which campaigned using the threat of communism, wrecked the economy and caused a halt to foreign exchange trading and destroyed the Government Superannuation Scheme, a decision which has been described as having cost us a comfortable retirement, the Government would substantial Budget surpluses and prevented the country from having one of the best educational and healthcare systems in the world.

Or the fourth National Government initially under Jim Bolger which wrecked the union movement through the Employment Contracts Act and smashed families into poverty by insisting that benefits should only be 80% of the minimum amount required to live adequately.

Or the fifth National Government under John Key that sold off power company shares and used immigration and declining housing standards to make its supporters wealthier.

And it is not only the big decisions that hurt.  National’s cost accountant mentality means that health is not funded properly, schools are run into the ground and nothing functions as well as it should.  And the big future issues, such as addressing our water system or climate change, are never addressed.  Under all National governments the country drifts listlessly and things go backwards for ordinary people.

It makes you wonder what Seymour would have wanted to happen in the past?

The incarceration without trial of trade unionists?  Even more troops in Vietnam?  More think big projects?  Even larger benefit cuts and greater abject poverty in the 1990s?

Seymour’s comments are unhelpful rhetorical flourishes and they are lazy.  Who knows what level of misery he would have thought of being acceptable?

And beneath his goofy exterior lies some pretty scary policy proposals.

If you want to know what bottom lines Act will have if it is part of the next Government then one of its its bottom lines is the holding of a referendum on the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Why the interpretation of a treaty should be the subject of a measurement of public opinion is not readily apparent but you can imagine what the campaign would be like.

This is essentially well honed dog whistling about treaty settlements.  If the Treaty of Waitangi means anything and the promise of the Crown to preserve to Maori that which was important to them then we need to talk through a joint approach to governance.  It does not mean that Maori decide everything.  With Three Waters there are boards that have that responsibility.  But iwi input into the constitution of that board and its strategic objectives are pretty important.  Especially when you consider that water is one of the taonga that the Crown promised would be preserved for Maori.

Seymour’s comment can only suggest that the next National Act Government, whenever it is, will be on steroids, something akin to the Ruthenasia of the first term of the fourth National Government.

If you think I am overstating things then check out their other policies.  They are all there.  Charter schools, abolishing tariffs, opening the country up for foreign investment, unwinding any climate policy and leaving the future of our planet up to the market.

Of course contrarian lefties will claim that there is no difference between Labour and National.

I beg to differ.  And I have 86 years of Aotearoa’s history to back up my view.

National may be very cagy in not saying anything of substance right now in the hope they do not scare swinging voters off.  But Act has no such concerns and on current polling will have a significant role to play in the next National Government.  And the potential direction of a future right wing government are clear to see.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid …

165 comments on “Be afraid, be very afraid … ”

  1. Ad 1

    Easily Party Leader of 2022.

    On .7% in 2018 and easily in reach of 15% in 2023. That's near as good as Anderton's New Labour.

    If the Greens were led by Chloe instead of 2 weak fools it would be as powerful as Act is now.

  2. tc 2

    More semantics and scene setting so if they get elected national blame act for policies they dont have issues with but are best left under the act banner.

    Playing the electorate thanks to that owned media.

    • Gosman 2.1

      In what way is the electorate being "played" by ACT as a result of owned media? Please give an example.

  3. Gosman 3

    ACT does not have ANY issue with Treaty settlements. The party supports the process and the resolution EVEN when it involves co-governance arrangements. What the ACT party does not support is this idea of "Treaty principles" being foistered upon wider public policy without ANY public discussion of what those principles mean among the wider public. Surely in a democracy you would want people to understand and agree what sort of governing arrangements we will have. Why are people afraid to debate that?

    • tinderdry6 3.1

      Because it's potentially uncomfortable for people. And because it can be hijacked by extremes on both sides. Which are the very reasons we absolutely should be having the debate.

    • adam 3.2

      We have had the debate for over 150 years Gossy, but then again, you being you…

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        When did we have the co-governance debate at a public level?

        • adam

          Your comment just shows you never talk to māori on a rational level. Or logic, or even as a human being.

          A suggestion, try getting outside your ideological bubble.

          • Gosman

            The debate is not just about having a discussion with Maori. It involves all of us and what sort of governance system we want for the country.

            • Robert Guyton

              Please define "public level" Gosman.

              • Gosman

                In the public domain at a level that mass participation is occurring e.g. a referendum campaign.

            • adam

              FFS dude, you said we have not been having this discussion. I said we have been for quite some time now, and now you come back with some bullshit about all of us.

