According to the Herald’s editorial today:
There will always be a constituency for the Act Party’s founding principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, small government and lower taxes.
And again in the conclusion:
At the last election, Act secured just 1.07 per cent of the vote. There is absolutely nothing to suggest it would do better next year. For some time, starting over with an alternative neo-liberal party under younger leadership has appeared to be the only viable response to Act’s many woes. The departure of Mr Banks underlines this.
It may take time for a new party to get off the ground. But there will be a constituency for its core philosophy and territory in the political spectrum for it to occupy, all because both of these substantial pluses were squandered by Act.
In the New Zealand Electoral Survey they ask people about their political beliefs. In question B7 of the 2011 survey they ask:
Generally, do you think it should be or should not be the government’s responsibility to provide or ensure:a) A job for everyone who wants oneb) Decent living standards for all old peoplec) Decent living standards for the unemployedd) Decent housing for those who can’t afford ite) Free health care for everyonef) Free education from pre – school through to tertiary and university
Another triumph for the moochers and looters! 3.5% of the survey want an ACT-style night-watchman state – less than the 5% threshold. (Actually fewer than this since this includes all the people who just wrote ‘Don’t know’ or simply didn’t answer this question. If you limit it to people who wrote ‘Shouldn’t’ or ‘Definitely shouldn’t’ you’re down to 1.4% of the sample).
Intriguingly, more of the 0/6 respondents voted for Labour than ACT (the vast majority voted National). Depressingly, many of the people in 1/6 and 2/6 columns are near or above retirement age and don’t think the government should do anything except fund superannuation and/or free health care.
Anyway, my point here is that even if you ‘rebrand’ ACT or build a new party and somehow get all the people who identify with its values to vote, and to vote for you, there’s still not enough support to get into Parliament without doing an electorate seat deal.