Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ACT the massive rebuild.

There is about 4,134,200 people living in New Zealand. About 1 million of those people are too young to vote or infirmed, so that leaves us with about 3,100,000 people who are able to vote in NZ.

Lets remember that a lot of people simply don't vote, and I can remember my friend Daniel F King getting into a heated argument with someone when he told them that if they don't vote, they cant complain.... Daniel had a very valid point...

In the last NZ election in 2005, 2,286,190 people voted in the General election which was 80.9 % of the voters out there.

Labour 935,319 41.1%
National 889,813 39.1%
NZ First 130,115 5.7%
Green 120,521 5.3%
United 60,860 2.7%
Maori 48,263 2.1%
ACT 34,469 1.5%
Progressive 26,441 1.2%
other 29,828 1.3%
informal 10,561

Therefore about 500,000- 700,000 people did not vote in the elections in 2005... Why?

ACT lost 5.6% support from the previous election (145,078 votes) and only got 2 MP's in. That is not a good thing... The "Other" Parties nearly got as much support as ACT did. Why? Rodney Hide won Epsom for the first time which was a good thing, but where did 110,000 party voters for ACT go? Did they think that National could get a majority, or did they not like the way the ACT party was leading? If Rodney was so bad then why did they vote him in>?

The answer more than likely has to do with some of these...

1. Other parties have pinched a few of ACT's good deas and managed to publicise them (well) as their own.

2. The big money of 2002 and before possibly dried up.

3. There seemed to be internal arguments going on within ACT from the public's point of view.

4. The President and internal officials must not have been doing the right job.

5. A bit of flip flopping and teething problems were evident from the leadership change.

6. Roger Douglas kept opening his mouth at the most unopportune times.

7. Negative press made the party look like it was going to disappear.

8. Aaron Bhatnagar went to the National Party (I am being a bit funny with that one)

9. Rodney can't do everything himself.... He needs some really good thinktank people and support groups.

10. ACT stands for the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers.. Where on earth did the silly motto the "Liberal Party" come from.

11. ACT is regarded by the public as the Rich persons party. Most NZ'ers are not rich.

12. Fresh and valid policy needed to be put in front of NZ'ers.

13. The message was not getting out.

14. Maybe the message was getting out and people didn't like it?

There are a few ideas there of what may have been the cause for the loss of support for ACT.

Now the NZ public are very aware of Rodney Hide now thanks to Dancing with the Stars... Most of the public seem to like him, and he certainly showed the average voter that he has the balls to do something that scares him... He has tenacity and does get things done.

I would think that now is a great time for ACT to get into the grass roots level and capture support for the party while Rodney is fresh in their minds.

How do they do this?

For one I would suggest getting the ACT website totally redone, making it more patriotic and appealing to the common voter. Mellow out the colors, change the photographs, and get rid of the Liberal blurb. It takes money to do but as the leader of ACT if I had to pay for it myself I would. The website is ghastly. Not a good way of swaying the curious Georges that decided to search ACT over the internet when it was thrust upon them Samba style.

Is the blog (as much as I like it) really a good thing for the Leader of ACT and MP of Epsom to be spending his time on? Maybe he needs to have a guest poster that publishes his diary and blog in a more professional level allowing time to do other things?

Get key people together and make goals for the party. It should be possible to get 15% of the party vote if ACT gets it's A into G. Come up with good new policy and stick to it. Make it known that certain policies that other parties are floating are ACT policies and get the power back.

Recruit some high profile people to commit to running for electorates now. Train these people up in the ACT policy and get the support back. ACT should target at least 3 to 5 swing seats plus Epsom which Rodney should win again if it doesn't look like the party will crumble away, and aim to win them by getting the candidate ready and working them now. It is possible, but the party, leaders and members need to believe it too.

Build a big team have them on the same page and as John Banks once said " Treat every day like you are working your election campaign."