              When has act or its supporters ever given a fuck about all people. You just keep pushing an ideological agenda. Your no different than a fucking Stalinist.

              • Gosman

                ACT is very different from a Stalinist. We are generally opposed to State control over the means of production and the use of the coersive power of the State to eliminate political opponents.

    • Nic181 3.3

      It is far too late to negotiate “Treaty Principles.” They were set in 1870 or thereabouts. Seymour is an arse if he thinks he can change the course of history.

  4. Corey Humm 4

    Genuinely hilarious to see this bozo call the former Labour MPs who founded his party socialists and him basically calling his ideological hero Ruth Richardson's economic reforms timid and socialist lite is frightening.

    However, historically he's not too off the money. Labour historically are the big reformers and National historically colour within the lines of the reforms or neuter them so they are ineffective.

    Case in point that's in every NZ political science text book, the first labour government created a social democratic economic state, that no National government for fifty years dared seriously challenge and it infact took a Labour govt to destroy the social democratic state of the first labour govt.

    Hes also right that National often run on canceling Labours reforms but rarely ever overturn them, again case in point in 1984 and 1987 National were technically the defenders of the social democratic state where as Labour were frothing at the mouth with right wing libertarianism, in 1990 National won a historic landslide promising a return to decency and end to the reforms only to continue the reforms.

    Sure Muldoon ended the original kiwisaver, which was the worst economic mistake in NZ history, but national rarely seriously overturns Labours major reforms.

    It's reasonable to think a National govt wouldn't overturn labours cogovt and centralization policies despite saying they will based off Nationals history of saying they'll overturn something and not doing it.

    Both parties saying they'd do something then doing the opposite is why we have MMP.

    The great sadness for the left is , it took a labour govt to create a social democratic economic state and it took a labour govt to destroy it and turn NZ into a free market dystopia but the chances of a Labour govt ever attempting to challenge the free market dystopia they created are almost zero.

    Now Labours reforms are all about social policy, centralization, internal tweaks on the the delivery of public services, lite infrastructure, good vibes and "good first steps" , gone forever is the idea that Labour are the party of radical reform or that Labour are the party that "fixes capitalism" so it works for everyone.

    • Gosman 4.1

      NZ is a very far way away from a situation where Social democracy has been destroyed. The State still plays a massive role in both the economy AND welfare.

  5. Mike the Lefty 5

    What makes Seymour more of a danger to the left is that, unlike most of his predecessors, he has a personality, is charismatic and much more in tune with public opinion. That makes him an attractive alternative in times of economic and social strife which we obviously have now.

    Whereas ACT used to be seen as a party that talked about nothing other than money, Seymour is much more willing to address social issues. He doesn't really offer any new solutions to combat crime, youth truancy, public health degradation, water infrastructure, etc but that is probably beside the point. He LISTENS, or at least gives the impression he is listening, and he responds very quickly with populist quasi-solutions that ordinary Joe and Jill Bloggs's can relate to.

    It is clear that if National/ACT win next year's general election, which they probably will do, National will have a very hard time resisting ACT's basic pledge to return New Zealand to good old fashioned Thatcherite neo-liberalism. National probably won't resist much, thinking that if it went well they could take the credit and if it went pear-shaped they could blame their "junior" partner. Labour did much the same towards the Greens during the Clark government.

    A National/ACT government will ostensibly have Chris Luxon as PM, but in reality David Seymour will be calling the shots.

    A National/ACT government with ACT effectively the dominant force will have serious consequences for many New Zealanders. ACT want to rewrite the rule book and reduce many things that New Zealanders have fought for and earned over the last 150 years – minimum wages, sick leave, holiday pay being a few examples.

    I saw how Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble irreparably changed New Zealand for the worse in the 1980's, shamefully in the guise of a Labour government. If we think we have high interest rates and high inflation now, just wait until ACT gets into power and we will realise that we ain't seen nothing yet.

    • Gosman 5.1

      How has NZ been irreparably changed for the worst as a result of the changes Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble pushed through?

      Can you give me an example of something that changed for the worst that is not able to be addressed by some sort of policy?

      • Kat 5.1.1

        They planted a curse of a notion that govt in simple terms had no place in business and that what was good for business was good for the country…………Amen.

        The notion was further nurtured by subsequent govts, farming and business lobby groups and it is only really being questioned today for the curse it is and the enormous damage it has caused to the social and economic fabric of New Zealand.

