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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Where to Now for ACT?

If ever ACT has an opportunity to make changes, it is now.

Not only does the party have a relatively new leader and a caucus of only two, but the party's administrative hierarchy looks set for a major "changing of the guard."

After five years at the helm, president, Catherine Judd, is stepping down.

Vice president, Johnny Ormond's position is also up for election.

Five out of the seven regional ACT Board positions are up for election, as are four of the seven, deputy Board members.

The ACT on Campus presidency is also up for renewal as the very capable Mike Collins leaves university.

It's a very exciting to be involved in ACT right now, because the party is clearly in a state of flux.

A lot of ideas are floating around about the party's direction and members have been having considerable say in this.

To my mind, the key word is RELEVANCE.

How can we make our policies relevant to the voters? How can a tiny caucus be made relevant to the public, the media and other parties in parliament?

More importantly though. How can ACT become more relevant to the new members and the lapsed old members we wish to attract.

Most importantly of all. How do we organise ACT so that the party becomes more relevant to our existing members?

The first rule of retailing is "look after your existing customers first". If we can look after our existing members better, they will take care of the rest.


Blogger radar said...

You pose some important questions, Trevor, and I really have no idea how to answer them. The question of relevance in regard to the ACT Party has always been hovering overhead, now more than ever before.

It should be kept in mind that as fast as the National party rose after the Orewa speech, they can also fall back down. Who knows what direction they will go in in 2006? Will Brash stay or go? What impact will that have? There are so many variables to ponder. As the rise of the Nats shrunk ACT's support, it is relevant to consider the above.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For goodness sake don't let them promote John Ormond to President - he is not up to it.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

I think to start peple should make sure they stay members of ACT, my membership lapsed, terribly, since I left NZ, so I for one will be paying up what I can to enjoy my membership.

If the Nats go the way of the Tories in the UK, we might be very busy in 06. :) I just posted about them today.

To make the party continue successfully we must encourage those who are capable to step up and take a greater role in the future and help others out who might not be ready for greater things. One bad person in a leadership role could kill a movement or hold it back.

There is a lot to do, and we can't be sitting back doing nothing until somebody slips up. Full steam ahead I say.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Rob Good said...

I agree with PDM.... We need someone young and forward thinking to take the reigns. I think that ACT should drop the "liberal Party" advertising also. It confuses people. Low tax party, freedom party, prosperous party, anything but Liberal.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

PDM - Who said anything about "promoting" Ormond. The position should be filled by that of election, not a closed group selection. Shouldn't the members decide whether they want John Ormond or not? It seems to me that the current crop, who have always ruled ACT, should think about ceding governance of the party to the opposition. After all, it really isn't a democratic organisation until the other side wins.

Mind you, Ormond has probably had enough of the party anyway.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Aaron, whoever ACT's president is, they will be elected. I think you'll agree it is not what ACT stands for that is the problem, it is how we relate to voters and how we organise ourselves internally that need to be looked at. Our message is great, but how do we make the vehicle better? You're a hard critic of ACT, Aaron, but I welcome that as it will make us lift our game.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

I suspect Aaron was part of the Ormond bloc back when they were competing with the Judd bloc all those years ago.

There was a lot of shit thrown from both sides. I didn't bother to involve myself in it as Campus ACT president (and so didn't vote) despite people thinking was in the Judd camp.

I for one would like to see the party sort its shit out so that we don't lose people like Aaron again. Hell, he is more potent outside ACT then he ever was in the party.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Trevor/Clint - quite right, I was a strong supporter of JDO back in 2000-2001. The problem with ACT internal elections in the past is that they have been run under dodgy circumstances. IE, signing up hundreds of new members to vote for a presidential or regional board candidate, when the people have little or no affiliation with the ACT party, then making the membership lists with new members unavailable to the other side. To be fair, Rodney Hide will probably put a stop to the deliberate hindrance of factions. My assessment of Hide is that he is acutely aware of having all candidates for internal elections on a level playing field.

One of the reasons why I like the National Party delegate system is that signing up hundreds of new members to deliberately swing a result doesn't have the same effect. Delegates to conferences are elected by the wider membership depending on the local electorates membership numbers. Delegates tend to be people active in the party, who actually do the work, understand the requirements and processes and don't just vote "for the name they know". While one man-one vote sounds very democratic and something to aspire to, in a political party it can be counterproductive when people naturally gravitate towards a candidate who has a prominent name, but is a johnny-come-lately or lazy. The delegate system does help prevent this sort of stacking by at least making sure that the franchise goes to people who have a vested interest in the party's progress.

I recommend you get a copy of Barry Gustafson's "The first 50 years" history of the National Party - the rules and processes drawn up in place for National in the 1930s are a fascinating insight to the building of a political party.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

I will do that Aaron. The national Party has been NZ's most successful party, electorally. I've long thought there would be much to learn from National's organisation. ACT, with better systems will become a more potent force in my view,

4:41 PM  
Blogger Rebel Heart said...

meh. i'm out of ACT. Brian Nicolle is still the coolest though he should be an MP : D

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Act should act more like libertarians and less like militaristic yankee half-wit neo-cons. Then if the gnats come to power, hold them to ransom if they intend to "go where America goes".

10:52 PM  

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