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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Beyond Left and Right?

This article has already created a bit of a stir on David Farrar's Kiwi Blog

From today's Sunday Star Times

Act leader Rodney Hide says the right-wing party would go into coalition with Labour if it supported significant tax cuts.

Act, whose more natural bedfellow is National, is being repositioned by Hide as he attempts to drag it up in the polls, where it sits around 2%. That means considering a coalition with its traditional foe.

Hide and Act MP Heather Roy returned last week from a two week trip to Europe where they met leaders of the Irish Progressive Democrats and Germany's Free Democrats. The self-funded trip has given Hide - who is reinventing his bovver-boy image by shedding more than 30kg and becoming a fitness fanatic - a new strategy for Act.

The Free Democrats - who, like Act, are the small free market party in a MMP environment - have swung between major political parties on the basis of policy concessions. This has largely kept them in government, although they are currently in opposition.

Last week Hide took a swing at National's leader Don Brash's dampening down of tax cut expectations, saying it was clear the party had "adopted Labour's position and is offering no real alternatives to New Zealanders".

He said "historically the Labour Party has been the one (to cut taxes)... and I look forward to discussing that with Labour and National".

Hide said he would negotiate with "one or two" bottom lines, the main one being tax cuts.

"Nothing would give me more pleasure than supporting a Labour party with good economic policy," he said. "Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have made it plain they are ideologically opposed to tax cuts, and I think that's a shame. A lot of people in the Labour Party recognise what a difference tax cuts would make to working New Zealanders."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you would sup with the devil on must needs use a long spoon.

No wonder ACT is haemorrhaging its few remaining supporters at an alarming rate since the last election.

As an long-time ACT man, that's probably about the last straw for me. Say what you like about Brash & Co, they'd NEVER get in bed with Liarbour.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right, they wouldn't. Even in 1984 when Roger Douglas pushed for tax cuts and privatisation, Muldoon thought it was a terrible idea.

Should Labour return to these policies, I would be more than happy for Act to support them.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

The sad reality is anon, that despite several overtures, the Nats have been unwilling to enter into any kind of pre-election coalition agreement.

I can understand that tactically they want to stay in the centre to pinch votes off Labour. I don't blame them. I am just stating a reality.

ACT, in order to get it's liberal economic and social policies implemented can no longer afford to be exclusively aligned with National.

I can't see a lot of hope for a Labour ACT deal under Clark or Maharey, but I possibly could under Goff.

If Labour threw up a "liberal" leader like the ALP's Latham, I could see all sorts of interesting possibilities.

I doubt that anybody would doubt my near instintive anti-Labourism, but if I had to vote for a supply agreement with Labour in order to get substantial tax cuts or school choice I would do so.

The "right wing Nat" vote: while very welcome (and lifesaving in Epsom) is not enough to ensure ACT's growth.

We must forge more of a constituency of our own. We are serious about implementing our policies.

This new approach is not about changing our policies or principles.

It is about gaining more bargaining power to enable us to implement the policies that will benefit all New Zealanders.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Surely you don't believe that supporting Labour if they offered tax cuts is a good idea politically Trevor?

10:37 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

I would personally far rather support National, Aaron.

However ACT must survive in order to implement its policies and while the National voters of Epsom have shown tremendous goodwill towards ACT, the same, unfortunately cannot be said for the National hierarchy.

It would also of course depend on how big and how wide the tax cuts were. If Labour policies were no worse than they are now and the tax cuts were substantial, I think the voters would be getting a good deal if ACT supported Labour.

National is clearly "moving to the left" to minimise the percieved difference between themselves and Labour and that is under Don Brash.

How much difference would there be, between a National led by John Key and a Labour led by Phil Goff?

It is no secret that ACT would like to work with a Brash led government, so keeping the current leadership would help.

If you dump Brash and Labour is prepared to adopt our tax policies and maybe school choice, what do you think ACT would do?

I think the voters can rest assured that ACT will drive a far harder bargain than Winston or Peter Dunne.

3:40 AM  

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