Get the publicity for the right reasons, don't knit pick at things that are more on a personal level. Earn the countries trust, and show the NZ that ACT has the ability and the knowledge to effectively and correctly play a crucial part in the next NZ government.

There is more to say and do, but that is my 2 cents for now. What is your opinion, how does ACT claim back and earn more votes than the 2002 election?


Aaron Bhatnagar said...

This is singlehandedly the most coherent and intelligent thing I have read on the internet about ACT from an ACT perspective since the last election.

andrewfalloon said...

Good assessment Rog, glad to see that many of the things that are currently happening within the party are what the members are also wanting.

While there are obviously a number of things I cannot speak on, I can say that the candidate register has been opened for the next election. This will enable us to train prospective candidates up to a higher standard and also create stronger electorates by getting a number of people competing for places.

You may have noticed (as I have) that recently Rodney and ACT have not been engaging so much in personality and attack politics. ACT is a party of ideas, with only two MPs we simply don't have the time for this anymore.

I'ma big fan of Rodney's blog, as you probably know he can do it all via mobile so I don't see it as a problem. If he's only posting 2-3 times a day then it's probably only taking up ten minutes of his time, before he goes to bed, while he's sitting in a cab etc etc. It seems to be quite popular and probably does more for him than the majority of press releases some small parties put out.

If you have some ideas for our website send Gavin an email, he's always keen to hear ways it can be updated. And if you can help out with it that's even better, he's a pretty busy guy now that we have so few staff!! :)

As for policy and our message, like I said I can't really say too much on that, other than we have a number of things being worked through at Board level.

andrewfalloon said...

Heh, whoops, I meant Rob :)

And when I said-
"ACT is a party of ideas, with only two MPs we simply don't have the time for this anymore."

I meant that we don't have time for attack politics, we have to stick to our ideas.

I should really read things before I publish :)

Dobegoo said...

Very good comments. How come you are not working for the ACT party in NZ? You would make a good right hand man for Rodney.
We may go to the Act PArty conference on July 30th.

Rob Good said...

Good one Andrew. I am happy to hear that you are working on some of the issues. I'd be happy to assist with the web site. If you'd like to e-mail me Gavin's email address I will be in contact... Who approves the changes, is it the board, or Rodney or both?

Anonymous said...

Robert, A very detailed commentary on what may or may not be wrong with the Act party. Perception is everything. My perception is my reality, just as is yours.

The overriding perception of Rodney at the moment is that he will drop the ball at the most inopportune moment, just as he did with his dancing.

Why, why did he take on Epsom head on only to lose the bigger competition. battles are easily won, but wars take absolute concerted team effort. Forget the individuality and show a united front.

TonyC said...

Very well-written, Rob. I believe some voters who went elsewhere would've been heavily influenced by Don Brash and his Orewa speech. I know ACT has basically been saying a very similar message, but somehow Don struck a chord which had a significant impact on even Labour's strategies. Anyone who wanted Labour out would've tried doing the numbers and voted National.

In saying that, NOW, Rodney can regain much of the attention lost by simply sticking with the basics, raising issues dear to the average Kiwi's hearts (but never seemingly brought up), and yet being fair (real people hate nitpicker or shit-stirrer politicians -- but no survey has ever been done on that!).

Rodney could start with fair sentencing. The mechanisms exist for longer sentences yet judges insult the dignity of victims and their families by practically siding with the criminal. There are currently heaps of cases in the news.

One thing to note: I never knew of #10, that it stood for Asso. of Consumers and Taxpayers. Gees, stress THAT! It's so self-explanatory it needs far less marketing.

By the way, Don may have really put the focus back on National during election, but the thing is, having been caught out twice (this is how it is perceived by the populace), what progress he had achieved for National just got eroded. People wonder if they can actually trust him. That puts him back to square 1 with the voting public. Public trust is everything -- check the Reader's Digest Trust Survey.

Andrew said...

