John Banks says the brand he is campaigning for in Epsom is ‘Brand Key’ (yup, that’s gone mainstream now), not ACT. Epsomites don’t want three-time loser Don Brash but it’s unavoidably true that a vote for Banks is a vote for Brash. This is leading to a further unattractive debacle as Banks tries to distance himself from his leader, who he’s trying to get into parliament.
On Close Up the other night, Banks was twice asked to explicitly endorse Brash as his leader and he refused to do so. When another candidate at an Epsom candidate meeting pointed out exactly who Banks was representing, Banks’ reaction was extraordinary.
All of this bizarre internal fighting and disrespect just makes Banks, Brash, and ACT even less attractive to voters.
I don’t think a cup of tea from Key could save them at this stage.
And I’m still not sure it will happen.
Key’s not delaying until the absolutely last minute for the hell of it. He is in a Mexican stand-off with the media. If he sits down with Banks, he risks someone running the Banks story and getting that all-important ‘Brand Key’ sullied by association. And the media are holding off running the story until after any such endorsement to maximise its impact.
So, Key will continue to say that a cup of tea is a question for another day, while more and more Epsom votes get locked in, and the chances of Banks winning wilt.