        Whichever future govt reinstates the Ministry of Works as a full functioning govt dept will have broken the curse.

        • Gosman

          Government is still in numerous commercial activities in NZ. There is plenty of room for politicians to put forward policies that increase government's role on business as well. We have had re-nationalisation of the Railways and the setting up of a State controlled bank subsequent to 1990 so it is plainly untrue to state the policy in this area has been irreparably changed.

          • Kat

            You asked: How has NZ been irreparably changed for the worst as a result of the changes Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble pushed through?

            My answer clearly addresses your question. The irreparable damage is measured in generations, not something a 'policy' can change overnight.

            As mentioned reinstating a fully state owned and run 21st Century Ministry of Works would go a long way to reversing the damage, in more ways than just planning projects well and getting them done quickly and not being reliant on the vagaries of the private sector.

          • bwaghorn

            Didn't we have to renationlise the railway due to it being asset stripped and run into the dirt by the sort of people act would give a free hand to.

            • Kat

              Yes, the railways was one example of Richard Prebble's "I've been thinking" (having nightmares in reality). ACT are a political abomination, and deserved to be feared and loathed.

            • Craig H

              And an airline because it wanted to expand into Australia and failed (albeit with a large helping hand by the Australian government).

      • Mike the Lefty 5.1.2

        New Zealand society was never the same after Rogernomics. It became more competitive, edgy, money orientated and selfish. It wasn't any particular moment or any particular policy that I can put my finger on – it was a slow slide to the darkside.

        But there was a moment when I realized how similar National and Labour had become when after the 1993 election Labour was bribed by National to elect a Labour MP as Speaker so that National could have a majority of 1 in the house and continue as government.

        This should have provoked national outrage in the media and NZ – instead people used to the two main parties treating them like shit shrugged their shoulders and rolled up another one.

        As for your second point. There comes a point where you can't go back and this was reached sometime in the early 2000s by my reckoning, and the political will was lacking anyhow.

        Considering your political views, I wouldn't expect you to understand where I am coming from.

        • Gosman

          I think you are looking at NZ pre-1984 through severely rose tinted glasses.

          • Charlie

            Not as rose tinted as a blind man with no glasses

          • adam

            I think we can all look forward to a ACT/national government wreaking the economy and making life exceptionally hard for the average kiwi. All the time them telling us how great they are, like this guy.

        • Kat

          You could put your finger on these examples: selling off state assets, closing functioning govt depts, financial deregulation, creating household indebtedness, unemployment, massive cuts in welfare, health and public services………..

          • Gosman

            There are more government departments/ministries today than there were in 1984.

            • Kat

              Presume you are referring to public servants not specific government departments that were either shut down or corporatised and restructured into commercially oriented organisations during the free market reforms of the mid 1980's.

              Or perhaps you could list all these extra govt departments/ministries that are in existence now that were not back in 1984, which would be most helpful…..

            • millsy

              That is because of the funder/provider/policy advise split that was implemented (more like imposed) from the 80's onwards.

              For example the Deparment of Education was split into NZQA, ERO, Ministry of Education, Learning Media, etc and so on.

      • KJT 5.1.3

        Are you fucking joking.

        It is obvious to all but the wilfully blind!

    • mary_a 5.2

      100% agree with your sentiments Mike the Lefty (5)yes

      Then if Winston Peters gets over 5% and doesn’t sit on the cross benches, there's a chance he will take NZF along for the ride with a NACT government, should it win the election next year. Both Peters and Seymour will be wanting to be the power behind the throne, as neither will want to play second fiddle to the other, while Luxon will be the ornamental stooge, looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights, not knowing which way to turn laugh

      Could be some fun and games ahead with the right if the election goes its way. Not that I hope it does. However ……..

    • Anker 5.3
      • I think Seymour has many policies. I posted a link last night to their truancy policy. I thought it was quite good, better than Jan Tinettis adds aimed at getting kids back to school. Thinking about that, I haven’t seen one of Jans adds for a while. Maybe they didn’t work. Who would have thought.

      But yes economically, Act will be dangerous for NZ.

      • Incognito 5.3.1

        Thinking about that, I haven’t seen one of Jans adds for a while.

        Schools are out for the summer break.

        • Anker

          I don’t think anyone would say “schools have been out for a while”. Schools broke up recently.

          Act’s truancy policy is far superior to Jan Tinettis pathetic adds.

          • Incognito

            Uh-uh. FYI, some secondary schools have been closed for over 2 weeks aka a while.

