Act in won't-sell-your-assets clothing

Act in won't-sell-your-assets clothing

I’m thinking of launching the Technology Party. The key policy would be to improve laws, democracy, and the parliamentary process using modern-day wizardry. Or basically, to keep up with the times.

Because what we really need is a “public anger” app on our mobiles, linked directly to a large, ominous-sounding bell in Parliament. If enough people dislike something, they punch in the right keyword, and the bell goes dong. Democracy at its best.

Would this party be left or right, you ask? Pffft. The Technology Party has moved past these political leanings and the new way is “up”. Left and right is so 2005 – we fly above it. Like the Jetsons.

If you know anything about Colin Craig, the leader of the new political kids on the block, you’ll know he stands on the right.

But if it wasn’t for naming his party the “Conservative Party”, I’d say he’s trying to keep one foot safely in the centre.

His own views on things like abortion, or marriage being “between a man and a woman”, were kindly described as “traditionalist” by 3News (but might be better labelled “backward”).

But wait – actually, those are just Craig’s personal views. It has nothing to do with the party (he just, you know, leads it, and funds their every move). He doesn’t think discussion about those things is “beneficial”. And it probably wouldn’t be beneficial for Craig, because it would ruin the “play it safe” strategy he’s got going on.

Take the party’s policies, which are a list of political euphemisms and statements that no sane person, right or left, would ever disagree with. “You want your family to be safe”, “You want to worry less about money”, “You want happy families where parents are empowered to raise their children in a loving environment”.

Well, sure. But actually, what I really want is to know how they plan to get those things.

The Conservative Party, with its shiny, three-month-old new-ness, is certainly making the most of the honeymoon. Right-wingers scrambling for choice after Act spontaneously combusted (or just those who hate everything else on offer) have another option. And enough people are considering it for the Conservatives to feature in the polls.

But, really. It’s a right-wing party that’s polling at around 1 percent, led by a well-off white man. Could this be the reincarnation of Act? Well, almost. It’s Act in won’t-sell-your-assets clothing.

They’ve chosen a few things that rubbed the majority the wrong way – asset sales, the anti-smacking legislation, the Emissions Trading Scheme – and said “Hey look! We hate those things, too! We understand you!” and then slipped the odd far-right statement in there (like that New Zealand should return to a single voter role – sounds an awful lot like Don Brash’s “We are all New Zealanders” speech to me).

The Conservative Party says it will govern with anyone, right or left. But 1 percent beggars can’t be choosers, and despite opposing asset sales, it’s clear the party’s loyalty lies on the right.

So nod hello to the new Act. Because the newcomers are nothing new.

Briar Douglas blogs at

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