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Dec 29, 2006


Aaron Bhatnagar

I think there's a good deal of self-interest in the behaviour of the ACT bloggers. They see a chance to stir up discontent over John Key's recent comments on the environment and hope to pick up a couple of percentage points of voter support.

I'm not convinced that's going to happen anytime soon because
1) ACT is hardly a compelling alternative for centre-right conservative voters with its confusing messages of the last year
2) socially liberal voters that ACT claims to now want to appeal to probably like John Key
3) ACT is an organisational basket-case, probably deterring activist types
4) National's message on tax (which is the litmus test issue for most people) is hardly a leap to the centre, but instead indicates a Howard Lib/Nat style approach to progressive tax reduction over time.
5) ACT has to earn support for any long term purpose, rather than standing around hoping to pick up some stray points on the basis of short term discontent. I note this doesn't appear to be occurring anyway.


I think you will find that ACT support will increase during 2007. Act sympathisers who switched to follow Dr Brash are likely to switch back when Rodney Hide starts to present coherent policy and refocuses his energy on his party.

I think ACT will remain fiscally dry and will retain supporters based on that. I am not convinced it ever had any socially liberal voters. Would Key really appeal on that score?

I agree on the tax but the reality is that not enough people preferred the National tax cut offer anyway. Personally I think National need to look at four things
1. holding top personal rates
2. increasing threshold & reorganising so that the effective marginal rate is low,
3. massively increasing business investment allowances (ie get to 100% depreciation)
4. dropping the headline business rate as far as possible

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