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…