Alf agrees totally with the Herald’s John Armstrong, who has admonished Rodney Hide over his refusal to say why Heather Roy was given the heave as deputy leader.
Alf didn’t drop into the press conference where ACT announced nothing much more than what everybody seemed to know (he was busy dealing with a constituent’s problems with the bloody health system).
But he keenly watched Hide handle the baying media hounds on telly last night.
The information Hide volunteered, over and beyond the sparse details in his media statement , fell far short of what the taxpaying public is entitled to know, in circumstances that result in a Minister being replaced.
It was zero, plus zilch multiplied by zippo and it came to diddly-squat.
And it exposed Hide yet again as a bloke who preaches accountability but struggles to practice it.
What most obviously needs explaining is why Heather Roy was replaced as deputy leader by John Boscowen, so that ACT has finished up being led by two middle-aged bald blokes.
It’s all very well for them to say this was a caucus decision, and what is said in caucus must remain in caucus
The ACT caucus has just five MPs, and the decision obviously would not have been unanimous, unless Roy voted for her own demotion.
More likely Hide, Boscawen and David Garrett voted Roy out and Roy probably mustered the support of party founder and MP Sir Roger Douglas.
So it was three middle-aged blokes versus the rest.
So what’s going on?
As Armstrong tells us:
The press conference held at Parliament early this afternoon featuring Act leader Rodney Hide, the party’s new deputy leader, John Boscawen, and party president Michael Crozier was little short of a disgrace.
Act is the one party which bases its sales pitch on the notion of accountability. Not a skerrick of that concept was apparent during the 20 minutes or so that Rodney Hide and then Boscawen repeatedly refused to utter one word which might have added up to an explanation as to why Heather Roy had been dumped as the party’s deputy.
Voters – especially Act voters – deserve better.
Besides being bad publicity for Hide, his silence leaves things wide open for media hacks, bloggers and talkback callers to come up with a myriad of hair-brained theories to explain what has happened.
For immediate purposes, let’s go with Audrey Young’s version which looks thoroughly plausible.
Relations between former Act deputy Heather Roy and leader Rodney Hide had become so bad that she complained to Ministerial Services that he breached security when he took a piece of paper relating to her defence portfolio from her office.
Mr Hide repeatedly refused yesterday to reveal details about why the caucus voted her out of the job.
But the Herald understands the complaint was a recent occurrence and not only reflected the bad relationship between the two but precipitated her removal yesterday by the caucus.
All of this makes Act look like a right bunch of dipsticks.
Commenting on Crozier’s minimalist contribution to proceedings at the press conference as ACT’s party president, Armstrong says:
But at least his response was human – unlike the cynicism flowing from the automatons to his right.
Perhaps, as the person who is supposed to communicate and mediate between Act’s parliamentary wing and the wider party membership, he understood one thing that both Hide and Boscawen seemed to have forgotten: if you treat people like idiots, they tend to rapidly come to the same conclusion about you.
But Hide and his henchmen weren’t the only clowns at the press conference.
Alf eagerly promotes some of the hacks from the press gallery to clown status too.
When one of them can say he asked the same bloody question 20 or so times and got the same non-answer, you’ve got to wonder how long it takes for these people to latch on to the meaning of “I’m not saying any more.”