Act Policy – Honesty for Taxpayers (yeah, right)

ACT Party leader Jamie Whyte announced a new policy yesterday that would require the Government to clearly state what policies would cost relative to potentially reductions in tax.

They want the public to be able to judge the value of proposed bills by ensuring they know the tax repercussions of new policy costs – ACT proposes an Honesty for Taxpayers policy.

For example, the government should be keen to alert taxpayers that, without Working for Families:

  • the 17.5% income tax rate would be 12.5% OR
  • the 10.5% income tax rate would be 3.5%.

The Minister for Tertiary Education should be keen to remind everyone that, if not for interest-free student loans

  • the 17.5% income tax rate be would 16% OR
  • the 28% company tax would be 25% OR
  • the 33% top income tax rate would be 30%.

I doubt that the Ministers would be keen to do that. Hence the necessity to require it.

On this policy, regulatory impact statements, cabinet submissions and ministers’ introductory speeches for Bills in parliament will need to state clearly that “but for this proposal, your income tax rate would be X percentage points lower”.

When taxpayers visit the website of any government agency or local council and any programme of that agency, they should have a clear idea of the price of that agency in their taxes or rates.

Government departments and agencies should be required to declare on their home webpage “but for this agency, your income tax rate would be X% lower”.

Similar rules should apply to local governments. They should be required to reveal how much lower rates would be if not for a particular new policy proposal or existing service of the Council.

If a minister, department, agency or local council believes that the programmes it administers do indeed offer value for money to taxpayers, they should be proud to say how they are putting taxes to work in the clearest way taxpayers can understand.

If you do not know what something costs, you cannot know if it is worth the price. Good decision-making depends on good information. In a democracy, this means that voters must be reminded of how much they are paying for government activities.

Politicians from the big spending parties will oppose this policy. That shows what a good idea it is. The bureaucracy will also resist it, because voters will be surprised to realise that much new spending is generated by bureaucrats. MPs and councillors will be more reluctant to just wave through spending when the information is publicly available.

By using the tools of the information age ACT seeks to make our elected representatives more accountable and allow citizens to participate in a more meaningful way.

Act would need to ensure that one of the favourite political cost covering lies is not able to be used, as done by Winston Peters in the weekend.

Tax dodgers, GST on food top NZ First hit list

New Zealand First would take GST off basic food items and rates bills and would target tax dodgers to fund the expensive policies, leader Winston Peters said yesterday.

Mr Peters said his policy would save New Zealanders but cost the Crown a whopping $3 billion a year or thereabouts.

Labour recently said to fund policies they would “clamp down on tax avoidance by multi-national corporations because we believe that everyone should pay their fair share.” From their Fiscal Plan:

Labour will close off tax advantages that promote speculation and clampdown on tax avoidance, particularly by multi-nationals.

Labour will set a target of reducing tax avoidance by $20 million a year in 2015/16, rising to $200 million a year in 2018/19.

Governments have been trying to “clamp down on” and minimise tax avoidance for yonks. The current government has been continually trying to reduce avoidance and evasion.

At least Labour has a relatively modest target of $200 million. NZ First look to be blatantly dishonest claiming they can cover $3 billion by targeting ‘tax dodgers’.

Act may find it difficult imposing honesty on government, but they think their small idea could end up being highly influential.

ACT has a new proposal to make our democracy more accountable. The proposal may seem small but it could be the most significant idea in this election.

Policies such as the one I am announcing today, which change the behaviour of politicians, have greater long term effects than any particular proposals for this or that government activity, such as giving school children laptops, subsidising solar panels and the rest of the little tax-funded bribes the other parties trade in.

A proposal to reform New Zealand’s government accounts was hardly noticed in the 1993 election campaign. Yet the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1994 has had a profound effect on how New Zealand is governed. Government accounts are now transparent and neither Labour nor National wants to be responsible for a deficit. The Fiscal Responsibility Act is probably the real reason why the government books will be back in the black by next year.

ACT’s fresh idea could be as influential as the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

It could be influential – but it’s not easy making politicians and governments more accountable, especially when it comes to honestly justifying increased spending.

Different impressions of Jamie Whyte

Contrasting impressions of ACT leader Jamie Whyte in recent interviews.

Brian Edwards said on on Firstline this morning he thought Whyte was “particularly unimpressive as a leader”.

‘Wyndham, George’ commented at The Standard:

Jamie Whyte is shyte. He was interviewed by Michael Wilson on TV3 and was a blithering stuttering mess!

