When John Banks was promoted as the answer for Act, I wondered what the question had been.
Act is supposed to be liberal, economically and socially. John Banks is conservative and now it looks like he might want to be Conservative too.
ACT’s lone MP John Banks says he is in favour of talks with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig – as speculation mounts behind the scenes about a merger . . .
I don’t think he will get much enthusiasm for that idea from Act.
Craig isn’t enthusiastic either.
“I think the issue here is the ACT party are slightly schizophrenic at the moment. You’ve got John Banks who is at heart a conservative, then you’ve got a party who is at heart libertarian.” . . .
But he was more optimistic about a relationship with Mr Banks. “I acknowledge Banks as a conservative. I wouldn’t rule out a cup of tea with John Banks … [but] I can’t see us in a merger with ACT – I just think there would be too diametrically opposed issues.”
Maybe Banks is the answer not for Act but for the Conservative.
The voters who backed Banks probably knew what they were getting. But those who voted Act in the belief in what it stood for would be less than impressed to find that its lone MP is already talking of merger with a party whose principles are very different from theirs.
Craig said before the election the Conservative Party could go with National or Labour. Whether Labour or its allies, in particular the Green Party, would want to go with it is a moot point but there is no way Act would go left.
However, if Banks jumped waka it would leave Act free to get back to its liberal roots, although it would be doing so without a presence in parliament, even though the party was the vehicle that got its lone MP there.