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It’s all on Calvert

Written By: - Date published: 8:38 pm, April 26th, 2011 - 63 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags: , , ,

Perhaps the most interesting comment in the whole ACT leadership saga thus far has come from ACT president Chris Simmons who has said:

Rodney Hide has enough support in the caucus to stay, but says the board would not stand in the way of a change if MPs backed Don Brash’s bid for the leadership.

That’s pretty telling. Simmons isn’t saying he has faith in Hide or that the party will make the call but that the leadership could change if either John Boscawen or Hilary Calvert jump to team-Brash.

It’s a corporatist and hierarchal approach you’d only ever see from ACT and it places great pressure on these two MPS.

Of course it’s a classic prisoners’ dilemma – if they both hold out they might end up ok (at least until the election) but if they don’t the incentive for going first is huge: the first to jump should get at least 3rd on the list; the second won’t be seen in parliament again.

I’m picking Boscawen won’t shift. He’s got an almost robotic sense of duty (albeit misplaced in this case) and Hide has clearly seen this and done right by him by making him deputy leader following the Garrett disaster.

Which leaves Calvert – She’s a political naif and at the moment she’s clearly the weakest link but her natural place is in team Brash – she’s very much a neoliberal ideologue.

As such I’d imagine there’s a lot of pressure on her now from both camps but I think she’ll shift her support behind Don.

I’ve never seen such a new MP with so much power over the future of their party. Classic.

Update: As of noon today 3 News reports that Rodney may be about to go…

63 comments on “It’s all on Calvert”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    I’ve never seen such a new MP with so much power over the future of their party. Classic.

    She’ll want a Ministerial post after November, in exchange for her support.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2
    The party pres was quoted on 3news basically calling Brash an angry old man trying to make up for his political failures. So the pressure is well on now.

    Garner sounded pretty certain that Hide has the numbers. So if Brash does start his new party, then it’s an all in knife fight in the streets of Epsom. 

    Would the Brash party want even want either of Boscie or Calvert seeing they couldn’t swing him ACTs leadership?

    Key’s signal about list voting in Epsom was clear enough with only Rodney running, but an ugly media circus around Banks vs Rodney with Key and Brash in the background making demands and ruling things out? hahahahaha. Enjoy the limelight bluebloods.

    Brash was pretty clear that he wanted ACT because of its infrastructure. Those folks are going to be pissed now however this shakes out, and it looks like brash will have the cash, and Rodney will have the disheartened and spiteful party infrastructure. 

    • RobertM 2.1

      Hide can’t go it alone , he hasn’t got the dosh. If Brash has any sense he’ll start a new Reform Party, ditch the Actors, but keep the liberated Rodney as the one act member included.

  3. It’s a classic prisoners’ dilemma apart from the fact that they can talk to each other (presumably). I wonder what they’d say?

    antispam: switchs

  4. And now the antispam is ‘hide’???

  5. Wow, if the right’s future depends on Hilary all I can say is wowee it is really like naff, silly.
  6. Samuel Hill 6

    Whatever, Hide is gone in November. 

    My antispam is alternative lol

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Good lord but this is getting nasty from the insiders fast and public. In comments at KB Whale warns Hide partisans not to unload the anti Brash smear they are sitting on lest it bite them back hard.

    Dpf puts up a post about how crazy an all leaders debate would be (an idea very similar to a comment at dimpost, I have to add), and this happens….

    Matthew Hooton (14) Says:
    April 26th, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    You are so right that Key and Goff would want to stay away from this. Otherwise they might be involved in something where anything could happen on live TV, something as appalling as one of those mentioned above, say, accusing another of, say, having a love child, which might mean that that person could then be forced to accuse the other of something as equally untrue, like – god knows? – something like sending texts to his girlfriend when his wife was in labour. False and disgusting accusations like these are the last thing NZ politics needs.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      I’m no expert on the sordid lives of the right but I would imagine there’s more dirt on Hide than Brash.

      • Armchair Critic 7.1.1

        I have an excellent story about Brash and a woman who I won’t identify publicly, back when he was governor of the RB. Hide, who I probably should have heard more about (due to my chosen profession), hasn’t featured. Maybe because I don’t really care what politicians do in their private lives.

        • Lindsey 7.1.1.1

          Brash has always been reputed to have a bit of a trouser problem. One of the explanations for the Hollow Men emails was that the lot was leaked by a disgruntled ex squeeze.

    • Eddie 7.2

      jesus. Must suck to be a rightie. Times like this I’m glad that the left sees politics as a contest of ideas, not just which bastard ends up on top after the fight.

