Recently Jamie Whyte and Russel Norman debated climate change and, in terms of their overall election strategies, they both won. Russel looked responsible, capable, and even ministerial, while Whyte appealed to a small minority of New Zealanders. And as usual, there was scoffing by many on the Left. This is a dangerous mistake.
People seem to misunderstand Whyte’s purpose in this election. ACT’s strategy is for David Seymour to win Epsom and for Whyte to garner as much support as he can nationwide. It doesn’t matter if 80% of kiwis think Whyte is insane and wouldn’t vote for him. If ACT win Epsom and get two or three per cent of the vote, then ACT is back with a couple of MPs, and National has a much easier time forming a government.
The problem for the Left is that we are all talking about Whyte instead of David Seymour. Everything depends on Seymour winning Epsom. If Seymour fails, Whyte’s efforts have been for nothing. We need to stop debating Whyte’s positions, except when doing is harming Seymour. To debate Whyte’s positions otherwise is letting him lead the debate and giving him profile. When we give him profile, it increases his ability to appeal to the 2-4% of voters that ACT needs.
We need to remind people (especially in Epsom) that ACT is all about cups of tea, stealing the identities of dead babies, marrying cousins, factional backstabbing, and $50,000 deals with Kim Dotcom.
Serious effort is needed to defeat Seymour and ACT. The party is well funded and well staffed with capable people in Epsom, and are already working to introduce Seymour to the electorate. Defeating them will be no easy task, but it is achievable.
There are two sides of the equation for ending ACT. Firstly, the Left needs to turn out in force and vote for National. Last time Paul Goldsmith came within 2,261 votes of winning Epsom and ending the farce that is ACT. Unfortunately, Green candidate David Hay received 2,160 votes, and Labour’s David Parker received 3,751.
Secondly, we need to dampen turnout for the Right, or get it to vote National. If you know people that live in Epsom who support the National government, you have a range of approaches.
1- Complacency: “It’s a forgone conclusion. Don’t bother voting.”
2- Integrity: “All these cups of teas are ridiculous. People need to vote for the party they like and stop all this mucking around.”
3- Indignation: “Epsom deserves better than ACT. I’m sick of all this nonsense about ties to Dotcom and stealing dead babies identities.”
4- Disillusionment: “ACT are a spent force. This Whyte guy is talking about marrying cousins and legalising heroin.”
Much depends on the efforts of left operatives in Epsom. Fortunately, there are committed people up there. One of the more active is Curwen Ares Rolinson, the leader of New Zealand First Youth (yes, that is a thing). If you are active on political social media, you have almost certainly encountered Curwen. Whatever you might think of him or his style, there is no doubting his commitment. MANA also has Pat O’Dea, who was involved in the now defunct Residents Action Movement. These guys, as well as the major left parties, will need all the volunteers they can get between now and the election.
So let’s forget about the ACT leader. Ending ACT is all about Epsom and David Seymour.