ACT Party Making a Splash

David Seymour and the ACT party are currently grabbing the headlines with a new look, new policies and a meaty issue that resonates with the public: freedom of speech. This one issue has the potential to get the party over the 5% hurdle, because there is a significant bloc of voters out there, of whom I am one, who are looking for a free speech champion.

On Noted Graham Adams asks if a defence of free speech can boost David Seymour’s fortunes. 

[…] The issue of free speech will also likely keep him in the public gaze for some time given he has staked out a position as the principal antagonist to Green MP Golriz Ghahraman and Justice minister Andrew Little as they […] push for an expansion of our hate-speech laws.

[…] It’s a no-brainer for Seymour to stand up for free speech. Act has always been a party dedicated to keeping the long arm of the state out of our lives (and pockets) in a way that National often only pretends to be.

[…] by defending free speech, Seymour is not only distinguishing his party from parties on the left. He’s also distancing Act from National.

[…] National is completely hobbled on the issue of free speech. It can’t convincingly do much more than make well-meaning noises on the topic after having proposed and passed the Harmful Digital Communications Act in 2015 — with the unanimous (albeit reluctant) support of the Labour Party.

A headline in a newspaper describes ACT as the “anti-woke party”.
Stuff’s headline asked if headlines can be turned into votes. Zane Small on Newshub said that Simon Bridges had labelled David Seymour’s free speech proposals as “alluring”.

Over on The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury described the defence of freedom of speech by ACT as their using “the Jordan Peterson effect” in order to become politically relevant again.

I think that this one juicy issue has the potential to do for David Seymour what the Orewa speech did for Don Brash. It is a topic that inspires a strong reaction, and it is one that could carry the party over the 5% threshold at next year’s election.

David Seymour has to keep it coming and not flinch when the media tries to smear ACT. There is no such thing as bad publicity; just ask President Trump. The media by hating on him gave him millions of dollars worth of free coverage. Seymour would do well to take a leaf out of Trump’s playbook and keep the headlines coming.