A comment closer to home (from someone who has never backed ACT and is never likely to):

He sounds very thoughtful.

After pointing out some hesitancy in Whyte’s responses:

It looked like he was having to think through questions he wasn’t prepared for, but spoke honestly about what he thought. Not political, no bland bull.

Wyndham, George is a political opponent of Whyte. Edwards trains politicians to speak to the media.

The other opinion was an ordinary person outside of the political arena.

On ACT’s 3 strikes for burglars policy

ACT leader Jamie Whyte has announced more detail on his party’s three strikes for burglars policy. NZ Herald reports Jail burglars after third offence, says Act.

More than 2000 families will have returned home from the Easter break to find they had been burgled, and Act says it is the only New Zealand political party offering a serious solution.

Party leader Jamie Whyte yesterday outlined a three-strikes policy, under which burglars will spend at least three years in prison if convicted of the crime a third time.

Fewer than 2 per cent of burglaries resulted in a term of imprisonment last year, Dr Whyte said, and the Act policy would change this.

“Burglary is a problem that requires strong political leadership. Act is the only party with a policy that can significantly reduce this blight on our society.”

There’s been a wide range of opinions expressed at Kiwiblog in ACT proposes three strikes for burglaries including ‘FE Smith’ with a warning for ACT.

It is sad that a right wing libertarian party has to adopt the policies of the most authoritarian UK government in 100 years, and a Labour one at that, in order to be relevant.

I seem to remember that ACT was doing its best in the polls when it concentrated on economic issues, which is why I have generally supported it.

The Herald summarises ACT’s three strikes:

• Offenders will be sentenced to three years in prison without parole if convicted of a third burglary offence.

• Juvenile offenders will not have their convictions treated as strikes unless they are convicted of a further offence in adulthood.

• The third-strike penalty may be overruled by a judge who believed there to be extreme hardship in sentencing the offender to three years in prison.

PaulL covers the main policy points at Kiwiblog and makes some comments:

Gee, there’s a lot of people talking crap on here today. Luckily some nuggets in there, which include:

  1. The policy only applies to those over 18 on getting their third strike
  2. The policy as proposed is retrospective. That’s a bad idea, and needs to be changed, we don’t want some political parties getting the idea that we agree with retrospective law changes
  3. The policy as proposed can catch someone for three offences all in one go, rather than needing a warning, then a repeat, then a warning, then a repeat. That’s probably also a bad idea and needs changing.
  4. A policy like this is no use without also increasing the clearance rates for burglary investigations. Is it a case of increasing police resourcing, or do they actually know who did most of the crimes and don’t have time/inclination/laws to deal with it? I seem to recall some suggestion that 80% of property crimes are committed by a very small group of people (the ones this law would hopefully lock up)
  5. We also need some attempt to address some of the prompters of crime. That is to say, many people commit crimes to feed their (illegal) drug habit or due to mental health issues. – so both decriminalise drugs, and provide better treatment options for drug and mental health issues.

That would be a reasonable and comprehensive policy. Where’s Jamie Whyte on that?

One comment was that “Three years in jail equals about $270,000″ – would that sort of money be best to go towards more and longer sentences, or towards prevention, apprehension and conviction under the current laws?

ACT links:

Lawyer Graeme Edgeler has added:

I don’t agree that the policy is retrospective.

The law change being proposed is that those with the prior convictions for burglary must receive a sentence with a non-parole period of at least 3 years. The burglary for which this is imposed must be a burglary committed after the law enters into force.

There is no retrospectivity in this proposal.

Not saying I support it, and you could argue everyone should get at a formal warning, like the three strikes for violent offending regime, but it’s not retrospective.

State of the parties

The election campaign has effectively kicked off in earnest. The next six months will be a long time in politics. It’s difficult to predict many things. Everything remains up for grabs.

Two polls yesterday had similar results for the three main parties, and the recent Roy Morgan is also included.
RM=Roy Morgan, CB=One News/Colmar, RR=3 News/Reid Research

National
RM 45.5, CB 47, RR 45.9

Polls have ranged in the low forties to low fifties, averaging around the current levels which are similar to National’s last election 47%. They seem to have survived recent Labour attacks on Judith Collins and Hekia Parata reasonably unscathed.

It’s very unlikely National will get a majority of seats alone so is as much reliant on small party results as it is on keeping it’s own support up in the high forties. The Maori Party, ACT and UnitedFuture are all in doubt but stand a reasonable chance of getting several seats between them. It’s doubtful if the Conservatives will get into the mix.

