Tagged: National

Coalition agreements

ACT will not be going into formal coalition with National. This is because ACT does not want to risk losing its independence from National and wants to be able to vote against the many aspects of National policy with which it disagrees. Instead, it will gain one or ministers outside Cabinet and negotiate some policy compromises with the National Party. The near-absence of formal coalition agreements from New Zealand politics now seems to have become cemented. The 2005-2008 Progressive Party-Labour coalition may have been the last we will see. But why not have a formal coalition agreement? Germany, on whose...

The new world

In just four days we gained a US President-elect and an NZ Prime Minister-elect. If Phil Goff succeeds Helen Clark as Labour leader as expected, for the first time since 1993 both of New Zealand’s main parties will be headed by men. And Sir Roger Douglas is back in Parliament. Welcome to the new world. First, let me offer congratulations to ACT for an impressive comeback. And congratulations to the 10 people who correctly predicted in this site’s poll about a month ago that the party would gain a result in the 3-4% band. While ACT’s number of MPs not...

One swallow does not make a summer, but…

As ACT strategist Brian Nicolle emphasised to me in written remarks last year, National has not won an outright majority since 1951 – the year of the waterfront workers’ strike. One could argue that a landslide election victory is well overdue and deteriorating economic conditions (don’t forget, New Zealand, not the United States, is the country halfway to a technical recession) offer fertile ground for a National 50%+ result. But if the rule, rather than the exception, prevails, we should expect National’s support to erode over the next few months as voters seek to “keep Key honest”. Presuming National steps...

Populism on the rise again – an opportunity for ACT?

Populism seems to be on the rise again in New Zealand politics. Today we had Helen Clark declaring a virtual war on tagging with draconian, yet ineffective policies to deal with spray-paint vandalism. The chances of this sort of policy, which includes banning the sale of spray-paint to youths under 18, actually working hover slightly above nil. But it’s a popular policy to push to the electorate: 1. Tagging is a bane of the (mostly white) middle class. It gets people riled in a way that banging on about “sustainability” never will. Tagging is emotional, as it gets to the...

ACT’s “harsh feel” – the name change debate

I think ACT has got that harsh feel to it for me, like I find it quite a hard word to say, oh it sounds German, with the greatest respect to the German people. It sounds like “Achtung!”- “okay!”, whereas we want something warm – Rodney Hide, 30 August 2007* The one major fault I would have if I were one of Hide’s advisers with his on-air performance on Radio Live today was that he scarcely mentioned the word “ACT” in his programme. Now, maybe he was trying to be fair and not use the air-time as a campaigning vehicle,...

Summer theatre

Bad news. My “prediction” of just a couple of weeks back about John Key announcing a National-ACT deal in his Burnside speech has been dealt a bitter blow (to keep it in TV speak). There won’t be any Burnside speech. According to a report in today’s Dominion-Post, Key will in fact be giving his New Year speech at Ellerslie, with Helen Clark snapping on his heels the next day. Now if it had been Epsom, not Ellerslie, we might have been cooking. But while National and Labour will soon be full of oratory, ACT won’t be. As far as I...

BREAKING NEWS: A winning 2008 election strategy for ACT!

“This is 3 News, with Mike McRoberts and Hilary Barry” “Kia ora, good evening. National leader John Key kicked off the political year today with his Burnside speech. And he had a shock in store: a coalition deal signed and sealed with Rodney Hide’s ACT party, ten months before the election even takes place. For more on this story, political editor Duncan Garner joins us now live from Parliament. Duncan?” “Yes good evening Hilary, I can tell you that Key’s announcement took everyone completely by surprise, his advisers had been telling the media privately that Key would give a speech...

ACT’s Christmas letter – part 1

I joined ACT for research purposes in February 2007, at the outset of my research, but on Thursday this week finally received my first piece of conventional mail from the party. Of course, like most parties these days, ACT prefers to save money and use e-mail. Accordingly, it sends out the weekly ACTion! e-mail newsletter to members every Friday. The problem with ACTion! is that there’s not a lot in it and most of it is the same each week, having been copied and pasted from the previous edition. It’s also not very personalised and I’m sure for many people...

Another reason why a “Country Party” is not a good idea

Earlier in the year I covered an op-ed piece by former ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff in which he advocated the establishment of a Country Party to better represent rural interests in New Zealand. He used the example of the Nationals in Australia to support his argument. Well, the results of the recent Australian federal election should provide him with some advice. Australians gave the Nationals just 10 seats, its worst ever result. One of the reasons suggested by the Sydney Morning Herald for the party’s decline in fortunes was that urban lifestylers have encroached into more traditional rural territory, thus...

Stephen Franks to stand for National!

Some very interesting news out today: Stephen Franks is standing for National in Wellington Central. Although this was signalled in the NBR in July 2007, the big surprise for me is that he is standing in Wellington Central, where Heather Roy recently announced she was standing for ACT. This can only be seen as a slap in the face for ACT. Admittedly, it is quite likely that Franks’s nomination was already finalized before Roy announced her candidacy. Still, this will make for some interesting campaign meetings. Although we knew that Franks was being courted by National, I wonder if he...

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