Farrar on ACT/Labour "Agreement"

ACT’s decision to hold the door open to Labour carries risks and responsibilities.

David Farrar sums things up well on Kiwiblog

On the face of it, the agreement between Labour and ACT to talk to each other is just common sense and should have been happening for some time,

Labour will welcome it as they have to some degree lost control of the House agenda. Last week they ended up voting for several bills they opposed (including Rodney Hide’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill) because they did not want to be seen to be outvoted consistently.

It also allows ACT to be seen as a “player” rather than merely an Opposition party.

The key for ACT will be how they actually end up voting on issues. The centre is pretty crowded already. If, for example, ACT do end up voting for the bill about establishing a transtasman therapeutics drug agency, then I suspect there will be many upset people.

The strategy has some dangers also. Rodney is MP for Epsom, and this is one of the most pro-National seats in the country. They voted for Rodney in 2005 on strategic grounds. Now if Labour gets to pass unpopular legislation due to a deal with ACT, then lobby groups may target Epsom with flyers etc urging Rodney’s defeat.

So as I said, the agreement to co-operate is, on the surface, a sensible one to be lauded. But how it actually works once operating will determine the public reaction to it.


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