From the front line
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).
An Auckland-based contact e-mailed me the following thoughts on ACT:
On the ground, the feel for ACT is quite strange at the moment… ACT clearly gave the impression they are bigger than they are and are polling reasonably (well, around 3% was the ball park figure often given). What’s amazing is how many ACT billboards there are around Auckland, particularly in Epsom. What’s mental is that outside of Epsom, I think ACT has replaced every single former billboard they had a few weeks ago with new ones focusing on crime, etc….They’ve also been HEAVILY direct mailing and leafletting Epsom. This will be costing them a lot of money!
I get the impression that organisationally they’re f**ked. Apart from the obvious loss of a lot of their people to National (I guess their MPs must’ve been the tip of the iceberg), erstwhile radicals within the organisation like Blair Mulholland (a sometime critic of ACT and Hide and oft-switcher between ACT and the Nats) who is running Kenneth Wang’s campaign in Botany. Mulholland, while a nice guy, is a total political loose cannon. I’m also told by friends of mine that the much vaunted return of Roger Douglas hasn’t seen the influx of activists ACT would have liked.