ACT’s meltdown continues, with comments from ACT founder and current MP Sir Roger Douglas illustrating that all is not well in the caucus. According to Stuff, Sir Roger Douglas is saying he is not sure he will stand at the next election. He also said the party had to show it was stable.
“I don’t know where we’re at. What we need to do is show that we’re a hell of a lot better than that. And to do that, we need to get our strategy right, we need to get over-riding principles understood and then we need to move forward together. I guess we haven’t necessarily shown we’ve been capable of that. I’m not blaming anyone for that. When these things happen, it’s no one individuals fault. Collectively, we’ve got to take responsibility.”
The challenge for Mr Key is how should he be responding to his preferred coaltion’s partner’s disintegration? Can he trust those ACT Ministers to make good decisions when key ACT MPs are saying they don’t know where they are at? And a description from the former Deputy leader that Hide is a “bully”, and that ”ACT sees team leadership as primitive combat, with a need to destroy a colleague’s reputation to justify an otherwise inexplicable decision” must call into question the judgement of both the ACT leader, but also Mr Key’s leadership. Is he ok with that dynamic in his government?
John Armstrong provides his usual insightful analysis:
Who and what are the voters to believe? Hide, who last night finally admitted the caucus ructions after erecting a wall of silence following Tuesday’s caucus deputy leadership spill? Or the politically salacious details – plus the brutally honest analysis of Act’s parlous state – contained in Roy’s statement of defence?
If the document’s claim that Hide’s hold on Epsom is tenuous “at best”, then it is even more so after this week’s shambles.
National now has to weigh up whether its supporters can still stomach Hide and whether it should cut its losses and stand a strong candidate in Epsom in case continued association with Hide starts to damage its high party vote in the blue-ribbon electorate – or worse, though still highly unlikely, because Act’s follies could allow Labour to come through the middle and win the seat.
So if Mr Key is looking slightly less bouncy that usual I think we will know why. This is one headache that’s not going away anytime soon.