      What they’re doing now is rolling out the nukes and threatening each other with mutually-assured destruction. Problem for Brash is that if Hide thinks he’s losing he’ll just push the button anyway and both of them will be toast.

      • George.com 7.2.1

        Eddie, tell Hide to give me a few minutes to go and get a bowl of popcorn and a cup of tea before he starts.

    • rosy 7.3

      noooo eeewww surely no-one would go there – with either of them.

      captcha: shames !!!

  8. Eddie 8

    “He’s got an almost robotic sense of duty”

    robot with a few screws loose.

    I dunno if I see Calvert jumping. But who knows what goes on in that little head.

    Either Hide goes or he is mortally wounded.

    Ideally, Brash starts a new party and there’s a four way brawl in Epsom with the far-right ripping its own throat out, National\’s candidate winning, and Winnie getting in there calling them all traitors.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      and Winnie getting in there calling them all traitors.

      Gosh he must be shaking with anticipation! A political platform gifted from heaven (~John Key).

  9. Carol 9

    And Dunne gets in on the act. Is he afraid he is also disappearing into oblivion? He doesn’t hold back either.

    http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/arrogant-old-men/

    AUTHOR: Peter Dunne

    The breathtaking arrogance of the right wing of politics never ceases to amaze me.

    The clumsy, Don Brash fronted (but no doubt manipulated by others) attempt to take over the leadership of the ACT Party is a classic case in point. The purity of the cause seems always to outweigh the practicalities, let alone the sensibilities of those involved. In earlier times, it was the type of grandiose pomposity that led to the great imperial conquests that sowed the seeds of so much of the bitterness our world now struggles to redress. Or, in its most sinister form, it gave rise to the pursuit of lebensraum that led to the enslavement of most of Europe and the most despicable ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen

  10. George.com 10

    Spot the difference:

    November 2009 – John Key

    “Prime Minister John Key was dismissive of the group’s (Don Brashs 2025 Taskforce) first report and has suggested that its recommendations are unlikely to be implemented quickly, if at all….In that regard I am not convinced that absolutely radical big bang reform is the right way to go,” Mr Key told Radio New Zealand.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10612503

    April 2011

    “Meantime, Prime Minister John Key is not ruling out working with Brash”
    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/act-faces-oblivion-without-change-brash-4142548

    Same stale old Brash policies but for some reason a greater willingness on Keys part to countenance them.

  11. Samuel Hill 11

    One has to wonder if all of this scam has happened now in order to keep the attention off of what John Key is doing in Britain. He can’t be all ANZAC ceremonies and waiting around for a wedding. He is meeting with Tory Prime Minister David Cameron at some stage.

    • rosy 11.1

      More likely it’s happening now because he is in Britain so he can keep his brand clean.

      • korero 11.1.1

        According to the radio this morning, he is being briefed on Cameron’s upcoming reforms. Draw your own conclusions.

        • Rich 11.1.1.1

          I think it’s fairly unlikely that Key will try and roll Cameron.

          He is, I think, entitled to UK citizenship through his father, so that’s no obstacle. But the Tories vote by a convoluted method, and might look awry at someone who’s from 12,000 miles away and hasn’t been a member for many years, if at all.

          But then again, they let Lord Ashcroft be party chairman, despite his not actually being domiciled in the UK for tax.

    • felix 11.2

      He’ll also be meeting with his old mate and benefactor Lord Ashcroft.

      Wonder who else?

    • Deadly_NZ 11.3

      He was there today Photo Op with the Queen. Beef with poached egg and champers ?? yuk.

      Then off to number 10 to moan about the pom’s departure tax quadrupling in the next 5 years or so, then more feasting this time on the English tax payer…

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10721753

  12. JustMal 12

    I wonder if you could be accused of being socialist ideologue for mistaking a democratic process for “a corporatist and hierarchal approach” just because its involving the far right. Last time I checked going with what the majority of your members wanted was the antithesis of a corporatist approach.

  13. Jan 13

    Hang on – both the named likely protagonists are National Party members – National Party members – Don Brash and John Banks. Peter Dunne’s article portrays John Key’s government as a dupe of this “clumsy” proposal – a punch on the nose from the right – but surely this should be read more accurately as a “whole of the right” if not a National Party – manufactured ruse to have a party (which without manipulation like this would likely not exist) following the next election either to allow it to implement policy that is risky or too far to the right – three strikes – or to ignore – in the manner of the 2025 taskforce – so that we can sigh with relief when pliant MSM tell us that the the unpalatable prescriptions are being put aside in favour of ‘centrist’ propoSals.

    anti-spam – ARITHMETICS

    • Carol 13.1

      Agreed. Dunne is just trying to position himself as the moderate option that could go left or right. To do this he needs to paint the Nats & Labour as the more moderate options, compared with ACT, Mana etc.