An improving economy is in National’s favour which will be balanced against second term attrition.

John Key remains reasonably popular although down from the last term. He usually does well in one on one debates but has to be careful to not appear arrogant or dismissive.

If they avoid major scandals (especially involving Key) National should hold up but will be hoping for weak partners to step up.

Labour
RM 31.5, CB 31, RR 31.2

Polls have settled down in the low thirties after a brief surge after David Cunliffe took over the leadership. Recent attacks on National have failed to lift Labour, negative politics may knock the opposing party a little but it’s usually not good for gaining support, which Labour desperately needs to do.

Labour are totally reliant on a partnership with the Greens. A plus is that Greens look solid. A minus is that Labour remains unconvincing. Labour may also need NZ First and possible Mana and/or the Internet Party. A party that still looks in disarray with a difficult to manage combination of parties makes Labour’s job of convincing voters they are ready to govern again challenging.

After an initial surge of support Cunliffe keeps slipping, getting 8-9% in the latest Preferred Prime Minister polls. He struggles to look authentic and is often missing in action. Labour have not yet succeeding in recovering from the departure of the Helen Clark and Michael Cullen partnership  both a party and with leadership.

It’s possible Labour could end up cobbling together a coalition but the election and the post election negotiations will both be difficult for them. A chance of a collapse in support hovers should the voters give up on Labour’s various vulnerabilities.

Green Party
RM 14, CB 11, RR 11.3

Greens had a recent poll of 8% but that looks to be an outlier, they have otherwise ranged between 10 and 14 averaging 11-12 which means they are holding their last election support (but they often poll higher than they get in elections).

The Greens are looking very well organised and are into campaign mode. They are the one solid party of this term and if they avoid campaign disasters should come to close to maintaining their current MP numbers, and could increase them.

Their main problem is not their own, it’s their essential coalition partner, Labour. If Labour fail then so do the Greens no matter what they achieve.  NZ First are also a threat because if Winston Peters returns he will hold stronger cards then the Greens, being able to play off National against Labour. The Internet Party may take some Green vote.

Russel Norman has often looked like the Leader of the Opposition this term. He is experienced, focussed and ambitious. He is a consistent strength for Greens but his ambitions on economic matters worry some and may end up playing against him. He is being promoted as possible Deputy Prime Minister.

Metiria Turei is co-leader and is currently ranked number one in Green ranking. She tends to work with the Green base more than the wider public. The traditional media seem to dismiss her chances as Deputy Prime Minister but the Greens will decide who they want to put forward. Their official stance is co-leadership but two deputies will be out of balance in a coalition. Turei would provide an interesting dynamic in an old school Labour dominated cabinet.

Greens should do well but their fate is out of their hands, they are reliant on Labour looking like a credible Government and they would prefer NZ First and the Internet Party drop out of the picture.

NZ First
RM 3.5, CB 7, RR 4.9

NZ First is fluctuating in the polls but maintains a healthy average and looks a reasonable chance of beating the 5% threshold again. They are benefiting from National slips and Labour’s lack of traction.

The NZ First MPs are very low profile and as usual look like relying on Winston Peters. The old campaigner pops up occasionally but is mostly out of the news – but he knows how to campaign and will time his run.

Peters is a master of manipulating media and will be looking for any opportunity to jump on a defining issue in the last few weeks of the campaign. National will be doing their best to avoid another cup of tea disaster but the media seem addicted to boosting their ratings with Peters and therefore boosting his chances.

At this stage NZ First looks a good bet to succeed this election. The big question mark is what that means for any coalition possibilities and there will be fears of Winston induced instabilities. This is more likely to limit their numbers rather than drop them below 5%.

Maori Party
RM 2.0, CB 0.9, RR 1,5

Party support in polls and elections hasn’t been a significant factor for the Maori Party in the past because their strength has been in electorate seats, but this may change this year.

The Maori Party has a battle on it’s hands to retain any of it’s three electorate seats this time but the odds are good to keep at least one of it’s current three. If it only keeps one or two then their party vote may become a factor in their final count.

New leader Te Ururoa Flavell is out there trying to build a profile but is an unknown at this level. He needs to step up and find a way of getting some media attention, which could be difficult because he is (so far) uncontroversial.

