Rodney Hide’s former right hand man, Brian Nicolle wrote a very interesting piece in Saturday’s Dominion Post.”Contrary to popular opinion, a Holyoakean Helen Clark is well positioned for a fourth term as prime minister”, begins Brian.
Brian’s thesis is that Helen Clark will steer a very steady course, abandoning any thought of radical social legislation. “Expect some tax cuts to take the wind out of the opposition sails, and the implementation of some of National’s more centrist policies dressed up in Labour garb before the next polling day comes along.”
Brian’s main messages are for National and ACT:
“National has never understood the need for a centre-right strategy of some kind, or the need to reach out to potential partners to develop some common ground before the vote is counted.” In contrast, Helen Clark “has made it her business to become an expert in MMP, and in working across the spectrum with other political parties in order to achieve her political ends.”
“The only alternative to the current government is a strategy led by National, as the largest opposition party, for a centre-right plan that will target the urban Auckland vote in particular and provide a meaningful alternative for the large pockets of voters who, on balance and after careful consideration, just couldn’t bring themselves to support National at the last election.”
This could be a role for a revamped and streamlined ACT Party, positioning itself … to focus on the urban vote. Such a tack would require ACT to work equally with Labour as well as National – a sensible move, given that it appears that when a minor party works with only one of the major parties, it simply gets taken for granted.”
Much as I feel visceral revulsion at anything connected with Labour, I think Brian is probably right. If ACT is seen as “hard, uncaring right” National will never dare align with us for fear of alienating the middle vote. ACT has to reach people that National can’t, the urban liberal voter, the idealistic students, the people with a “social conscience” who are smart enough to know state socialism helps no-one. We have to sell the benefits of our liberal message to some of the “soft left” and the centre. What do you think?