            A while is so vague it is meaningless to everybody else, probably including you too – it also depends where you look and how often aka on whether you pay any attention. Schools (and parents) wind down before they close for summer. Who would have thought?

            How can some kind of dog whistling document policy proposal that resides on an ACT server be superior to real and actual Government efforts, including ads?

          • Robert Guyton

            What Incognito said. Really, Anker, yours was a foolish claim, spawned by your deepening resentment of the Government. Tinetti is fully engaged and hugely experienced at the chalk-face. ACT are blowing smoke.

            • Anker

              What was my foolish claim? That Act have a good truancy policy? Its an opinion obviously. You may have a different opinion. What do you think is foolish about Act's policy?

              Tinetti might be fully engaged and yes I know she has been a head teacher. What is she doing about truancy? Do you know Robert? I have only heard of the adds. I saw one on TV during the Prime news add break. I would like to know how much that add cost. If you think Tinettis so good, show me some evidence that her adds have worked or that she is doing something else.

              • Robert Guyton

                "What was my foolish claim? "

                "Act’s truancy policy is far superior to Jan Tinettis pathetic adds."

                A policy from an opposition party is superior to the actions of a minister deeply involved in the issue?

                That's silly, Anker.

                Puff & Blow from ACT is just slightly-warmed air and doesn't compare, on any level, with the actions of an experienced ex-teacher/principal charged with solving the problem.

                Why are you investing in smoke&mirrors?

                • Anker

                  Robert you have failed to tell me what Tinetti is doing. If you have some information about that, let me know. I do give credit where credit is due.

                  Puff and blow? Why don't you critique the policy itself. Tell me what you don't like about it and why you think it won't work

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Anker – you have failed to explain why Jan Tinetti's "adds" are "pathetic" – please explain so we can compare what you believe is good about ACT's policy.


                    • Muttonbird

                      Some people like ACT's truancy policy because it punishes the already punished.

                      Some people just love to see already broken people further broken.

              • Peter

                The inference you seem to have taken is is that Jan Tinetti is doing nothing about truancy because you've seen one advertisement somewhere and that's all. Do you want them/her spending more an ads? To try to improve attendance rates or to inform you about what they're doing?

                Judging what Ministers are doing and how effective their work is by the number of headlines they're in or generate or times they're on tv is just silly.

                • Anker

                  I would be interested to hear what else Jan Tinetti is doing about truancy, but to date no one has been able to tell me.

                  I don't want them throwing more money at adds. I thought it was unlikely to work and I have yet to see any evidence that it has. I would speculate that it hasn't and that they have pulled the adds.

                  Yeah I would like them to announce to the public what they are doing.

                  I would not judge by headlines but by results. In other words, show me the money

                  • Robert Guyton

                    " to date no one has been able to tell me."

                    Most folk find out for themselves, rather than demand others provide the proof…just saying'…

            • Anker

              Oh yes Robert, you are correct about my deepening resentment of the govt. I was until recently a party member, worked hard for them, long family history of involvement with Labour. I would defend them to the hilt e.g when it became very obvious Kiwi Build wasn't going to fly, I would try to argue with friends that actually it wasn't that bad and at least Labour tried yada, yada.

              On this site I always speak to issues that have caused this resentment. Briefly the way Andrew Little has conducted himself with the health work force, failure to priortize recruitment and training of the health workforce, re-structuring in the middle of a pandemic. Being very sneaky about gender self ID and treating women (mostly older left wing feminists) with utter hostility and contempt when they made submission on gender self ID to select committee. The denial of science by these women politicians when we had just been urged during Covid to follow the science.

              My resentment with Labour is well foundered. I am not a swing voter or a Nat troll.
              It is very freeing for me no longer having loyalty to Labour. I am able to look at all parties and see what I do and don’t like about them

              • Robert Guyton

                "My resentment with Labour is well foundered"

                Loved that, but it's an issue diminimis 🙂

                "I am able to look at all parties and see what I do and don’t like about them"

                Yet you only seem to criticise Labour…


                • Anker

                  I have already criticized Act on this very thread and described them as economically dangerous.

                  I often critize Luxon and have referred to him wanting to be PM as a vanity project. I have also said I think he should resign.

                  I have certainly criticized the Greens.

                  Te Maori Party, well I heard them say on Q and A they want to abolish prisons, which I think is naive at best.

                  Haven't criticized Peters much. But have in the past.

