Saturday, February 06, 2016

ACT Conference 2016

I've agreed to speak at the next ACT Party conference three weeks today. I'll cover what's been happening in welfare - the good and the bad - and  what further reform could look like.

Here's a list of speakers, all of whom I am keen to hear.

Further details


Eric said...

ACT's fortunes at Election time will depend largely on who is number two on the List.
David Seymour is very electable, but Party Votes will stay away if supporting candidates have little general appeal.
(for instance, Lindsay Mitchell would be very acceptable)

Anonymous said...

Lindsay - at your talk: will you call for the abolition of welfare" as a core ACT Policy?

Seymour is electable while JhonKey wants him there. ACT as a whole needs a really simple message they can take to the vast mass of Kiwis from whom JhonKey is too left-wing to move some of them into ACT's column.

Something like: 1% cut to the top tax rate for every 1% in the party vote as the positive reason to vote ACT

For the negative reason: party vote for ACT for a JhonKey led National government - the polls will show Winston as kingmaker, and he might just week choose Labour/Greens out of spite even if the numbers are easier as National/Winston (which they will be) or perhaps insist on Key's resignation as the price of support to National.

A couple of social issues if you must - but frankly almost all of them are leftist and won't help ACT. Euthanasia after all was started in Parliament by Greens & Labour Left; what's the point of charter schools that help the people least likely to vote ACT, etc.

1% tax cut for 1% of the party vote! and Keep Winston out!

Eric said...


Extremist positions are unattractive to most voters, which is why another high profile Act candidate is unhelpful to the Party.

David Seymour has established himself as an independent thinker and turned down the baubles of office to remain outside the "collective responsibility" Ministerial decision making. That has not gone unnoticed. His standing will grow.

Voters will be looking for other candidates who have solid thinking skills and can articulate positions well. Extreme liberal views will not cut it, nor harsh treatment of the vulnerable in society.

The point of charter schools is to enhance the education of those who are not coping with our public school system. Whether or not that helps ACT electorally is immaterial. It is honourable. Society will ultimately benefit.

1% tax cut for 1% of the Party Vote will appeal to fewer people than will be turned off by such a carrot for the self-centred in society. It is ugly politicking.

Nick K said...

Well said Eric.

Jigsaw said...

ACT seem careful to say as little as possible on the Maori co-governance and other government policies that are leading our country down an increasingly racially divided course. Until they do put this issue front and centre I will regard them as National-lite and so I suspect will must of the country.

Anonymous said...

1% tax cut for 1% of the Party Vote will appeal to fewer people than will be turned off by such a carrot for the self-centred in society. It is ugly politicking.

no-one who will be "turned off" by the policy would ever have voted for ACT - but tens of thousands who are sick of voting for National would switch to ACT with that sort of policy. And that has to be the aim: get National voters into ACT.

When ACT had 10 MPs it had exactly these policies - and many more besides!

Eric said...

David Seymour has a well-considered opinion piece in today's Sunday Star Times.

He suggests that Waitangi Day takes to the road, each year hosted by one of the other tribes that signed the Treaty Document. He suggests following the actual Treaty-signing path to the 20-odd different signing locations of 1840. (Remember how dominant rugby provinces breathed life back into Ranfurly Shield matches by taking the Shield on tour to places like Ruatoria?)

David Seymour is a breath of fresh air in New Zealand politics.

pdm said...

Jigsaw you make a point which ACT could pick up on. Get rid of the Maori seats could be a reasonable election point - especially if they have a credible maori candidate in the top 3 of their list.

Eric said...

pdm's suggestion that ACT could campaign on abolishing the Maori Seats would certainly attract votes, probably from both the main parties. It was amongst the recommendations as part of the rationale for shifting from FPP to MMP. The risk would be that it could become ACT's defining issue, to the detriment of any other policy.

An interesting quote from the 3rd paragraph of David Seymour's opinion piece quoted by Lyndsay above:

"Being of Ngāpuhi descent myself....."

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the Maori seats could be a reasonable election point - especially if they have a credible maori candidate in the top 3 of their list.

yeah but do the electoral maths: redistributing the Maori seats back as general electorates will give them all to Labour.
You'd need to drop the threshold to say 3% to make sure the Christians got in but MANA didn't, and even so that would guarantee NZ First representation for the future.

More to the point: should ACT withdraw confidence over the Maori seats? really? That means forcing Key to choose between ACT and the Maori Party? After the next election, National will quite likely need all the parties it can get: ACT, Maori, Winston First, and the Christians if they get let in. Dictating coalition partners to National is beyond stupid.

What ACT needs is something like 2-4 headline policies, plus the euthanasia social policy. I guess Charter Schools has to be one of those policies, so that leaves space for 1-3 more policies ACT can campaign on. I'd make it just one more economic policy, and that policy should be 1% for 1% --- about the only policy I can think of that gives responsible high-value kiwis a sterling reason not only to have one electorate ACT MP, but to party vote ACT as well.

Eric said...

ACT needs quality candidates high on it's List. It has had quality candidates in the past, it can do so again. Until then, voters have no real reason to look earnestly beyond the status quo.