New leader has no mandate for demands

Don Brash grabbed the leadership of Act in an unorthodox manner with reportedly the support of only three MPs.

Former leader Rodney Hide has been gracious in defeat and given the new leader his support. The fifth member of the Act caucus, John Boscawen apears to be demonstrating that loyalty to the party is paramount and is supporting the new leader.

The party board will ratify the leadership decision today but that still doesn’t give Brash any mandate for making demands of Prime Minister John Key.

He is leading a wee party which got into parliament with only 3.65% of the party vote thanks to the seat of Epsom which was won by Hide, the leader he’s deposed.

He is confident he will lift the vote well above that in November and he might well do so. If he does and National is in a position to form a government he could start negotiating for ministerial places then, but only then.

However, he wants some influence sooner:

Mr Hide has said he wants to stay on in his roles as local government and regulatory reform minister.

However, Dr Brash said last night that he expected to discuss the issue with Mr Key next week.Those are held at the discretion of the Prime Minister but it is also the convention in a coalition that the leader of the party in which those portfolios are held has a view on that.”

He indicated he would ask Mr Key to give Mr Hide’s portfolios to another MP, citing as a precedent Mr Hide’s decision to strip Heather Roy of her portfolios because of her coup attempt.

That isn’t a valid comparison. Roy had done her best to replace Hide inflicting great damage on her party in the process.

 Hide by contrast has put the party first by stepping aside without any public display of acrimony.

If his replacement insists on attempting to take his portfolios from him it would be understandable if Hide decided the party, and the man who calls him a friend, no longer deserved his loyalty.

Regardless of that, the election is only seven months away and it would be unnecessarily disruptive to change ministers at this late stage without a much better reason than to reward someone else for disloyalty to her leader who happens to hold the portfolios.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr Brash but if he attempts to replace Hide as a minister he will be attempting to wield influence well out or proportion to his position. He should put his intellect and energy into helping his new party become part of the next government and leave this one be.

To do otherwise would risk damaging this government and reduce the chances of both National and Act being part of the next one.

8 Responses to New leader has no mandate for demands

  1. robertguyton says:

    This is poisoness news for you Ele. Vote for Key and you get the decrepit Brash. Your friend Bill English is history now. So is ‘moderate’ National.


  2. homepaddock says:

    That is a very ageist statement about Brash – he’s only 70ish. One of our staff still works fulltime at 81, another almost fulltime at 78 (he takes Wednesday afternoons off for Bridge); a farmer near us bought another farm at 90 a couple of years ago and he’s still running it.

    My friend Bill is not history nor is moderate National.

    It’s all up to voters – the stronger National is the less influence any potential coalition parties will have.


  3. pdm says:

    I agree that he has no mandate to influence the current government and as you say it is best that he focuses on getting at least 10 MP’s in the next government.

    I also hope Rodney Hide stays in parliament. He still has a role to play and is the best speaker in the house when at his peak.

    RG – A Key/Brash government is very necessary to get NZ solvent again.


  4. Andrei says:

    I am so repulsed by all of this – for the first time in my life I am going to vote Labour in an attempt to keep these poisonous people out of power as much as possible.

    I am also going to vote to ditch MMP which has created the environment for this nonsense.

    Of course the hugest irony in all of this is the only reason characters like Heather Roy have a seat in Parliament is because Rodney Hide, for all his faults actually won a seat in Parliament. She came in on his coat tails – phooey


  5. Allan Burgess says:

    With all due respect, how on earth can you say that the leader of a political party has no right to decide which members of his Caucus fulfill the obligations of the Party under the terms of a Confidence & Supply Agreement with another party? This is a ludicrous statement. Even John Key has now conceded that Ministers appointed from ACT serve by agreement between him *and* whoever the ACT Party leader is. Don Brash is now the leader – he does have all the power in his own party to wield when it comes to appointing members of his own Caucus to roles, be they Minsterial ones or simply spokesmanships. If he wants Rodney Hide gone, for whatever reason, he is fully entitled to tell the Prime Minister this and the PM, if he is to honour the Agreement, has little choice but to withdraw Hide’s Ministerial warrant.

    As ACT Party leader, Don Brash has the mandate from his Caucus and from his Board. He clearly wants a clean break from the ACT Party of old and I am damned sure he will get it.


  6. gravedodger says:

    Many on the socialist side of New Zealand politics are wetting themselves while the spotlight is on ACT but when the mofohone party starts to wreak havoc on the Greens, Maori Party and Labour, this could all become the best theater in town, the pity is that it is the Nation we are watching writhe in the cesspit that is MMP. Egos are the driving force in government and those who yearn for some of the power (and the dosh) are acting like children in a sandpit.
    Since the advent of the insanity that is MMP we have endured a pathetic procession of big headed soloists trying to carve themselves a place in history while forgetting one of the great strengths of the very successful Crusader rugby franchise, namely, “there is no ‘I’ in team”.


  7. Inventory2 says:

    Robert Guyton being ageist? Who would have thunk it? Perhaps he’s just lashing out because the Green vote is going to be cannibalised by the new party that’s going to be even further left than the Greens.


  8. murrayg1 says:

    Gravedodger – don’t lump greens with socialists. There are subsets, of course, as there are in any other cross-groupings, but:

    Socialists, and the attitude mostly displayed here, are all about who gets what part of the cake – a yin/yang boss/worker rich/poor fight that’s been going on forever.

    Until it stopped – which it had to:

    Click to access JGLetterALL_1Q11.pdf

    Please note that two of the graphs he refers to, are ones I took into Dene Mackenzie at the ODT, all of 5 years ago. (Some of us saw it coming). Maybe you could ask him why nothing has appeared in print – it could have helped folk plan their lives – and elect appropriate ‘Pollies.


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