Another day, another raft of New Zealand Herald columns, news stories and editorials about the ACT party. The editorial is happy to see Richard Prebble running the campaign but isn’t sure about flat tax. Fran O’Sullivan loves Prebble and ACT’s ideas about superannuation (Prebble is pictured in a field of daisies playing with a dog.) Earlier this week we had an approving story by political editor Audrey Young based on Jamie Whyte’s thoughts on superannuation. Young also ran a story the same day on Prebble and his flat tax. The day before that: another story about Prebble. And on it goes. Search the Herald site for Jamie Whyte and you’ll find dozens of glowing interviews, editorials, features and columns about the new leader of the ACT Party. At this point in the election they’re easily receiving as much coverage as National and Labour.
Which is weird because this is a really, really, really tiny party. They only recieved 23,889 votes in the 2011 election. Fewer than the Mana Party. WAY fewer than the Maori Party. Less than a 10th of the support of the Green Party. In the only by-election we’ve had since then they were beaten by the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (Where are their editorials and columns and soft interviews?). According to my aggregated poll results ACT are on about 0.4% at the moment which, based on 2011 turnout, suggests they’ll get less than 10,000 people voting for them in the election.
ACT aren’t totally irrelevant, since National will give them an electorate and they’ll get to be in government. But this party is approximately as popular and significant as United Future. Who is their campaign manager? What are their new policies? We don’t know because, frankly, it doesn’t really matter because United Future aren’t a real political party. Neither is ACT but because a bunch of activists for this microscopically small party WAY out on the lunatic fringe happen to be senior staff at a major newspaper we have to hear all about it.