Monday, 7 February 2011

Is there any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?

Is there any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?

I ask because, in its formative days, ACT’s founding members talked about the importance of upholding the interests of consumers and taxpayers; they made loud noises about drastically shrinking government, both central and local; they enshrined found principles (now long forgotten) declaring “that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities, and that the proper purpose of Government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities.”

Now? Not so much.

We don’t hear such things from that quarter anymore. We hear stories instead about dancing partners and mid-life crises; arguments about law-breaking and lost defence papers. We see their MPs voting for more borrowing and bigger government (and then delivering it as ministers). We hear them waffling about “stability,” and supporting the ongoing nationalisation of oil, silver, gold and uranium.  And we watch them going to parliament to eat their lunch.

We heard that 2011 would turn all that around.

We hear instead this weekend that the candidate chosen by the ACT Party for the high-profile Botany election, one the Party machine is taking “very seriously,” wishes it to be known that she is somewhere “to the left” of the National candidatea youth who at 25 is already a career politician, one who believes infrastructure should be funded through taxation, and who ranks his greatest achievement as building a new athletics track for his local club, paid for (naturally) by ratepayers.

This is the entity whom ACT candidate Lyn Moore doesn’t think goes far enough in his support for government intervention. 

And the candidate whom the ACT Board thinks best expresses its principles.

You can almost hear the bell tolling for ACT, saying “Your time is up.”

Which leads me to ask:

  • Is there really any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?
  • Or is it time to kick the bums out?

Perhaps before answering the question you could concentrate your mind  by considering the following multi-choice proposition:

The chief reason for the Act Party to exist is (tick one):

a) to keep the buggers honest be a paid lapdog of the ruling party (“it’s our job to provide stability”); or
b) to be perk-busters deliver the baubles of office to its MPs, and MPs’ Wives and Girlfriends—especially taxpayer-funded trips to London to see grandchildren and attend weddings (“Ministers 'entitled' to dip into tax purse” – Hide.  “I was entitled!” - Douglas); or
c) to reduce the size of government deliver to Auckland the largest local government bureaucracy this country has ever seen; or
d) to elicit taxpayer-funding for Roger Douglas’s otherwise unpublishable books; or
e) to give the occasional day out to artistically gullible and socially dysfunctional youths; or
f) to give employment to otherwise unemployable adults—and to the journalists who get to investigate their past convictions; or
g) to be a party of soap operas; or
h) to be a “party of ideas” . . .

The answer must surely be one of the above?

Because it couldn’t possibly be “to be a party of principle.”


  1. Umm, who the hell is Lyn Moore?

  2. I suspect some ACT supporters are aware that their party has lost it's way, The challenge for Libz is to attract some of these disenchanted members.

  3. The movie An Officer and a Gentleman springs to mind.

    I can see Nats and Act supporter knock on the libz door and say:

    I consider the libertarianz platform an excellent choice to place a protest vote.

  4. i think the libz should stick to cultural activism and forget about the political side.

  5. Here here!
    Great (sad) piece.
    I am no longer a member of ACT because they are no longer stand for anything.

  6. @Mike: And what should ACT stick to? Foreign travel and dance competitions?

  7. They are the best of a very bad lot and a vote for them is probably just an exercise in straw-grasping but I don't see anything more substantial.

  8. If you want to vote for someone to the right of National who actually has a chance of getting into parliament, who should we vote for then?
    Who will vote Libz until they manage to outpoll Bill&Ben or McGSP Party.

    Personally I think not voting is the next best option.

  9. Looking at the photo, I'd say the answer is: "to eat."

  10. Actually, out of all the parties in theis parliament I mean real parties, not Dung and Neanderthon), the ACT party has failed the most when measured against its stated principles.

    The other parties have imploded, acted like drug fuelled psychos, pushed for apartheid, lied massively to keep power for its own sake, promised to own everything and everybody etc etc etc.... business as usual in other words.

    What has the ACT party doen in the face of all this? Nothing. Nothing at all. They have just shut down and gone to sleep. zzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzz....... zzzzzzzzzzzz

    I think its time for me to vote Libz. I don't agree with everything they say, but Geez mate, at least they are pointed in the right direction and they seem to have something between their collective ears.

    I've even got a sign-off line for them. "A Point in the right direction" There ya go, guys.... a freebie from Dave Mann :-)

  11. I'm no fan of ACT and din't vote for them but the libz are better off educating people and changing the culture first. politics comes last.

  12. @V

    "Not voting is the best option"

    Mate, I disagree with you. Not voting will be high-jacked by politicians making up reasons on why voters din't turn out. Besides, a low turnout these days is considered normal and hardly a protest.

    Forget about if the Libz can get into parliament. Just use them as a platform to have your protest vote heard. If libz even get 2% of the votes it will send a louder signal to the established parties than an increase of 2% of no voters.

    "Vote Libz because you got nowhere else to go"

  13. Quite. A vote for National is a vote for do nothing, keep most of what Labour did and do nothing. So that's pointless.

    A vote for ACT is to collude with that and deliver next to nothing.

    Libertarianz getting 5% or a seat is a tall order by any stretch, but if it got 1-2% it would send a message to ACT in particular that it had gone so far off course that it needed to refocus and regroup.

    Those thinking that is a wasted vote should consider the alternatives, whereas those who disagree with some policies (e.g. drugs or immigration or whatever), will note that Libertarianz is not going to govern after this election, but it can influence the direction of politics.

    Meanwhile the only others passionate about politics are those who want more government either under environmental or racist credentials.

    So, critics of Libertarianz on the "right", where else will you go?

  14. This rationale reads pretty well for me:

  15. Pete, if everyone from The Libz joined with ACT then I’m sure some of what you preach would come through in their policy. Perhaps I’m reading you guys wrong but the tenant of your parties rhetoric is: it’s all or nothing. Politics in New Zealand, for better or worse, is all about pragmatism – the biggest pragmatist being our PM. I am sure ACT would welcome an approach to join forces. ACT have infact tried to get its policies through Parliament. The first one that comes to mind is bulk funding for schools, meaning a school board could pay the better teachers more. The only 5 politicians that voted for that were from ACT. The same five were the only ones who wanted to reduce the Youth rates and get kids into jobs, off the dole. I can provide other bills that ACT proposed and were defeated if you like? They did manage to persuade other parties about the merits of ‘Three Strikes’. So ACT has probably boxed according to its weight in a Parliament where centralist policies are seen are the only way to survive. Your report is very disingenuous given the realities of ‘middle of the road’ Kiwi voters. Paul (from down South)


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