David Farrar was asked to talk to last weekend’s ACT conference on how ACT might gain more voters to increase their representation in parliament and decrease their reliance on the Epsom electorate?
Mark Hubbard will be pleased…
…I think a clear message of opposition to most forms of corporate welfare has potential appeal to not just economic liberals on the right, but also to many on the left. It would make it hard for the left to paint ACT as the party of big business, if they are signing up to your campaigns against corporate welfare.
Turning to social liberalism, the issue I would suggest ACT focuses on is [voluntary] euthanasia. Is anything a more fundamental human right than being able to choose between quantity of life and quality of life?
This is not some abstract issue. Sadly for many families, they have been through the horrors of a loved one who was unable to make an informed choice to reduce their suffering. I actually used to be against euthanasia until I listened to the speech Rodney Hide made in 2003 about the death of Martin Hames. It reduced me to tears and made me realise how harmful the current law can be, and converted me to favouring a law change.
It is an issue that is both very real to many, but also very popular. The last public poll on this issue saw 61% in favour of terminally ill people being able to choose when to end their lives and only 18% opposed. A 3:1 ratio in favour is about as good as it gets.
Labour has banned their MPs from advancing this issue, because it may distract them from their core mission of getting more people to join a union. National MPs are discouraged from doing bills on conscience issues. In fact I think National discourages their MPs from doing any bills that haven’t been written by Chris Finlayson for them. The highlight was the West Coast MP’s bill on reforming the law of habeas corpus.
NZ First are generally against euthanasia, except for immigrants. The Greens are admirably supportive, but the suspicion is they see it as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
More seriously there is an opportunity for ACT here to lead on this issue, and connect to New Zealanders on an issue that resonates, as well as clearly position themselves as the only party not wanting the state to interfere in decisions that belong to individuals.