                  I have also given praise to Labour for their early covid strategy and some faint praise to Jacinda Ardern. Oh and if I haven't praised David Parker well here is the big thumbs up to him. As his role as AG he pulled the plug on the Rotorua admin bill, citing it was against the Bill of Rights. Big thumbs up to him for that.

              • millsy

                Fact of the matter is, National and ACT support imposing the US system of health care (user pays and insurance) on this country. This goes back to the early 1990's, when National tries to impose charging on hospital stays, and failing that, turning what used to be DHB's into commerical businesses and requiring them to run at a profit. This involves mass service cuts and sale of health and hospital assets.

                If you support National and ACT, then you oppose public health care in this country. Plain and simple.

                As for the transgender thing you hate so much. These gender critical women that you support have their chains jerked by the Christian right. I occasionally go on GC Twitter, and on the Twitter feeds of the likes of Helen Joyce and Maya Forstater, there is nothing but right wing bigotry, opposition to abortion, LGBT rights (including being fine with Christian businesses owners denying services to same sex couples) etc and so on.

                Might I also point out that GC’s and Christian conservatives are joining forces in promoting a new kind of wowserism, using progressive rhetoric to justify banning porn, prostitution, abortion, birth control, etc.

                • Tony Veitch

                  “If you support National and ACT, then you oppose . . .”

                  just about everything progressive and beneficial to our society!

              • SPC

                Kiwibuild was poorly designed because

                1. they restricted sales to first home buyers (with 20% deposit criteria)
                2. it was designed to maintain building activity when the market was in a downturn (the 2008-2014 era building decline resulted in a shortage)

                By 2017 building was too close to capacity (that had to be developed).

                The programme was designed for a period when consents numbers are falling, as they are now.

                They will still have to widen sales to more than first home buyers (first family homes for couples going from flat/apartment ownership, oldies looking for retirement property).

                • millsy

                  It would have worked better has the housing actually been a good side cheaper than privately built houses at the time, and/or the loans for them were decently subsidised.

                  I think one guy, ex NZ Army engineers, etc, offered to undercut private developers and build thousands of prefab homes at dirt cheap rates, but the government didnt want to know when he approached them.

  6. Peter 6

    Seymour’s comments are unhelpful rhetorical flourishes and they are lazy? Of course. Will the average punter care to examine them and what they mean? Of course not.

    Is that punter capable rational examination?

    I've posted before about the Act education policy past the Charter School element. Charter Schools per se are a winner for Seymour because the dumb people who see everything wrong with schooling in NZ are too dumb to see past the packaging.

    Forget the grand clichés, the guts of their education policy is Voucher Education. All about choice apparently. Every family gets $$ for each of their offspring. They turn up at the school of their choice. All the parents from Beachhaven, Ranui and Otahuhu will have a choice at last so they'll ship their kids off to Auckland and Epsom Girls' Grammar.

    Ah, what the Herald calls 'top' schools. So good 20,000 want to get in. So who gets to choose who gets the choice? The parents or the First XV and X1 coaches?

    The glossy packaging of Seymour is like that of a chocolate bar. It has the shininess, the colours, the fancy words itch the promises. Will the taste measure up?

    And what about the ingredients and what they'll do? 'WARNING: May contain nuts and manufactured using machines employed in the processing of nuts.'

  7. Stephen D 7

    What I would like to see, sooner rather than later, is real MSM scrutiny on the likely cabinet members in each of the opposition parties.

    We know about Luxon, Bishop, Reti, Woodhouse (God save us,) and Willis. What about the rest?

    As far as ACT goes, we have got Seymour, van Velden, and crazy gun lady. Who are the other and how have they justified their salaries the last 2/3 years?

    There has been the occasional puff piece, but nothing of substance.

    • Gosman 7.1

      You use the term "Crazy gun lady". Who do you mean exactly and what has she stated or proposed that would qualify as "crazy"?

      • Stephen D 7.1.1

        You know perfectly well who she is. So stop being disingenuous.

        • Gosman

          I want to know why you think this person is a "crazy gun lady". What has she proposed that suggests she is this type of person?

          I suspect you have little clue and are just spouting off misinformed views that you likely picked up from someone else.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    If it is clear that National is going to win anyway, the best way to keep ACT out of the government is for left-leaning voters to switch to National, or not vote at all.

    That would put National in the same position that Labour is now, and there will be no need to fear the scary ACT party.

    So, whether ACT is able to exert it's nefarious influence might be down to the tactical voting decisions that left-leaning voters make.

    • Robert Guyton 8.1

      I'm convinced by your wise advice, tsmithfield!

