Banks considering options

June 7, 2014

A media release from Act leader Jamie Whyte:

 On Thursday, Judge Wylie found John Banks guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return.

John will be sentenced on the 1st August, and has applied for a discharge without conviction.

Until then he is legally entitled to remain as a Member of Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to sentencing.

John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives.

Act campaign manager Richard Prebble says resigning before the verdict could damage the Act brand.

. . . Mr Prebble said the affair had “probably” had an effect on Act, but in a recent Roy Morgan poll taken while Mr Banks’ trial was proceeding, the party’s support rose while that for Labour and the Greens went down.

“If he was to quit as a member of Parliament when he hasn’t been convicted, that might damage Act’s brand.” . .

I think he’s wrong about that. Banks is the party’s past and it should be looking to the future.

 . . . When asked whether Mr Banks should resign, Dr Whyte yesterday told National Radio he wanted his sole MP “to follow due process”.

Dr Whyte said he hadn’t been in touch with Mr Banks since the verdict and “I’m not quite sure what his intentions are on this”.

He hadn’t spoken with Mr Banks because “these events don’t really concern the Act Party”.

“John isn’t involved in our campaign, he isn’t going to be an MP after the next election and this is as far as we’re concerned because this was to do with his mayoral campaign.

“This is not an Act Party issue,” Dr Whyte said.

It’s not an Act Party issue but it will be a distraction for the party, and for the government if Banks stays in parliament.

Even if he wants to appeal the decision or apply for a discharge without conviction, resigning would be the best thing to thing to do.


iPredict approves of Act changes

February 7, 2014

Investors in iPredict have given a vote of confidence to Act’s new leaderhshp:

The probability National will lead the next government after this year’s election – now likely to be in October – has passed 60% for the first time. The Act Party has gained at the expense of the Conservatives while John Key’s other support parties, UnitedFuture and the Maori Party, have improved their prospects of returning to parliament, as has Mana. . .

A party vote turnout of 77.2% continues to be expected compared with 74.2% in 2011.

There have been small changes in forecast party vote shares over the last week. Of the major parties, National is expected to win 42.26% of the party vote (down from 43.06% last week), Labour 32.94% (down from 33.17%) and the Green Party 9.42% (down from 9.59%).

No other parties are expected to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system. NZ First is expected to win 4.73% of the party vote (compared with 4.40% last week), the ConservativeParty 4.14% (down from 4.40%), Act 2.46% (up from 1.70%), the Maori Party 1.28% (down from 1.30%), the Internet Party 1.28%, Mana 0.49% (down from 0.60%), UnitedFuture 0.49% (down from 0.60%), the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 0.30% (down from 0.40%), the Civilian Party 0.1% and Democrats for Social Credit 0.1%.

This isn’t an opinion poll but even so I’m not sure why Act, a supposedly liberal party, should gain at the expense of a party Conservative in name and by nature.


2 new faces for Act

February 2, 2014

The Act party has a new leader and a new candidate for Epsom:

Writer and philosopher Jamie Whyte is Act’s new leader and David Seymour will be the party’s candidate in Epsom at the election later this year.

The decision was made by the Act board today and is due to be officially announced at 3 pm.

Dr Whyte is expected to take over in about a month at the party’s AGM.

Dr Whyte, aged 48, has recently returned to live in New Zealand from abroad and has only recently become active in the party.

Mr Seymour, aged 30, first stood for Act in 2005 in Mt Albert against former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Last election he stood in Auckland Central.

He has been working for a think-tank in Canada and may well have returned permanently had he not been made candidate for Epsom. . .

This gives the party two new and younger faces.

It also provides an opportunity to re-brand itself.

If the party can win Epsom it would help National but if it manages to look more credible than it has it could also take party votes from National’s right flank.

However, this is not a good start:

As Labour has shown only too well for the last few years, a party needs discipline, unity and good management.

Leaking an announcement like this displays none of that.


No Maori Party in Nat govt no Maori seats?

May 16, 2011

Hone Harawira has criticised the Maori Party for being in coalition with National, even though he was a member of it at the time. He’s also criticising the party for contemplating entering a coalition with National again after the election.

One of National’s campaign policies was the abolition of the Maori Seats. If it hadn’t been in coalition with the Maori Party it would have followed through and done that. But this was one of the policies National gave way on during coalition negotiations.

 As far as I know it is still National policy to get rid of the seats. It’s definitely Act policy.

If there’s a National led government after this year’s election with Act as a coalition partner and without the Maori Party it’s a safe bet the seats will go.


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