ACT Party Seriously Out of Sync with NZ ‘Political Culture’

And John Armstrong says it as if it is a bad thing?

Media attacks on the ACT Party suggest to me that David Seymour is gaining some traction. I’ve heard Heather du Plessis Allen dismiss ACT’s recent rebranding exercise as a non-event, yet the media reported on it. Now John Armstrong is saying that ACT is out of step with the rest of New Zealand’s political class.

What Armstrong pretends he does not realise, is that a small party has to have a point of difference, or no one will vote for it at all. When it comes to freedom of speech and also the euthanasia debate, Seymour is striking a nerve and, clearly, John Armstrong doesn’t like it. 

However, it is going to take a lot more than yet another redesign of the party’s logo to breathe fresh life into an outfit which captured less than 1 per cent of the overall party vote at the last general election and which on current opinion poll ratings has yet to give any cause for optimism that it will do better at next year’s contest.

But maybe the fact that Newshub’s poll showed that the majority of people are concerned about a loss of free speech will do it for ACT, eh John?

If the party is ever going to shift out of intensive care and into the recovery ward, it needs to undertake a top-to-bottom review of its driving ideology.
The party is seriously out of sync with New Zealand’s political culture. Despite being slaughtered at the ballot box time and time again, ACT party still expects everyone else to adapt to its vision of how the world ought to be.

Well, ACT is still there, John, unlike United Future, the Maori Party, Mana, the Internet Party, the Alliance, the Progressive Party and the Conservative Party; so maybe enough people have adopted their vision to keep them alive thus far at least.

ACT is completely out of touch. Look no further than the party’s unrelenting advocacy of a flat tax. If there is one thing which really worries New Zealanders, it is the growing gap between the rich and the poor. ACT’s answer is for the rich to pay even less tax than they do now. Little wonder the party cannot seem to connect with the electorate.

A flat tax is ACT core policy; it dates back to the days of Roger Douglas. John obviously buys into the mantra about forcing the ‘rich’ to pay more tax, completely forgetting that large swathes of the ‘poor’ pay no tax at all.

Seymour deserves some credit for drawing together the party’s policies under a common theme of promoting freedom.

This only succeeds in bringing to mind deck chairs and Titanics, however.

This is an angry little piece by John Armstrong who, seeing himself as part of the socialist elite, has no fear of losing freedoms himself; but he is damned if the ordinary man in the street is going to have them. All thinking people should at least consider Seymour’s position on free speech. Armstrong is clearly not a thinking man.

The brute reality of ACT’s predicament is that the party has long been propping up the bar at the Last Chance Saloon. Time is about to be called, however.

Along with all of the climate change zealots, Armstrong claims to know what is going to happen in the future – specifically at the next election. I must check my Lotto numbers with John.

Having failed to transform his party, Seymour is transforming himself.
He is seeking to tap into the mountain of moral conservatism in the New Zealand electorate.
He is sounding more and more the populist, if still a highly unlikely one. He is no Winston Peters — and never will be of that calibre.

Some of us don’t rate Peters particularly highly, except to say that he is a survivor. To say that David Seymour is ‘no Winston Peters’ is no insult to Seymour, even though it is meant to be.

Take Seymour’s flagging of his intention to derail Labour’s fast-tracking of an assessment of whether a law specifically banning “hate speech” ought be added to the statute books.

Seymour would never admit, but the stance he is taking is designed to gain him kudos with those of an anti-Islamist bent and who bristle at the prospect of New Zealand laws being written — in their misguided view — by and for an alien minority.

Seymour can be accused of racism. But it is hard to make such a charge stick. ACT’s leader can respond by saying he is only doing what ACT has always done, namely fighting against attempts to curb free speech.

When in doubt, pull the race card. Seymour is not being racist. Freedom of speech is, again, a core ACT policy.

Likewise take Seymour’s call for the abolition of the Human Rights Commission as a further example of how he is trying to connect with less enlightened voters.

He is targeting those voters who fume at what they regard as political correctness.


Which is why I like him…and which is also why, contrary to John Armstrong’s blinkered opinion, more and more people are sitting up and taking notice of ACT. Many of us are sick to death of political correctness. It is a cancer in our society.

John rambles on and on in his article, but to me, one thing is clear. The media is getting worried about the ACT party. Instead of ignoring it, as they have done up to now, they have chosen to denigrate it. But never forget the old adage – it doesn’t matter what they are saying about you, so long as they are talking about you. And the media is talking about ACT right now.

This article saddens me for another, very important reason though. When journalists rally against politicians who are in favour of free speech, your society is in trouble. John Armstrong might well want to think about that. After all, although he clearly doesn’t realise it, his own freedoms are under threat too.