The party was started by a group led by two of the more right wing movers out of David Lange’s Labour (left Wing) government by then Finance Minister Roger Douglas and Minister of Rail (as I recall) Richard Prebble.
The party’s representation in Parliament is based entirely on the fact that the Leader (the Rhinohide) is an electoral MP (as distinct from List). That, and the fact that they polled nationally some 4% of the total vote at the last General Election has given them 5 places around the table and a good part of the current Government.
I must be honest. I am not in any way a supporter of ACT. Realistically they are no more than a bunch of opportunistic self-promoting wallies – but then isn’t that what “politician” means? To give a f’rinstance their current Policy on the shape and form of the government of NZ -
Action: Strengthen. Adopt Tax Payers Bill of Rights. Pass Regulatory Responsibilty Act. Return to privy council. Hold referendum of MMP voting system.
Benefit: Makes democracy more democratic. States spending capped, taxes kept low. Hard to make bad laws like the EFA. Free access to best judicial minds from a population of 58 million. People get long-overdue say on how they like MMP.
Sounds great, huh! So, let’s take a look at the “Action” –
“Adopt Tax Payers Bill of Rights” – whatever that means. Go find out if you want. I think that they favour flat tax rates.
“Pass Regulatory Responsibility Act.” Interesting one this, given that they have just supported the introduction of a Bill to “fast-track” the work needed in Christchurch (post-earthquake), which said Bill includes extensive Regulatory powers to the Ministers involved. Essentially, this gives the Government the right to make fiat law, within the structures of the Statute that will come out the other end of the process. So, there y’go. Instance one of great words being spoken by weasels.
“Return to privy council”. No I don’t think that they mean a convocation in the gents at the top end of The Terrace. I think they mean “Privy Council” – an august and highest Court in Britain. So they want to sell justice as part of our silverware, like so much else of NZ that they want to part with.
“Hold referendum of MMP voting system”. Now, I have to admire their political chutzpah on this item. I am quite certain that a good part of their party support comes from those who (like my #1son) believes that MMP is death and destruction to democracy and wishes for a return to FPP. The smile on my face as I type that is broad because, if it were not for MMP, ACT would have at the very most one member in the House. He would not hold anything like a balance of power. He would be a dim shadow of the last two (and quite missed in some respects) “third party members” under FPP, Bruce Beetham, and Gary Knapp (who I knew well and who had the most inappropriate nickname) who both originated in the (equally marginal) Social Credit Party. They were preceded by one Vern Cracknell (also SC), who achieved a heck of a lot for his electorate; primarily because the government of the day wanted to get the electorate back into their own (National Party) hands. Beetham and Knapp were nowhere near as successful.
“…democracy more democratic”? If the Rhinohide had his way… well just look at his approach to the Ministry he holds; autocratic and dictatorial.
“State spending capped…” See previous paragraph.
“Hard to make bad law like [Electoral Finance Act]”? How can I say this gently Rhino. Look in the mirror. What do you see? There is no question in my mind that you and ACT would not differ from any other parliamentary party in power. If expediency calls, then the law will be made; with or without consultation; with or without advice. That is the nature of politics in this country. No matter how you might try to argue otherwise, that is a truth that applies to your Party as much as any other. “Why” will be explained below.
“Free access to the best judicial minds…” Hey folks, this is the party that promotes and praises “user pays” and capping government spending. But when it comes to Justice, they propose that NZ should free-load on the British Justice system? Tui billboards spring to mind – “Yeah, Right!”
“…get a say on how they like MMP”? OK Rhinohide. I for one luvit! Why? Because it puts idiots like you and Boscowen and Garrett in Parliament where you can show the world just what “Right Wing Politics” really means.
That comes by way of introduction.
The present government is propped by two minor parties, ACT being one and Maori Party the other. I feel sorry for the Maori Party; they have been well and truly dicked by the Nats, and for some strange reason seem totally unaware of the fact. Perhaps it has something to do with the anaesthesia of political power? That aside…
During this past six months, ACT has been showing signs of suffering the kind of damage recently visited on Christchurch. Liquifaction of support, crumbling brickwork, failing infrastructure; and none of it due in any way to the impact of the outside world. Well, I must agree that the Rhinohide will blame “the left-wing dominated media” for his woes (well, I mean to say, it worked for George, why not me). In truth, that is about all he has to work with.
It began with the dust-up between Rhino and Heather (Pass The Duster) Roy. The detail goes a lot further down, I suspect, than the latter having her Ministerial mail read by the former. It ended with one of Rhino’s mates – Boss Cawan – replacing Roy as Deputy Leader of the Party.
Now that might seem a little bit trivial, but what has become apparent is that the Parliamentary Caucus comprises two clear camps – Rhino, Boss and Garrett on the one hand and Douglas and Roy on the other; 3-2 in favour of Rhino.
Now in the past week, another of the number has come under fire.
It transpires that ACT’s spokesman on Justice, “three-strike” law, and strong supporter of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, David Articulated Garrett has a conviction for assault ($10 contributed to His Majesty King Tupou IV of Tonga and conviction) and has appeared before a NZ Court on charges (which I hasten to say did not result in penalty or conviction despite his admission that they were true) of obtaining a Passport under the name of a dead infant – as done by The Jackal and, more recently, MOSSAD.
So now the Rhino has a problem, a veritable dilemma.
On the one hand he has an MP with “shadow Ministerial” responsibilities including one of the more important pieces of recent Government legislation who has a minor criminal conviction plus some quite idiotic law-breaking history.
However, if Rhino were to “do the right thing” and shed that said MP, then the next in line (Articulated Garrett being a List MP) is very likely not a Rhino supporter. Then, suddenly, the vote in Caucus becomes 2-3.
Oh, Dear!!! The next few weeks promise to be interesting indeed.