Guest Post: Act Deputy leader Beth Houlbrooke

Act Deputy leader Beth Houlbrooke

Like many of my era who joined ACT, it started in 1984, the first time I was eligible to vote, aged 20.? I took my vote seriously and read the party manifestos.? I settled on Bob Jones? New Zealand Party, attracted by talk of flat taxes, individual liberty, and economic freedom.? I was working on one of Muldoon?s Thing Big projects ? the Marsden Point Oil Refinery Expansion ? and saw first-hand what union disruption, high national debt, high inflation, and high interest rates, were doing to the country and our future.

You all know what happened after that.

I voted for Labour in 1987 as I?d by then become a fan of Rogernomics.? That was a period of massive change and improvement in my quality of life.? And by then I?d married a farmer!? My local farming community generally agreed subsidies had to end if farming was to compete sustainably on the world market.? And we now could buy ?luxury? goods like TVs, stereos and microwaves affordably, without having to wait for a family member to go overseas and pick one up for us duty-free on their return.

After the Labour Government under Lange and Douglas unravelled in 1989, the 1990 and 1993 elections came and I became a National voter.? Not long later, I started to hear of a new party being formed by Roger Douglas.? In those days there would be a half-page ad in the NZ Herald that you cut out and sent away to get on the mailing list.? I started receiving their newsletters and purchasing their books.

I didn?t become active until my kids were in their early teens, but since 2009 I?ve volunteered, stood in Rodney in the 2011 and 2014 elections, spent a total of four years on the board, given the party administrative and event planning support, door-knocked half of Epsom with David, and attended nearly every member event in the Auckland area.? So my appointment as Deputy Leader and No. 2 on the ACT Party List was a natural progression, with strong support from the membership.

Over 20 years later I’m still with ACT, and the reasons I joined are the reasons I?ve stayed.? Only ACT occupies that piece of political real estate that is economically right-wing, yet socially liberal.? There is simply no other home for me.

**Readers can ask Beth questions in the comments. Please follow the rules so this can be a enjoyable experience for everyone.