Voters veer but not too far

Quote of the week:

If you’re going in for politics, one of the key attributes to cultivate is patience. Sure voters veer from centre-right to centre-left over sequential electoral cycles. But parties don’t, because they are founded – the enduring ones, anyway – on firm principles.

                                 – Jane Clifton in The Listener (preview here, full column online May 16).

One of the reasons Act is floundering is because the public isn’t sure what it’s principles are or worse suspects the party itself isn’t sure.

There is no doubt about Don Brash’s principles – he’s been quite clear about what he wants and why. He’s genuinely concerned about the state of the nation.

He wants to do something about it and has said if Act won’t have him he’ll start his own party.

It might not be hard for him to find 500 members, a name, constitution and meet the other requirements for registering a political party. But there’s a long way from forming a new party to getting into parliament, especially when a party’s principles are far further to the right than most voters are comfortable veering.

Of course under MMP you don’t need many voters – just enough to win an electorate or 5% of the vote. But it takes more than 500 members and a lot of money to do that, especially for a new party.

3 Responses to Voters veer but not too far

  1. Inventory2 says:

    And as a new party, it is my understanding that Brash’s party would not get a broadcasting allocation this time around. The riches available to Brash may help him circumvent that, but we have seen in the past that money does not necessarily equate to electoral success.

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  2. homepaddock says:

    You’re right about no allocation.

    But I don’t think parties can buy TV advertising. The only political ads are those which come under the broadcasting allocation.

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  3. JC says:

    ACT has always got my party vote because it holds a position to the right that enhances Nationals chances. My vote is thus not dependent on personalities or problems within ACT provided it gets my preferred party over the line.

    That will stay the case next election because there is currently no other party that can do the job for me.

    However, its in my interest to see ACT be successful and it would really suit me if it got the tactics right and presented a clear front of policies and people signed up to them. Right now the brand is tarnished and it could do with the sort of spruce up and simplification that Brash could bring. Hopefully that occurs so that National has a better chance of straightforward governance.

    Incidentally, I’d bet Brash as leader would sit on the cross benches and give just supply and confidence for at least this election. That would allow the party to vote its economic conscience.

    JC

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