    • ianmac 13.2

      Agree Jan. And in due course Act or the Brash New Party can be amputated if too upsetting to the voters.

    • felix 13.3

      Exactly Jan.

      Remember when the U.S. was attacked by a bunch of Saudis on 11/9/2001?

  14. NickS 14

    Heh, anyone else notice the 3 news has been saying Brash didn’t win the leadership? Where as there’s been nothing else on any of the other usual news sites at all.

  15. korero 15

    Having got this far, and gone public, the pressures for success (however defined) will be mounting exponentially.

    Expect all sorts of inducements being dangled in front of Boscawen, Calvert, and Hide by the “grumpy arrogant, old men” behind the coup.

    Ostende mihi pecuniam !

    (Show me the money !)

    • Pascal's bookie 15.1

      ‘straight korero

      Fran in today’s Herald:

      So, it is hardly surprising that there is a groundswell of support within the harder edged sections of the business community in Brash’s favour.

      There’s also been plenty of backchat suggesting Act’s financial backers are aware they may need to financially underwrite a new job for Hide if there is to be any chance at all of persuading him it’s time to make way for new leadership.

      Goes on to suggest he be given Kerr’s cushy long lived gig at the BRT.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/fran-osullivan-on-business/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502864&objectid=10721683

      • felix 15.1.1

        Bit weird. Has he ever run a business?

        Or is it more about the round tables with that lot?

        • Pascal's bookie 15.1.1.1

          I gave up on organised religion a long time ago and it’s kind of hard to follow what’s going on unless you understand the symbols.

          I think he is being elevated in a free market rapture to a realm beyond either service or work. Or something.

          Still, point and laugh, point and laugh.

          –>

          Act’s financial backers are aware they may need to financially underwrite a new job for Hide if there is to be any chance at all of persuading him it’s time to make way for new leadership.

          hahahahahahha.

  16. The Voice of Reason 16

    Hide sent this email to ACT supporters last night:

    On Good Friday, Don Brash informed the President that he had told the Dominion Post he would only be interested in working with ACT as the leader of the party. This has resulted in an unprecedented leadership challenge by a person who is not a member of the party.

    Let me give you the background.

    I have always encouraged Don to join ACT, even before he joined and stood for National in 2002, and again when he lost the leadership of National to John Key in 2006.

    Now in 2011, I have been working proactively with the President and Board to identify strong candidates who will build strength into the future of the ACT Party. This included engaging with Don Brash, and a number of others, to gauge their interest in joining the ACT Party Candidate register.

    Don and I had a series of meetings during which time a number of ideas were floated on how the party could best leverage Don’s strengths. Don’s initial position was that he would join only as leader, with John Banks as ACT’s candidate in Epsom. I suggested John Banks was not an ACT person but that clearly Don was.

    I discussed Don’s proposal with the President, Vice President and Deputy Leader. We were agreed that the first step for Don was to join the party.

    I met with Don, asking him to join and said I would pay his membership fee! He refused. We reviewed various options on how we could work together in a collaborative way to build a strong party for the future.

    Don then wrote me a letter setting out his decision to turn down the opportunity. The letter alarmed me because I thought it was a letter designed to be leaked, as it was especially one-sided. I shared the letter with the President, Vice President and Deputy Leader.

    That was where matters stood.

    I was as surprised as anyone with Don announcing over Easter he wanted to publicly contest the leadership of the ACT Party while still a member of the National Party.

    Don has publicly stated that he will only become a member of ACT if he is leader. In today’s media Don has made his interests very clear.

    It seems to me that Don has put ACT into a difficult position because he can’t become leader unless he is a member. The leadership of ACT is determined by the caucus and ratified by the Board.

    My position is that I serve as Leader of the ACT Party on behalf of the membership until the caucus and the board determine otherwise.

    And so, the President and I, along with the Board and the caucus, continue to seek out good candidates for ACT who will build a strong party into the future. Leadership succession is an essential consideration, just as it is in any organization. Equally we wish to provide ACT members with a team that will deliver on our ideals and principles, who will ensure that New Zealand becomes a prosperous economy where individuals are empowered to succeed.

    I do not intend on putting my head in the sand over this challenge, but at the same time there is important work to be done that builds on the foundations the Board has been laying over the last few months.