      Also, your offer of a bridge – what a price – bargain!!

    • Incognito 8.2

      If it is clear that National is going to win anyway, the best way to keep ACT out of the government is for left-leaning voters to switch to National, or not vote at all.

      That must be about the worst advice I can think of. Do you support representative democracy? Give NACT as few votes/seats as possible. And always vote!

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        Of course I wrote that comment with a degree of tongue in cheek.

        But, I could actually see that scenario of tactical voting in this way as a possibility, especially if Labour tries too hard to paint ACT as the devil incarnate.

        Lets say a month out from the election National is polling at say 45% and Labour is polling at say 35%, then some Labour voters may believe their vote is more valuable in being used tactically to keep ACT out of government.

        • Robert Guyton

          Doubling-down on your crack-pot theory, eh!

          • tsmithfield

            Not so crack-pot. In fact, at the last election it was thought that National voters had switched to Labour to keep the Greens out of government.

            The unprecedented swing to Labour across the country indicated tactical voting by National supporters who didn't want the Greens to be part of the government, but there's no hard evidence of that.

            Some callers to talkback radio said they voted tactically for that reason but the extent of it isn't known.

            That type of tactical voting was theorised to have happened in the last election. As the article points out, no hard evidence for that, which isn't surprising as the election is a secret ballot after all. But the idea that voters could use their votes tactically in this way is certainly a possibility.

            • Robert Guyton

              "That type of tactical voting was theorised to have happened in the last election. "

              Spooked Nat-farmers voted Labour to neutralise The Greens.

              We on the Left are not that biddable.

              • tsmithfield

                I guess it depends on how much Labour supporters are spooked into fearing the ACT devil. They may feel it is their civic duty to vote tactically to prevent the end of the world as we know it.

        • Incognito

          You were kidding but actually, you were ‘deadly serious’, to borrow words from Luxon.

          The only recent comment from Labour about ACT that I am aware of is Ardern calling Seymour an arrogant prick. You seem to have one feet firmly stuck in a rabbit hole.

          You obviously love your own hypotheticals. My hypothesis is that there is that a vote for National is a vote for ACT, as they need ACT for the votes in Parliament and its policies. IMO, the best way of keeping NACT away from the Treasury benches is voting Labour, the Green Party, or TPM and have a high voter turnout.

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    ACT have bought good advisors and their investment is paying off for them.

    Or rather, the wealthy elite who seek to install ACT for their own gain, have employed good advisors and the party now has the appearance of being far cleverer than they in fact are.

    • Gosman 9.1

      Why isn't the party as clever as they appear to be?

      • Hanswurst 9.1.1

        Why is that a useful question?

      • Robert Guyton 9.1.2

        2 reasons: 1. lack of depth. 2. backing the wrong ideological horse.

        • Gosman

          The backing of the wrong ideological horse is just your own personal opinion so is not an objective reality. You might have a case for a lack of depth however the evidence to date with the new MP's does not seem to support you. They have all acquitted themselves extremely well for first time MP's. None of them have caused issues for their leader or the Party so far and have all put in the hard yards both in Parliament and for the party out in the public domain.

          • JeremyB

            That the current sitting ACT MP's have "all put in the hard yards both in Parliament and for the party out in the public domain." is your personal opinion so is not an objective reality.

          • Robert Guyton

            "They have all acquitted themselves extremely well for first time MP's. "

            You mean, "kept mum".

            • gsays

              TBF, after the last election, with ACT having a surprisingly large intake, more than one or two of us were anticipating a wee clusterfuck around the new MPs.

              To their credit, it hasn't occurred.

            • Gosman

              Not at all. They have been very vocal both in the community and media.

  10. Temp ORary 10

    As bad as an NACT government would be, especially for future generations who will be stuck with the cleanup. I doubt that human-insect genetic splicing is in the cards; MS.

  11. Gosman 11

    This whole post reminds me of the often misattributed political quote "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

    ACT was largely ignored for a number of years around 2011. Then David Seymour and the party was ridiculed for various things like DWTS and the Epsom electorate. Now we are in the fighting stage where left wingers are treating ACT as the real enemy as opposed to National (which funnily enough I agree with).

    All that is left is for ACT to win which I predict will be around September/October of next year.

    • SPC 11.1

      ACT has already peaked.

      National will use ACT to front policies which might cost it centrist votes and adopt some of them in a coalition deal (it will decide which ones, not ACT, they're simply a centre-right maximisation tool – a way to hide unpopular policies in Epsom).

