Hide has the numbers, but not the dollars or the votes

Is really as simple as that. Rodney supporters on the board can doom their party to irrelevancy, or they can bring in someone who will win votes, bring in money and actually make a difference to New Zealand. It is hard to imagine Don ending up minister of local government, it is not exactly a weighty ministry of state. The ACT party president seems to want to commit his party to electoral oblivion. One suspects that the ACT party president may well be acting alone of in?the?minority if emails circulating amongst the members from?other?board members are an indication of the feeling out there.

Meanwhile my predictions of Rodney’s bunker pals running “Don Brash is an old man” lines has come to pass with Rodney Hide staffer Chris Diack commenting freely on Kiwiblog. Word via the tipline is that they wil keep up that line for a couple of days and then change to smears involving Don Brash’s personal life. It surprises me that Rodney Hide of all people wants to go down that path but if he plays those cards then he will reap what he sows.

Matthew Hooton presented a view on Radio Live with Andrew Patterson that was ok until he missed the obvious. Clearly Hooton is losing his touch. In his interview he mentioned and talked about the ACT President saying Don brash needs to be a member and then jump through all sorts of procedural hoops regarding advising caucus 7 days prior to any decision and frankly a whole lot of bureaucratic bumpf.

This is of?highly?ironic given that Rodney Hide has?relentlessly?banged on about regulatory responsibility and removing red-tape and when faced with a crisis in his party resorts to burdensome red-tape in an attempt to defeat the saving of his party.

Stephen Franks has also weighed into the debate:

Kiwiblog is from the same school.?His posts?show the responsibility that might be expected from?a?house organ of National .

To the?traditional tribal party member a challenge for leadership from outside a party will still seem bizarre, even from a person who embodies the party’s values.

I’m reminded of a formative early?legal engagement. In the mid 1980s I advised Richard Carter (who recently died as Sir Richard) on his extraordinary hostile takeover of AHI, to form what became Carter Holt Harvey Ltd. It was the boldest takeover in Australasia in its time. Against most of his professional advice, and to near universal puzzlement if not derision from the financial media, Richard insisted on launching (on market initially) a keenly priced bid for a company in which the majority of shares were held by a major Australian conglomerate which had publicly stated that its holding in AHI was not for sale.

Richard’s victory, after months of siege, was due to his disregard of the received wisdom, and his view that the internal compelling logic would prevail in the end.

Presumably Don Brash hears similar music. He is genuine when he says he regards Rodney as a friend. But he presumably sees little alternative, and the downside from trying is trivial compared with the stakes.

Rodney Hide likes to tell anyone who will listen how he masterfully saved ACT before and how he will do it again. But the simple?facts?falling out of this issue belie the simple unpalatable truth that neither the ACT board nor Rodney Hide seem to want to face. Rodney Hide can’t win Epsom.

The tipline received a very sensible anonymous email from someone who seems to have a good inside knowledge of the workings of ACT.

Rodney has been trying to get Don Brash into ACT for several months, on the grounds that Rodney?s entire career as leader has been based on leveraging other people to retain power. In 2005 it was Brash?s intervention that helped Rodney win Epsom and keep ACT in parliament.

Three years of undistinguished performance meant that in 2008 Rodney needed another saviour and found it in Sir Roger Douglas. Roger bought money and people back into the party, and with it the popularity that Rodney was unable achieve without Roger’s friends working the hustings for votes, and long time donors contributing again. No matter though that the people who left ACT in droves for a Don Brash led National Party didn’t flock?back?tot he leadership of Rodney Hide.

So as election time came around again Rodney has tried to find a saviour again. Someone that will cover over the fact that he is so unelectible even Keith Locke would have a chance against him in Epsom if National don?t tank their candidate like Don did in 2005.

ACT in sticking with Rodney Hide are going to be without money, and without votes and will cease to exist as a parliamentary force after the election. That is sad for the history of the party and sad for those who worked to get it across the line in the first instance. That will be Rodney Hide’s enduring legacy, not the SUper City, but rather the destruction of?the?ACT party.