Wong way to do things
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).
National MP Pansy Wong’s attack on Kenneth Wang, the ACT candidate in Botany, should backfire. Wong has lodged an EFA complaint against Wang on the basis that his billboards, which claim voting for Wang will net voters both Wang and Wong (because of the latter’s high list position), amounts to an unauthorised and untrue endorsement of Kenneth Wang by Pansy Wong, who has done no such thing.
If mainstream-niche party competition theory, as set out by Bonnie Meguid and discussed by me earlier this year, holds, this attack should have only upside for ACT. Voters feel sympathetic to a small party being attacked by a larger rival; moreover, the attack has drawn far more attention to the billboards than they would have had just being mounted on the street (the Herald article, for starters).
And voters will likely seriously consider Wang’s proposition: as he himself points out, people like a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Botany is a new seat created after the 2006 census (see the Wikipedia for a surprisingly detailed background piece).