Boscawen is Act’s best chance of survival

John Boscawen’s decision to stand for leadership of Act and for the Epsom electorate is Act’s best chance of survival. He may also offer John Key and his National government more hope for survival too.

Stuff reports Fresh blood, or a retread for ACT?:

John Boscawen says he is the man to take the party into Parliament come November.

“I’ve given a huge amount of thought to this. I had a relatively successful Parliamentary career for three years.

“I think this is a crucial election for the country (and) a crucial election for the ACT Party.”

This is a reversal for Boscawen, he has told a number of people, including myself, that he had no intention of standing for Parliament. But circumstances can change, obviously they have for Act but the same may be the case for Boscawen.

This signals new hope for Act and it’s constituents.

Boscawen or Colin Craig?
Boscawen or Winston Peters?

There must be a glimmer of hope in this for Key, his coalition options had been looking shaky.

David Farrar sums up common sentiments on Kiwiblog in Boscawen stands for Epsom and Leader:

John is a tireless worker for ACT, and highly respected. He may be seen as not enough of a break from the past, but will be seen as a very safe pair of hands who doesn’t play games.

Boscawen has only put himself forward for leadership and Epsom but his selection should be a no-brainer. Ex-Act MP David Garret agrees.

Big surprise…John was one of the most popular guys in the House…no-one disliked him…and he also was very much a man who stood on his principles…But I thought he had conclusively ruled out standing again…

I wish him all the best in his quest for a Round Two…

But not everyone is on this page. Cactus Kate comments at Kiwiblog:

John is a fabulous guy and great President of the Party however I see no sense at all in his announcement given David Seymour the new face of ACT has obviously been told by powers above to put his name forward for Epsom.

Now it’s a case of oops, you’ve made the commitment to return from overseas and change your life, you have to beat the old guy first and split the party again. Both Seymour and Whyte face this for their respective positions. Bet both are wondering why they bothered returning.

Cactus considered standing for Act last election. I disagree with her on this.

Whyte and Seymour would have a monumental task
a) leading Act
b) succeeding in Epsom
c) setting up in Parliament
d) running a party and an electorate and a Parliamentary office

They may be the potential future of Act, but they would benefit substantially from being patient and learning from the experience and respect of John Boscawen.

Boscawen is Act’s best chance of pulling back from a political precipice. If Whyte and Seymour and others use this as an opportunity to build their own experience and credibility they are far more likely to succeed in the short term, albeit at a lesser level than they might have ambitions for, and they are also more likely to succeed in the long term.

Putting a political novice into a position of saving the party would another huge risk for Act. They first have to survive the next election. They then have to rebuild. I think their best chance of doing this is with Boscawen. Then the younger talent have a much better chance of making a mark.

Politics can be like cheese, good things often take time. Boscawen is mature, and Act needs that right now.

Leave a comment


  1. Darryl

     /  17th January 2014

    Boscawen is a great choice for Act. Certainly my choice.

  2. Steve

     /  17th January 2014

    Very little cross-over between Act and the Conservatives or Act and Winston. Any rise in Act’s support will come straight from National.

  3. Peter Matthewson

     /  17th January 2014

    Surely it’s time for the Association of Consumers and Tax Evaders to roll over and die. They have lost anything vaguely resembling credibility:
    • Extreme right wing economic policy – the return of the flat tax idea
    • Climate change denial
    • An MP, education spokesperson if my memory serves me well, sentenced to 2 years 9 months imprisonment for defrauding an educational foundation
    • “Perk-busting” MP revealed to be rather fond of “the baubles of office” himself
    • Law and order spokesman found to have committed identity theft of a dead child to obtain a false passport, and a conviction for assault
    • Constant in-fighting leadership turmoil
    • Ultimate successful leadership coup by failed National leader who had joined the party that morning
    • Current leader and only MP facing criminal prosecution for electoral fraud
    I could never be accused of being a National supporter, but surely John Key would be crazy to entertain any further accommodation with them. I can’t imagine the good voters of Epsom would want another bar of them. Time for them to be consigned to a bizarre chapter in political history.

    • I think National would be quite happy to have Boscawen working with them, perhaps with one or two other Act MPs.

      See Epsom knows the value of Act

      The residents of that rich blue seat consisting of Parnell, Remuera, Epsom and Mt Eden have given their electorate vote to Act at successive elections now, not because they particularly admired Rodney Hide or had high hopes for the second coming of John Banks.

      They are business people and they have worked out how to add value for National by splitting the two votes MMP provides.

      All they needed to understand was that an electorate vote for the National candidate would add nothing to their party vote, while a vote for the Act candidate could effectively give National an additional seat in Parliament and possibly more.

      This is such an obvious and elementary feature of MMP that you have to wonder why every electorate is not returning MPs committed to supporting one of the main parties rather than standing in its name.

      It’s smart MMP politics.

      • Darryl

         /  18th January 2014

        Agree Pete.

      • I believe anyone going into 2014 elections needs to have had better background checks. I am so tired of fraud, cheating, sexual stupidities in public office (worse than public toilet frolicking) and corrupt practices. Too many MPs and Mayor caught has made me edgy.

  4. Peter Matthewson

     /  19th January 2014

    Well it seems that National has twisted his arm to stand, listen to the Checkpoint interview, the pregnant pause after he is asked whether National have asked him to stand, then the reply “a number of people have asked me”.

    However there is no numerical advantage for National of ACT standing in Epsom, if ACT don’t win Epsom National will. They would only gain if ACT won enough of the party vote to coattail in another member or two. However given that they got 1.1% in the 2011 election, and the current Pundit Poll of Polls has them sitting proudly on 0.4%, that is not going to happen.

    Instead Wiseacre on the TV3 comments hits the nail on the head identifying ACT’s vale to National : “The reality is, ACT is nothing more than a puppet party for the National Party, used to provide a convenient scapegoat for National’s implementation of a harsh right-wing agenda. Without ACT, National would have to relinquish its ludicrous facade of centrism, accept that it is a right-wing neoliberal party, and actually own its policies. National contracts out its extremism, using ACT and, it hopes, the Conservative Party, as laundering operations for a policy agenda that National dare not call its own.”


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