The ACT Party are running this ad in the New Zealand Herald (kudos to the Dom-Post, who simply refused to carry it).
Brash expands in a press release:
ACT New Zealand leader Don Brash says he’s proud of the content of his Party’s advertisement published in this morning’s New Zealand Herald.
The advertisement is headed “Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?” and itemises ways in which radical extremists have succeeded in imposing a separatist agenda on a long-suffering New Zealand.
“I have been warning of this creeping separatism for some time, as part of ACT’s One Law for All campaign,” says Dr Brash . . . it’s time this insidious cancer was diagnosed for what it is – a type of apartheid – and excised.
“Separatist militants have been trying it on. The fact that the Dominion Post, unlike the Herald, was too cowardly to run our ad shows how well those militants have been succeeding, not only in advancing their agenda but in closing down any debate on it.
“It’s time to tell them their game is up,” Dr Brash concludes.
There’s a lot I could say about this, but let’s just take it all as read and move onto the ad and the politics behind it. Firstly, this is a terrible ad – who gives another party’s logo a prominent place in their own campaign material? And the banner headline – ‘Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?’ – imitates the language of traditional advertising (‘Fed up with hidden bank fees?’, ‘Sick of cold medications that promise more than they deliver?’) without understanding how it works. They speak to the everyday frustrations of the consumer – people are fed up with hidden bank fees! They aren’t fed up with pandering to Maori separatists, because none of us every actually has to do this. It’s a fake problem invented by the ACT Party. That’s not to say advertising can’t sell solutions to fake problems, just that this isn’t the way to do it.
Secondly I think this marks the transition of ACT from a faux classical liberal party who flirted with race-baiting to attract red-neck votes, to a de-facto white supremacy party (albeit one with a fetish for some authoritarian Asian states). If you gave Kyle Chapman a hundred grand to run an ad campaign it’d look pretty much like this, although he wouldn’t be dumb enough to put the Maori Party’s branding on it.
Thirdly, I think this misreads the public mood. In Don Brash’s mind its always the summer of 2004, when he gave the Orewa speech and shot ahead in the polls (for a little while). But that was during an economic boom time – now people have more pressing concerns. If you polled the public on the biggest problems facing the country I doubt ‘Pandering to Maori radicals’ would make the top one hundred on very many lists.
In terms of real-politik it’s even more dangerous. One more step in this direction and the pressure will go on Key to rule ACT out as a coalition partner and run a strong campaign in Epsom