Probably not welcomed with open arms

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).

One person ACT probably doesn’t want to see return to the party in a Roger Douglas-style rise from the ashes is Donna Awatere-Huata, disgraced in a fraud scandal which cost ACT valuable time, energy and money from 2002 to 2005. From December 2002, ACT became embroiled in a drawn-out process to remove Awatere-Huata from Parliament, after fraud allegations against her surfaced. Finding that Awatere-Huata had deceived it, the caucus expelled Awatere-Huata in early 2003 and initiated a process to expel her from parliament altogether.

Not only did Awatere-Huata’s fraud (she was convicted in August 2005) represent a severe breach of trust within the caucus, the internal division was accentuated by two years’ of media headlines such as “Prebble and Huata to face off in courtroom” (Dominion-Post, in 2003). Moreover, the efforts to cut Awatere-Huata adrift took up valuable party time and energy, with Prebble reportedly becoming consumed by the case (see Rodney Hide, My Year of Living Dangerously (2007), pp. 175-176). Indeed, the Awatere-Huata case appeared to precipitate dissatisfaction with Prebble’s leadership, which broke out openly in early 2004.

The Herald on Sunday recently reported that Awatere-Huata was returning to the Waipareira Trust to work, but would not handle money. Perhaps ACT would be prepared to take her back, if she did not handle politics?!

You may also like... - Understand the world through New Zealand