ACT confirms list positions
ACT just confirmed in a press release their list positions, which are basically the same with everyone moving up one position to replace Deputy Leader John Boscawen after he released that he would not be standing on the list for election. ACT have been performing abysmally in the polls, rating at around 2%, which is far less than the 5% threshold that they need to get in. Despite Brash's attempt to cut a deal with National in exchange for not running a candidate in New Plymouth, the latest polls show that National voters are likely to ignore the messages sent by Key to offer their party vote to ACT in Epsom if National are likely to win a proportion of votes enough to govern alone. At present, Paul Goldsmith is more popular with voters than John Banks, who was positioned by ACT as a sure shot for that electorate. This may leave them without a list seat, even though Epsom voters are probably appreciating not being assailed regularly with the yellow suit and John Malkovich-styled Rodney masks. Despite all of his claims to bring an outstanding performance of ACT in this election by bringing them up to 15%, Brash has failed abysmally, and the much publicized ructions within the ACT Party, together with Brash's press announcement that he would decriminalize marijuana have left them thrashing like a fish without water in the polls.
The proposition that this could be the death knell for ACT in this election is apparent in the wording of their press release, which is light on the traditional approach of differentiating ACT from National through its emphasis on bringing National's centrists under control and heavy in praise for Key:
"John Key is a capable and respected leader, who has seen New Zealand through some very difficult times and is generally taking the country in the right direction. But the big issue in this election is the economy. New Zealand is facing the worst economic outlook since 1984. The Government needs to go further and faster and take some tough decisions to safeguard the country and put it onto a path to genuine prosperity. There are a lot of people out there who would like to see the government do that."
National voters indeed are much more interested in forming a coalition with the Greens rather than ACT, which is going to make the next four weeks an uphill battle for them. Whether ACT pulls through in Epsom is largely going to be dependent on National's generosity.