Ron Smith – update

Following my previous post, I sought comment from Dr. Ron Smith. His response:

Dear Geoffrey,

I am overseas at the moment. I will hope to have a look at your dissertation late November, when I get back.

I am no longer involved with ACT, though I have some contact with ACT and former ACT persons.

Regards

Ron Smith

This is pretty much what I expected to hear. As I understand it there are a lot of people around who were enthusiastic about ACT in its incipient and more wealthy phase around the mid-1990s, but who dropped off as the party became more institutionalized and more socially conservative.

Another example might be Craig Heatley, founder of Sky Television, who was one of ACT’s early big financial backers, but as far as I can make out has had little involvement in recent years. Unlike Smith, Heatley was never on the list (indeed, his role in ACT was always rather secretive). I’ll see if I can turn up some information on what happened to Heatley and report back in a later post, although I suspect I will not be able to find out much.

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2 Responses

  1. It would be untrue to say Craig Heatley had a secretive role. He was the ACT Party Commerce Affairs Spokesman in 1995, and was heavily involved in the pre-Prebble days, bowing out to allow more political people to come to the fore.

    I’m pretty sure Heatley was supportive throughout the 90s and early 2000s. My ACT involvement ceased in 2002, so no idea after that.

    I’d also quibble with the part where ACT lost the support of people because they became more socially conservative. I would argue that what caused ACT to lose the support of people was its emphasis on centralising party organisation at the Auckland Head Office and Wgtn’s Parliamentary Unit, thus killing the impetus to build healthy local chapters. In 1996, most electorates had very healthy committees and a few dedicated members to ensure membership and activity ticked along.

    By 2002, that had greatly changed. Hence it was no surprise that the party collapsed around Rodney Hide’s ascension, because there was so little left to engage in any activity locally to compensate for the loss of interest to the Brash led National Party.

  2. Oliver Woods says:

    It’s excellent you’re fufilling a role remiscent of a rational and non-Scientologist (whoops, I mean Zenith Applied Philosophy supporter) Trevor Loudon in that you’re making public what should be public about senior peoples backgrounds.

    It is very concerning that people can have such a strong political background yet try and keep it in the shadows whilst maintaining relatively senior careers that involve public advocacy and can allow large quantities of money to swap hands.

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