      And National would prefer to have two parties it can form a coalition government with to reduce the leverage of either (and possibly have the two as support partners of a minority National one – this could occur with ACT and NZF, as neither would want to be in a coalition government with the other, nor support the other in coalition with National).

      Winning 3.65% and 4 seats in 2008 to 1.07% and 1 seat in 2011 and 0.69% in 2014 and 0.5% in 2017 – the last time NACT formed a government.

      Precedent is that if/when NACT form a government, ACT would require Epsom to return to parliament while National remained in government.

      ACT exists to promote neo-liberalism as an extremist ideological alternative to Labour to drive the herd towards National (middle class self-interest).

  12. Robert Guyton 12

    In ACT's case, the process is: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they laugh at you some more, then they ignore you."

    The Greens followed the prescription you described, but ACT have been flapping about on the sidelines since forever. The only reason they are even visible, is wealthy backers. The rest is toxic fluff. Imo.

    • Gosman 12.1

      Incorrect. They had wealthy backers during the lean years and noone was listening. They are now because the party has become more disciplined and adept at reaching it's audience of potential supporters.

    • Gosman 12.2

      This whole post and most associated comment threads are about how dangerous the ACT party is from the left's perspective. That is not laughing at ACT. It is showing fear.

      • Sacha 12.2.1

        One of the problems with this place, yes. Barking at every car

      • Robert Guyton 12.2.2

        I'm not seeing fear on this thread; derision, perhaps? Maybe mild amusement, but fear?

        Am I missing something?

        • gsays

          The title of the post perhaps?

          "Be afraid, be very afraid."

          • Robert Guyton

            Tongue in cheek.

            • Gosman

              Pretty sure the author's point was not to state ACT is no threat and the left should laugh it off.

              • Robert Guyton

                Your ideas are to be feared, your champion and the chances of your party gaining power, are not.

                • Gosman

                  The author was not focusing on the ideas but mainly on David Seymour.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    " … beneath his goofy exterior lies some pretty scary policy proposals."

                    Ya reckon?

                    You've certainly given this thread your all, Gosman.

                    I don't think you've won any supporters though, 3-legged horse 'n'all

      • KJT 12.2.3

        History shows that fear of fascists, even tin pot wannabee ones, is entirely justified.

        • Gosman

          The ACT party's philosophy is almost the polar opposite of fascism.

          • KJT

            Haven't read ACT's policies, have you.

            Or ACT’s patron saint, Ayn Rand. The anti social callousness and repression of freedom for everyone except the rich, who can do whatever they wish, is identical.

            • Gosman

              Ayn Rand is not the patron saint of the ACT poarty. Nowhere does the party recognise or acknowledge her. What policy specifically is inspired by Ayn Rand?

  13. Maurice 13

    There appears to be a number of groups of disaffected former voters for both National and Labour who are looking for an alternative. One of ACT's stumbles was the rejection of the mob outside Parliament … plenty of disaffected there – who do vote.

    ACT's road trips through the Provinces has presented an alternative to the younger Rural Vote as well – despite the previously urban focus of ACT.

    Yep – be very afraid as we may see quite a flip from both Labour and National to a protest ACT vote ….

    • Then Maurice if that scenario comes to fruition, I see a mass exodus to Australia by people who read the tea leaves of a bleak individualistic dog eat dog future, that we need to avoid.

      David studied Public Policy in Canada. What did he learn? Their current issues include violence against indigenous women and indigenous rights. Where is his policy for that?

      Personally I don't trust people who act disingenuously, pretending to be affable and clown like. Artful dodger comes to mind. I don't think we ever see the true David. Just my 81years talking lol.

      Seriously the fabric of NZ will be damaged beyond repair by the "no such thing as community" along with their "everything has to have a $ value" and "smallest possible government" and "Private take the profit Public pay the costs" mentality.

      We would be back to huge numbers of poorly paid migrants lowering wages, the contract spiral, and underfunded services. Add in armed Police, more money for armaments and less for schools and hospitals. House prices rising caused by influx demand. Some 5% will get incredibly rich the rest will be "the bottom feeders.

      Gosman, you come here to poke and gloat. A provocateur of the worst kind.

      Our current Government has made mistakes, but they have been caused by over reach not neglect or pressure of events causing quick decisions.

      I hope people will reflect on that next year when they are considering our future.

      • Robert Guyton 13.2.1

        "act disingenuously"

        Nice bite, Patricia!

      • Gosman 13.2.2

        Why would Police be armed if ACT had access to the levers of power?