The Maori Party should return but will have to battle hard to keep their numbers up. Labour’s struggles may help them

ACT Party
RM 0,5, CB 0.3, RR 1.1

ACT have recovered from poll zeroes but it’s early in their attempted recovery. All will depend on Epsom. If they succeed there they could help National retain power.

The ACT party vote could lift from their 2011 debacle when Don Brash ousted Rodney Hide and took over, and installed an unlikely John Banks in Epsom.

New leader Jamie Whyte is intelligent but intellectual. He will struggle to interest the media unless he stuffs up. He will also struggle to appeal to voters. As he builds experience and if he can appear confident he may lift things a bit.

ACT’s best chances may come from National spin-off. If enough voters want National returned but don’t want to reward National too much or don’t want a single party majority  then ACT may benefit.

Mana Party
RM 0, CB 0, RR 1.1

You can’t take much from the polls for Mana, their supporters may be the hardest to find for pollsters.

On their own Mana are unlikely to lift much in party support. This is probably why they are considering a deal with Kim Dotcom, realising lifting their own party vote will be difficult. This may help them, but it could just as easily damage their brand.

Hone Harawira is the obvious essential for Mana and should retain his Te Tai Tokerau electorate – unless there’s a backlash against the Dotcom dalliance. This is a real risk for Mana. Labour have got the respected Kelvin Davis as candidate again, he has been closing the gap on Harawira in previous elections.

Mana are a good bet to retain an electorate but the Internet Party is a risky punt.

UnitedFuture
RM 0.5, CB 0.1, RR 0.1

United Future have really struggled to impress in polls for two terms. To the voting public the party is non existent, although a surge of membership last year when UnitedFuture was de-registered shows there is still some interest out there.

Peter Dunne’s chances in Ohariu look reasonable. Labour and Greens no longer have candidates with public profiles. National are likely to assist with a low profile candidate. Dunne knows how to work his electorate.

Otherwise the prospects for UnitedFuture simply aren’t there. They don’t have a very active party and they have no people other than Dunne with any profile.

Dunne is a good bet to retain Ohariu and may help National stay in power but that is the best that can be expected.

Conservative Party
RM 1.5, CB 2.3, RR 1,9

The Conservative Party has maintained an average of around 2% with a range of 1-3. They should be able to maintain this – but doubling support to make the 5% threshold will be very difficult, despite being one of the best financed parties.

Colin Craig is determined and rich, and he has some appeal but he is also seen as wacky and is sometimes unfairly called Crazy Colin.

An easy electorate ride has been talked about but it remains elusive for Craig. National would be taking a big risk gifting him a seat and look lukewarm on it at the moment.

The jury is out on Craig’s chances. The Conservatives may pick up some ‘alternative to National’ votes but 5% looks a high hurdle. The media probably won’t do them any favours like the do for Peters.

Internet Party
RM 0, CB 0, RR 0.4

The polls were too soon for the Internet Party launch this week so don’t mean much. Roy Morgan had them on 0.5% for two polls when the first launch attempt was aborted but they got publicity. They are likely to feature in polls from now because the media will give them coverage.

It’s far too soon to tell how the Internet Party will go. Kim Dotcom will attract some support from his substantial existing following but he will put others off – and he can’t stand so either has to fade into the background or he will be seen to be interfering.

The Internet Party needs some credible candidates. They’ve said they won’t be announcing them until June but have claimed to have an existing electorate MP ready to join. There’s a lot of doubt about this, and even if they did it would be extremely difficult for such a candidate to hold their seat, they would be competing with their ex party and risk splitting the vote.

If they secure a high profile candidate I would expect the Internet party to announce it as soon as possible. Otherwise a leaderless candidate-less party will struggle to impress.

The Dotcom financed party could play a significant part in the election. It’s possible (but unlikely) they boost Mana’s seats to two or three. They may take some National vote and are likely to pick up some protest vote.

But as Russel Norman openly fears they could take votes from the left and waste them by failing to reach 5%. The Internet Party make their primary goal of defeating John Key harder for the left.

Other Parties

There are no other parties with profiles.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party keeps getting some support but is generally looked on as a protest or wacky baccy party. They have competed with Greens on cannabis law reform and could get some traction on this – Russel Norman said on The Nation in the weekend that cannabis law remained a Green policy but it would not be one they would be promoting.

The Alliance and Democrats for Social Credit keep chugging away but will continue to be ignored by the media so have no show. Losers are already picked regardless of their merit.

Focus New Zealand registered in January and are targeting the rural vote but will struggle with that.

