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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

28th March 2008

Stephen Franks, Roger Douglas and the Gag Response

Posted by: Craig Young

Stephen FranksNational and ACT’s candidate selections have thrown up some surprises, some of dubious merit, in the case of the former.

In ACT’s case, Sir Roger Douglas, former Labour Finance Minister during the eighties, and ACT founder, has returned to the fold. I spoke to several ACT supporters of my accquaintance, and they all seemed to think that Douglas had the requisite gravitas to attract voters back to the fold, and at least, one gay ACT stalwart said, he wasn’t a fanatical populist conservative. Their reaction was less charitable toward Muriel Newman, one of the aforementioned fanatical populist conservatives, blamed for alienating centre-right social liberals from ACT, and neglecting her anti-welfare portfolio while “wasting too much time on fringe nutters like the male backlash shared parenting brigade.”  They didn’t have much time for her new website, the New Zealand Centre for Political Debate, and didn’t want her high on the list.

What effect will the Second Coming of Roger Douglas have on his party’s fortunes? It might siphon off hardcore New Right votes from National itself, although time has passed and Douglas’ policies may be seen as too extreme for the more triangulated consensus politics of the MMP era.

For some strange reason, National selected former ACT List MP and vehement populist homophobe and social conservative Stephen Franks for Wellington Central, instead of someone sensible and moderate. I know Franks is regarded as a blue-eyed boy by the Business Roundtable, apparently because of his work on business law for them, but his populist grandstanding and vitriolic outbursts may harm National’s prospects in heavily urban liberal Wellington, to say nothing of the rest of the country.

If John Key does want to be seen as New Zealand’s answer to current UK Conservative centrist leader David Cameron, then he needs to do something about the exodus of liberal Nats like the excellent, high-calibre Katherine Rich from his party, and cull drones like Bob Clarkson, Richard Worth and John Carter.

At least Labour is trying to regenerate its caucus and induct new talent, which is more than can be said for some of the Opposition’s recent candidate selection choices.  It remains to be seen whether Franks will prove a loose cannon, and whether the Opposition will wish he’d kept that masking tape gag from his ridiculous symbolic protest against the Electoral Finance Act last year on.


National Party

ACT New Zealand

Tags: Politics

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robert Michel // Mar 28, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

    Robert Michel

  • 2 Susan Kishner // Mar 28, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Nice writing style. I will come back to read more posts from you.

    Susan Kishner

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