    I look forward to talking with you personally as I continue the excellent visits around the country such as I enjoyed last week in the Waikato.

    Best regards
    Rodney Hide

    • Carol 16.1

      The RNZ journo on Nine-to-Noon said this email from Hide, paints Brash as being unco-operative and achieves a stale-mate between them.

  17. Carol 17

    Gordon Campbell reckons Boscowan is the swing voter, weighs up the pros & cons of the issue, and delivers some great lines:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1104/S00155/gordon-campbell-on-the-brash-coup-attempt-and-sean-penn.htm

    Unfortunately, the obvious downside of a successful leadership bid against Hide – and the ascent of geriatric generals like Brash and Banks – is that it will make Act look uncannily like the last incarnation of the Soviet Union, where a series of doddery old men swapped power at the top, while the party slowly toppled off the cliff of history.

    The problem isn’t so much that Brash is now 70 – its that he’s been 70 for the past 25 years. His policy positions haven’t changed one iota since 1985.

    • Puddleglum 17.1

      He might not like the messiness in the execution, but I still think Key is happy with the move Brash is making. Even the clumsiness won’t tarnish Key’s brand – he’s probably aloof from it in the the eyes of many people. He also knew about Brash’s plan beforehand (by his own admission) and, at the very least, did nothing – apparently – to discourage it (Perhaps he was powerless?).

      As Campbell notes, there’s complete compatibility in the (second term) policy area with a Brash-led ACT. Key admits as much by saying he agrees with the goals but not the methods of policies Brash favours. (Also, that policy hope for the second term looks decidedly shaky if National has to rely on UF and the MP. The MP has already split over the first-term tensions, and, frankly, compared to the first term we ain’t seen nothing yet.)

      Whether you want to call it ‘conspiracy’, ‘collusion’, ‘strategising’ or just a deliberate policy of ‘benign neglect’ on Key’s part – he supports what’s going on. He, most definitely, can work with Brash. AFter all, pre-2005 election Key was able to persuade Rod Deane of his ‘right’ credentials.

      The only point I’d disagree with in Campbell’s analysis is the assumption that National gets weakened (from its current position) by a resurgent ACT. Even in the petty party political sense (i.e., Key being primarily concerned about National Party votes rather than the policy outcomes), National is likely to be unaffected by, or even gain, from a resurgent ACT if the left isn’t aware of the narrative that will be trotted out.

      As I’ve mentioned before, if the election gets portrayed as inevitably resulting in either a National outright majority or a National-ACT coalition, how will the centre ‘jump’? To Labour? Why, if the inevitable result – in their minds – will be a National-led government?

      They’ll vote National – having written off Labour – in a mistaken attempt to ‘moderate’ the post-election government. Ironically, this narrative works even better if ACT is led by someone clearly ‘extreme’, economically. The natural ACT supporters currently supporting National will switch, and the centre will cleave even more strongly to Key. It’s the prisoners’ dilemma at the population level.

      National could end up having as many seats as it does now, or one or two more, while ACT gains another two or three seats. Epsom voters will see the options and vote accordingly to provide a ‘safety net’ for ACT, should Brash not attract the 5% needed.

      That narrative (of the inevitability of some form of a National-led government post-election) has to be defused. Only by doing that would these current machinations turn into the self-destruction of the far right that, at present, it simply has the appearance of. If a Labour-led government starts to look possible then Brash will, once again, be the downfall of all he holds dear.

      Of course, there’s also Winston (and Hone). Also, I could be wrong.

  18. Bored 18

    Jeez that photo is scary.

  19. randal 19

    I wanna be there when wodney goes into warp drive and finally implodes.

  20. r0b 20

    As of noon today 3 News reports that Rodney may be about to go…

    • Armchair Critic 20.1

      Same article describes John Banks as “popular”. Well, that’s not really in accordance with the 2010 local body election results.
      It would be good to see Brash take over the wreck that is ACT. Why start fresh and clean when you can have a ruin?

  21. Sean 21

    To quote the TV 3 article…

    3 News understands that Brash insiders, as of this lunchtime, are in the process of convincing Hide-supporter John Boscawen to change allegiance,

    So Hide, gone by lunchtime?

  22. korero 22

    From Derek Cheng at NZH ..

    Act deputy leader John Boscawen looks like someone who has changed his mind in the Act leadership stakes.

    Boscawen holds the balance of power in any leadership vote in a caucus of five MPs, as does Hilary Calvert. A vote from either could tip the balance in Don Brash’s favour.

    Calvert has consistently said since the beginning that she would vote for Rodney Hide over Don Brash. Boscawen hasn’t.