Brendan Horan has been trying to get an Independent Candidates party off the ground but his own chances of retaining a seat and any party chances have been written off already. The media doesn’t do different approaches to democracy. And Horan doesn’t seem to have a significant following.

This simple fact is that it’s a near impossible for new parties without rich founders able to buy attention.

After the MMP review the threshold has stayed at an insurmountable 5%. The review recommend a drop to 4% which would have made no difference for small parties wanting to add themselves to the mix.

The large parties seem to actively avoid allowing nuisance parties to interfere with their ambitions and shut down their chances. Ironically more small parties would give the large parties more options and more bargaining power.

Summary

National may slip in support a bit but are still looking reasonably in charge. Greens are looking strong. But the rest is up for grabs, which means this year’s election is still very open – with more complicating factors than usual.

The Colmar Brunton poll showed a large wild card (or cards): Don’t know 13%, Refused 5%

The media play a major role and can make major stories out of the trivial. It’s a major concern that the balance of our democracy could swing on the whim of journalists. They have become very powerful, and they know it. And they are accountable to no one but their ratings and egos.

Our elections risk being more superficial lottery than a contest of policies and parties.

Unfortunately this year’s election may be decided on the least worst option as the positives in our politics are paltry. The parties, press and people are all culpable.

Jamie Whyte an interesting ACT to follow

New ACT leader Jamie Whyte discovered how shallow, petty and brutal social media and main-stream media can be following his philosophical musings on the Government role in incest.

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff gives Whyte an opportunity to explain himself on that and a range of issues in  ACT leader Whyte can’t be grey.

It’s very refreshing to hear a political leader who is prepared to think things through and explain his way of thinking. Most politicians present as carefully packaged PR puppets.

This doesn’t mean I support or back the ACT party – but I do support openness and honesty from politicians. This leaves them vulnerable to media misrepresentation and opponent attacks but if Whyte sticks to his principles I think he’s worth watching.

“The problem is being a philosopher, I have some bad habits. I kind of felt obliged to answer.”

To the contrary, politicians should be obliged to give open and honest answers.

“I’m not apologising for what I think.”

But apologising for talking about it? That seems odd.

In reality, he claims, acts of corporate charity were really just a marketing tactic. “In a way, if it’s fake, it’s okay. If it’s genuine, it’s robbery.”

In a way he’s quite right.

He had described Christianity as a “mixture of wilful ignorance mixed with an air of assumed moral superiority”.

There’s some of that but most Christians in New Zealand are just ordinary people mingling amongst the rest of us.

Despite believing his clearly thought out views would be a virtue, he admits it may count against him that everything is written down. “That may be the sort of thing that people like in a politician, but it seems it isn’t. I get trashed for this, and everyone else gets away with being vague and woolly. Why don’t you go out and trash them for that?”

Good point – but it may be a forlorn hope. The media tend to pick up on trivial things and blow them up, especially when misled and pushed by political opponents. And they often ignore detail and subtleties.

But if Whyte sticks to his principles and his openness it could define him as a refreshing addition to our political mix. It may take time to get through to the media (maybe not, Rutherford seems to get it already) and won’t be without risks but I hope Whyte stays true to his words.

Imperator Fish crosses the line

Satire pushes boundaries, even shocks to impact. But this from @ImperatorFish is a nasty, disgraceful attack on Jamie Whyte and the ACT Party.

Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids (I won’t repeat the details here).

Imperator Fish is a satirical blog run by Scott Yorke, who is active in the Labour Party. I think the post should be withdrawn and an apology be given.

UPDATE: Scott makes it clear he doesn’t think he needs to retract or apologise to ACT and Whyte, to the contrary he continues to promote his post:

Latest post: Politics Explained: It’s all about the kids http://wp.me/p3SauF-252

And on Kiwiblog:

SBY (115 comments) says: 
February 28th, 2014 at 9:06 am

Thanks for the blog traffic this morning, Pete. Much appreciated.

Keep that outrage going.

Act leader finds political learning curve can be harsh

The New ACT leader Jamie Whyte has discovered the hard way that the political learning can be harsh.

He hit the headlines over comments about incest made on the Ruminator blog. NZ Herald expanded:

“I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.

“I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?”

He said he was “very opposed” to incest. “I find it very distasteful. I don’t know why anybody would do it but it’s a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn’t do it.”

This created a storm on Twitter but Richard Prebble supported Whyte.

