A.C.T.: an annoyingly useful party

A political contact sometime ago when I was first getting into political parties and their politics once said to me when I asked him why he was an A.C.T. member, “It’s the party of liberty and freedom”.

That was one Rick Giles, who famously went on to say during an interview that the case against climate change existing was so compelling that no further explanation was needed. Mr Giles has since disappeared from sight on the political front. But the party he represented in that interview is still around, coming to the end of its second term as a one person band.

A.C.T. is a party that on one hand I would love to see fling itself head first into political oblivion, thereby forcing the right fringe of New Zealand politics to reorganize itself and seek a fresh mandate to exist. On the other hand, it serves a very – annoyingly – useful purpose in that it is a clear beacon for those on the right. Some of those people have not been entirely clean – David Garrett, who introduced the “Three Strikes” legislation omitted to tell A.C.T. or Parliament he had committed passport fraud using the identity of a dead baby and was forced to resign in disgrace.

Its current leader David Seymour will probably take Epsom on 23 September 2017. This will not be because New Zealanders necessarily like him – his party barely scored 1% of the party vote at the last election and would have suffered complete electoral oblivion save for Epsom voters and a deal with National for them to not actively campaign in that electorate. It will perhaps be because Mr Seymour door knocked every single house in the electorate – something probably no other candidate in any electorate anywhere in the country could claim to have done.

Mr Seymour perhaps deserves a bit of credit. His Bill of Parliament to permit voluntary euthanasia has been drawn from the ballot. He is to his credit one of the few Members of Parliament actively working to address the issue, and I was personally pleased when it was drawn.

Euthanasia aside though, there is nothing at all from my perspective to like about the A.C.T. Party. It would repeal the Resource Management Act if it could get the numbers in Parliament. It has shown scant regard for socio-economic well being of low income earners, middle New Zealand and minorities. A.C.T. supported the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and has an almost blind belief that everything New Zealand does should be based on what happens in the United States – that we are somehow incapable of making New Zealand laws for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

I don’t expect that it will ever be more than right wing bit party. But as long as Epsom wants an A.C.T. member to be their M.P., and he can find a cause or two to rally his party around, I cannot see A.C.T. leaving Parliament either – which for the purpose of knowing where the right wing fringe are, might not be a bad thing.


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