    He initially refused to give that assurance, despite being asked repeatedly. On Sunday he told me he was 100 per cent behind Hide’s leadership, but he refused to comment when I asked him directly if he would vote for Hide.

    He also refused to comment to the Dominion Post when asked if he believed Hide was the best person to lead Act into the election.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10721809

  23. Carol 23

    And as of about 1pm today, Hide told TVNZ he was not standing down as leader & that the idea he was, was done by Team Brash to whip up the story. Hide said he has Boscawen’s support:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/rodney-hide-won-t-resign-denies-crisis-meeting-4143376

    • Campbell Larsen 23.1

      Its a sad desperate attempt by their puppet masters the Nats to increase the public profile of a fossil and gain attention where none is due. These two wanna-be, but really has been radicals, dancing their sorry awkward string dance, parroting failed and discredited policies are about as newsworthy as what I had for breakfast.

      • Carol 23.1.1

        Yes, but it’s more entertaining than a royal weding. I see a poll on Stuff’s site has about 46% not looking forward to the wedding … and stuff’s polls always lean to the right. Even with the big media beat-up of it, they can’t get decisive support for it.

        At least the Brash/Act thing means we can focus on policies, not forget them.

        • Campbell Larsen 23.1.1.1

          True – they owe us some entertainment at the very least after all that they have put the country through – dance puppets, dance!

  24. Rodel 24

    Scenario:
    Don ousts Rodney so Rodney joins Nats and says he’s recanted and had an epiphany and centre right is what he really believes in, becomes Nat’s Epsom candidate against John Banks.
    Don just goes on the list because he’s never won an election anyway.
    Epsom voters fed up with being treated as irrelevant non participants, vote in Winston.

    Nah…won’t happen!

  25. Raymond A Francis 25

    Carol, best line on this whole c*********k
    \”The problem isn’t so much that Brash is now 70 – its that he’s been 70 for the past 25 years. \”
    Fantastic

  26. The corporate packaging of bumbling Mr Magoo ‘nice guy’ Don Brash has been stripped away to reveal bumbling Don the Dictator – the ‘Don’ Bra$h with the cash – ‘it’s my way or the highway’!

    How many of the old ‘diggers’ whose sacrifices are commemorated on ANZAC day would be turning in their graves like rotisserie chickens – at this blatant perversion of democracy by corporate interests who want more ‘Rogernomic$’?

    What happened to ‘the will of the people’ being the basis of the authority of government?

    Just who does Don Bra$h with the corporate ca$h think he is?

    NZ ‘democracy’ according to the ‘golden rule’?
    Those who have the gold – make the rules?

    Is this how ‘democracy’ works in ‘clean green NZ – ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world?

    We get the government the majority of big business want us to have.

    National are panicking because they know they won’t get the numbers to govern alone, and possible coalition allies are looking decidedly politically wobbly.

    There is in actual fact – very little real difference between either the policies or personnel of National or ACT.

    The fact that Don the Dictator has yet to even join ACT, and is laying down the law about Rodney Hide needing to stand down and National’s John Banks should stand for Epsom is just breathtaking political arrogance of the highest order?

    For those who are suitably horrified at the thought of even more Rogernomic$ from ‘shonky’ John Key and Don the Dictator
    – there is something you can do about it!

    MARCH FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE!
    Sunday 1 May 2011
    2pm
    Rally opposite Britomart – then march down Queen Street!
    (Organised by the Coalition for Social Justice (AUCKLAND)

    For more information
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

    Penny Bright

  27. Carol 27

    And while others were saying it was Boscawen that was the swing voter, it looks like IrishBill called it correctly, that it’s all on Calvert, and she’s crumbling:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4934835/Brash-thinks-he-has-the-numbers-to-roll-Hide

    Dr Brash and Mr Hide spent yesterday lobbying ACT MPs but their fates could rest with the party’s newest MP, Hilary Calvert, who pledged her support for Mr Hide at the weekend – but spent yesterday afternoon in a meeting at Dr Brash’s Auckland apartment with Hide opponent Sir Roger Douglas.

    Ms Calvert did not return calls and refused to comment as she left. But after the meeting, Dr Brash said he was “cautiously optimistic” of securing the ACT leadership, suggesting he believed that he has her support.

    • rosy 27.1

      Bonded in bigotry

      according to the Herald

      One of the issues they discussed was Dr Brash’s position on the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori issues.

      Dr Brash said last night that he and Ms Calvert, who was a vociferous opponent of the foreshore and seabed legislation, saw eye to eye on those issues.

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