“Actually in some ways it is useful because it shows Jamie Whyte is not a politician and I don’t think the public want politicians. Our enemies will attempt to distort that but I find the guy refreshing and new and I think the electorate is looking for something that’s fresh and new.

“He’s somebody who’s very frank and so when he says things he means it. If you’ve got a candidate who happens to have been a philosophy lecturer at Cambridge University you can always ask him ‘gotcha’ questions.”

But reality hit home and now Act Leader’regrets’ incest comments

“I’m the leader of ACT and my opinions are the opinions of the ACT Party now, at least in my public discussions with journalists,” he told NZ Newswire.

“I was drawn into a very abstract philosophical conversation about the limits of the state and it’s not my job now, I’m now party leader, I’m the leader of ACT, it’s not my job to be a philosophy lecturer anymore.”

Some sage advice:

Philosophical reality: I think therefore I am.

Political reality: Don’t get your name in the same headline as the word 

A harsh lesson learned by Whyte. It isn’t easy for a political novice to jump into a part leader role.

Public meeting for Act leadership contenders

John Boscawen is organising a public meeting for Act leadership contenders:

7.30 pm Thursday 30 January

Somervell Presbyterian Church, 497 Remuera Road 

@JohnBoscawennz

I am organising a public meeting this Thursday in the Epsom electorate. Jamie Whyte and David Seymour have been invited

It will be in the Somervell Presbyterian Church, 497 Remuera Road 7.30 pm Thursday 30 January.

I am proposing a similar structure to recent Labour Party leadership meetings where the press can come for speeches, but not questiontime.

David Seymour has advised will speak at the Somervell Church meeting Jan 30. Public meeting and media are welcome for entire event.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog gives his thoughts on Epsom and the ACT Leadership.

Boscawen – Liberal passion with compassion

John Boscawen’s determination, passion compassion are profiled by Andrea Vance – John Boscawen ready to rebuild ACT.  He is capable of saving Act, and that will give National more hope of being able to put together a sensible coalition.

Something interesting that I didn’t know:

And if anyone knows Epsom voters, it is Boscawen. He stood in the electorate in 1996, winning a 22 per cent share of the party vote – still a record for ACT.

The reality of his decision to put himself forward as leader and candidate:

Until a fortnight ago Boscawen was pushing Hide to once again stand as leader, reluctantly offering up himself once Hide, and former president Catherine Isaac, ruled themselves out.

Boscawen accepts the party has lost credibility, and believes a return to ACT’s core libertarian principles will revive its chances. Fresh blood and new ideas are necessary, but he says the party needs to be guided by someone with parliamentary experience.

“I rate both Jamie and David [Seymour] very highly…and had I believed their strategy had the best chance of success I would not return to Parliament.”

If anyone can revive Act it’s Boscawen. And he’s not all hardball business and straight jacket liberalism:

He recognises inequality as one of the buzzwords of the upcoming campaign. His quandary is how turn the so-called “party of rich pricks” into one that appears to care about the poor.

I think that’s one of the key quandaries of our election year. Good to see that Boscawen recognises it. If he can find a good answer to that then Act have a good chance of doing better than just Epsom.

John Boscawen versus everyone else

For Act’s leadership and survival John Boscawen’s respect and experience are invaluable. It’s hard to see a political newbie managing anywhere near as well as he will.

Comments on Kiwiblog in today’s General Debate.

Chuck Bird:

I see John Boscawen has dropped $0.30 on ipredict. Either there are leaks at the ACT Board or Board members are keen to make money off inside knowledge. I think this is a big mistake for ACT. Epsom may vote anyone in on an ACT ticket but if John is not running I doubt if ACT will get a second MP.

Jack5:

Won’t Epsom voters get tired of being denied the choice of voting National?

Don’t they mind party backroomers making their choices for them?

Are they sheep or are they people?

Chuck Bird:

That is quite possible. However, I do not think they would mind near as much with a man with a track record as a Minister. I would think Key would be happy to make Boscawen a minister again but would not be near as likely to do so with an unknown ACT leader.

That’s an important point. Boscawen has the political respect and parliamentary experience to be a minister and the party experience to help Act get established again.

If Act have an MP or MPs with no parliamentary experience they will find it hard enough to get Act’s act together and get up to speed in Parliament and will not be ready to be a fully functioning minister for some time. At best they would get very minor portfolios and associated ministerships, and even that would be a struggle for them.

Boscawen could guide Act back on track and if they get enough party votes to get more MPs he can train others up to take over after the next term.

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