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%
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?