The challenge (if anyone gives a toss) is to fit ACT’s name more aptly with its shabby image

Alf is fascinated by speculation that Don Brash might – or should – ride to the rescue of the ACT mob.

The speculation has been incorporated in a Herald account of David Garrett’s resignation from ACT in disgrace and the criticisms being heaped on Rodney Hide (and his judgment) after he acknowledged he supported Garrett as a candidate even after learning of details of his passport scam, including the use of a dead child’s identity.

Mind you, some of that criticism comes from the Labour side of the political divide and for that reason on any other occasion would be discounted.

But Labour leader Phil Goff said ACT and Mr Hide “are now thoroughly discredited” and should be removed from ministerial positions within the Government. The week’s incidents were likely to finish Act as a political force, he said.

Alf won’t lose much sleep if ACT is finished as a political force, although John Key and the party strategists might get a bit twitchy because Act’s demise would heighten our dependence on the Maori Party.

On the other hand, according to the speculation in the Herald, one of our better known Nats might throw his lot in with ACT.

An Act Party source believed Act required a “game changer” in the form of a credible high-profile new MP to ensure its survival.

While former National Party leader Don Brash’s name has come up in speculation, Mr Brash last night said it was highly unlikely he would stand for the party.

The only thing that gives a whiff of credibility to this conjecture, of course, is that Brash didn’t laugh it out of court.

By saying it was highly unlikely, he did not rule it out.

Alf can you tell you – before the speculators widen their net in a desperate bid to find a white knight to save ACT – that he is very comfortable with his job as a Nat MP and would never join a party led by a bloke who wears yellow jackets.

But Alf does have a thought for the ACT party strategists, as they brood over what to do.

Howz about a new name?

Let’s see.

They have a leader who fancies himself as a perk-buster.

But he used those perks to take his girlfriend with him on a bit of overseas jet-setting.

They have a leader who demanded we Nats come up with a cost benefit analysis to show what the emissions trade scheme would do.

But he didn’t see the need to come up with such an analysis for the Super City project he is driving.

When Greenie groucher Sue Kedgley quizzed him on the matter he was dismissive.

Green MP Sue Kedgley asked for an estimate of savings expected as a result of the merger.

Mr Hide said he couldn’t provide that, and the focus was on the smooth reform of Auckland governance. “It’s clear there is considerable potential for efficiencies as you remove duplication … I am confident we will have a structure that will be less costly, and transparent with increased accountability than what we’ve got now”.

The initial royal commission set up to investigate a merger had clearly stated there would be cost benefits, he said.

Oh, and then there’s ACT’s strong stance on law and order, its enthusiasm for the suppression of name suppression by the courts and its advocacy of the three-strikes policy.

And now we learn about David Garrett’s track record with keeping on the right side of the law.

ACT grew out of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers.

So – a new name.

Advocates of Cant and Trickery has a certain ring to it, according to Alf’s mates when he bounced the idea among them in the club last night.

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