        • Patricia Bremner

          National's Mark Mitchell wants that, and Act like guns .Looks the most likely scenario imo.
          I notice you don’t Q my other points

          • Gosman

            That does not mean I don't disagree with them. I am just focusing on an area I know for a fact is incorrect. Nicole McKee (The ACT party MP with responsibility in this area) is on record as stating she does not agree with Police being armed all the time.

            • Robert Guyton

              "all the time"

              Plenty of wriggle-room there.

              Toilet breaks, bed and bath-time…

              • Gosman

                You agree that Police should occasionally be armed I presume? If not how would you expect the Police to deal with terrorist incidents like what happened in NZ over the past 4 years?

                • Robert Guyton

                  Who cares what some minor figure in a minor party thinks about anything at all?

                  I think the police dealt with terrorist incidents in NZ over the past few years, very well.

    • Robert Guyton 13.3

      You reckon those "disaffected" who utterly distrust politicians, believe they are of reptilian stock and want to string them up, will throw their (light) weight behind Seymour (a politician)???

      I see.

  14. millsy 14

    We can forget about any more payrises if ACT had their way. Or access to health care? Or anything really.

  15. Kat 15

    The more I read of this Gosman's comments the more I hear David Seymour. One can certainly have empathy with the PM being subjected to such inane commentary in parliament.

  16. Thinker 16

    I missed the chance to submit a caption for this photo when it came out before, so here goes:

    "Would you like lies with that"?

  17. SPC 17

    The difference between DemocratsLabour and RepublicansACT is that DemocratsLabour say they want to do good things but they're lying and RepublicansACT say they want to do bad things and they're telling the truth.


  18. DS 18

    On 1951: it wasn't as if Labour were energetically defending the waterfront workers. Nash rather infamously declared that he was neither for nor against them.

    Meanwhile, the form of "voluntary unionism" enacted by Holyoake was still far more union-friendly than anything you'd see out of a mainstream political party today. In marked contrast to Australia, New Zealand's troops in Vietnam were also entirely volunteers, and New Zealand's involvement betrays a distinct whiff of only being there because we were paying lip-service to Washington.

    In short, the 1950s and 1960s saw Labour and National orbiting around the social-democratic consensus, and not differing in wider vision. The differences came in the 1970s and 1980s. Since then? Once again, we're seeing the two parties orbiting around a particular planet… only this time, it's Neoliberal World.

    • Peter 18.1

      Interesting to reflect on your time frame. The 50s and 60s? 1960 was just 15 years after the national uniting traumatic exercise of World War 2. 15 years back from here (obviously) was simply 2007-2008. Any major event happen then for all in the collective?

  19. millsy 19

    "New Zealand's troops in Vietnam were also entirely volunteers, and New Zealand's involvement betrays a distinct whiff of only being there because we were paying lip-service to Washington."

    I read somewhere that Holyoake and his cabinet had misgivings about US involvement in Vietnam and thus pared involvment to the bare minimum. Of course, the empire that they preffered to bow down to was British, not the USA.

    • Anne 19.1

      The story goes that Holyoake was opposed to any involvement in the Vietnam War, but the Americans got to him and – to use modern parlance – let him know there would be consequences if NZ chickened out. Holyoake responded by agreeing to offer the barest minimum he could get away with. He was a pompous fellow who spoke with an affected upper-class English accent but it would seem he wasn't stupid.

  20. Macro 20

    He was a pompous fellow who spoke with an affected upper class English accent but he wasn't stupid.

    Best voice in the house!

    • Anne 20.1

      Interesting little story about Kiwi Keith.

      In the 1950s the former Trade minister in the 72/75 Labour Govt., Warren Freer had the nous to visit China (several times in fact) with a view to commencing trade talks with them. He was the first western politician to do so after the Communists took power. He was denounced by all and sundry as a communist traitor which included his own leader, Walter Nash. But there was one politician who quietly supported him behind the scenes. Yes Keith Holyoake. As PM in the 1960s he cleared the pathway for Freer to return to China.

      Nothing came of it at the time but years later it was officially acknowledged that the reason NZ was able to sign the first ever trade agreement with China – the FTA – was in large part due to Warren Freer's previous efforts. The Chinese have long memories and NZ was eventually rewarded.

  21. woodart 21

    will put money on act having LESS seats after next election. they only sucked pissed off nat voters, who will desert back to nats ,now the collins is crushed.seymour will huff and puff, but will be even more of a poodle, desperate for a cup of tea.

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