With John Banks confirming he won’t be standing at the next election, ACT, the party of ‘values over politics’—or so its brochures say—has once more leader down with self-inflicted injuries.
Which begs two immediate questions:
- who will be the next leader?
- why would they bother?
Cameron Brewer has been talked about as the “ideal” ACT candidate, and in many respects those suggesting him are correct. He is bright, personable, and completely disinterested in freedom and property rights—which makes him Banks’ perfect replacement. And as Orakei councillor elected unopposed only a couple of months ago, already popular with voters in the Epsom electorate.
But why would he be interested when taking the job of ACT leader when the position is so toxic it’s is the closest thing in local politics to swallowing cyanide washed down by broken glass? Rodney Hide helped make it so, and left under a cloud of his own puffed-up opinion of himself. Don Brash took over, hoping to lift the party from its position in the gutter to the levels he’d previously achieved as National leader— discovering instead that the party is so toxic that instead of lifting them up to his level of popularity, it instead dragged him down to its own.
Things have only gotten worse since then, much worse. Becoming head of public relations for the Fukushima Locally Caught Fish Company (slogan: “our fish cook themselves”)might be a more promising career move. So why would anyone, Cameron Brewer or otherwise, want to permanently contaminate themselves?
The stain, I’m afraid, is permanent.