Good article Rob. The 500-700,000 who didn't vote are best forgotten about, because they are probably the lazy ones who would vote left anyway. Like they say, wet weather on election day is good for the right because the left stay home.

ACT seems to have collected some negative press about small things over the years. I still think the best way forward is to recruit business luminaries and young entrepreneurs and get a new leader like John Banks. Make it unashameably the party that makes people rich. Instead of trying to win over the whole voting public like National, they should target 15% and forget about pleasing the rest.

Rob Good said...

Good comment Tony. I am not sure that teh public would instantly vote and trust a political party that just had a leader change. That is why possibly the turnout in 05 was rather slack. I would have liked to see John Banks run for Tamaki for ACT and win the seat. Who ever quashed that move was not thinking for the party. I don't think that opportunity will happen again.

I like what you have to say about business luminaries and entrepreneurs, but ACT has to be careful not to continue to be branded as the rich peoples party. Maybe a new slogan could be.... ACT" Work hard and get rich" bit tacky but that may appeal to more people than "Liberal Party"
Tony... Sentencing is something that will appeal to most all New Zealanders, along with a not over the top reduction in taxes for all. Maybe dropping the GST back to 10% would be a start and a good one. Everyone would benefit.

Anonymous said...

Here's three things:

1. run hard on a few issues. Don't be all things to all people. Let National do that. By sticking to three or four policies as the core focus, ACT can concentrate on shifting those National voters who are on the right of the party.

2. Find the top 10 list candidates now. Put them in your best seats, and get them working now. Reward the best performing candidates in building organisation with high list rankings that give them a chance of becoming an MP. Get this authorised at the next conference since it might be controversial.

3. Forget the perkbusting shit and silly stuff like complaining about Army newsletters that have a horoscope. That has never won a single vote. It might even be scaring potential voters away since no-one likes a snitch or a whinger. While Rodney loves to be in the public eye, sometimes its better to keep your mouth shut. Pick and choose the times you want to be heard instead of trying to jump around being noticed and being treated with suspicion for it. Again, find a few issues, and run hard on them. Bring media events and current affairs stories to these three policies if they fit.

Warren Warrender said...


I just feel ACT's had it. There is not the radical edge they had in the late '90s. Back then they were fresh but now they have no palpable point of difference. A number of activists have moved to National and people think of National, not ACT, when it comes to low tax, treaty issues etc.

Earlier this year I said ACT needs to re-brand itself. So far it has failed to do this and I have seen no change. The average punter on the street does not relate to ACT - who, to my mind, is a more intellectual party than National - and therein lies the problem.

I agree to disagree with you but note your points. I also feel it impossible ACT will get 5 electorate seats at the next election - if any election.

Like so many others, I am over ACT.

Rob Good said...

Well Warren, if ACT gets it's radical edge back, and re brands the party for the better with strong candidates and new policy that makes sence, will you vote for ACT at the next election?

Warren Warrender said...

Hi Rob,

I would love to say yes to that but the truth is no.

Unless National goes on some liberal bender and rejects the conservative support base then I certainly might.
That would mean National supporting gay adoptions etc, subjugated prison sentences etc.
If National mirrored Labour and its rainbow brigade and ACT stood for conservative Judeo-Christian values I might...

A hard one bur I just dont feel I could go back to ACT.....all the same I want to see it succeed.

Heine said...

Good points indeed Rob. I agree.

You got to assume the average voter is stupid, and keep it simple. Voters are confused about ACT because they don't know what we stand for all the time. Sometimes we perkbust, other times we will announce we are the liberal party.

If we keep a simple, honest message consistant, and differentiate ourselves from National in a constructive way, I see us making more progress in 08.

Rob Good said...

That would be nice. I am waiting to see change at this stage.

tink said...

"I am waiting to see change at this stage."

If every body waited, how much change would there be?

Rob Good said...

I have offered my assistance.... I am waiting to see how the new president and vp work. It takes time to implement changes and I am patiently waiting to see them happen.