Now it’s official that John Banks won’t stand again next year Act can be open about seeking someone capable of winning Epsom and rebuilding Act in Parliament.
Inevitably Rodney Hide is one of the first to be touted. He has recent experience in both Epsom and Parliament and would be the person most likely to succeed. If he is willing. Backed by a background John Boscawen he would give Act supporters real hope – and he would also give John Key hope that there was a realistic chance of retaining a right wing partner.
Former Act leader Rodney Hide is being courted by supporters in the party to make a comeback in Epsom to replace outgoing leader John Banks, the Herald understands.
Several sources told the Herald Mr Hide had been approached recently and urged to consider a return to Act and to national politics.
One insider said Mr Hide would be nominated by Epsom party members whether he liked it or not. Mr Hide did not return calls yesterday.
It would be extremely difficult for a political novice to lead a party, campaign in and win an electorate, and establish themselves in Parliament. Banks succeeded in Epsom but after a decade’s absence and no colleagues to work with he found it very hard in Parliament. It didn’t help that he was not a yellow blooded Actoid.
Rodney Hide is certainly Act’s best hope for survival. If he can’t be persuaded to return to national politics Act will find it very difficult to keep a toe in Parliament’s door. They might find someone else with enough profile and ability to pull off Epsom but that’s only the first step to recovery.
Interestingly on Firstline this morning John Boscawen was asked if he would have another go and he avoided the question, talking around it.
“I made the decision prior to the last election not to seek re-election in 2011, and that wasn’t a decision that I regretted.”
Hide backed by Boscawen would have immediate respect and a decent chance of success.