Thanks to the antics of the ACT Party, Alf could not tuck into his breakfast this morning. He was deeply troubled.
More particularly, Alf lost interest in his breakfast thanks to the highlighting of a political consequence if the ACT Party was holding too few seats in Parliament
His appetite for bacon and eggs with a few slices of black pudding and fried bread was thoroughly ruined by Claire Trevett, writing in the Dom-Post about Rodney Hide and the political support he believes he still commands.
It seems Hide is saying he will not stand down as ACT leader and believes he still has the party’s support.
Mr Hide said yesterday he had not sought individual assurances of support from his MPs, but was confident he would not be rolled as a result of his handling of David Garrett or the ructions troubling his party in the past month, including damaging revelations following the demotion of former deputy leader Heather Roy.
Garrett – of course – is the bloke who resigned from the party in disgrace last week after revelations he lied to police and kept an assault conviction secret from the judge who let him off a charge of stealing a dead toddler’s identity for a passport.
Hide is saying he would stand down as leader if things got to the stage where he thought it would be better for the party that he was no longer there.
But things – presumably – have not reached that stage.
At least, not so far as Hide can discern.
This leads Alf to wonder if Hide can be likened to one of those ostriches that can’t see what’s happening around them because they have stuck their heads in the ground.
Former ACT MP Deborah Coddington is calling for him to stand down but he says no.
“At this stage no, I don’t accept that because I have the support of the party.”
Alf should be sublimely indifferent to what Hide does or what happens to him.
But it’s not as simple as that.
For starters, ACT needs Hide because it has its
five MPs four MPs in Parliament by virtue of his having won the Epsom seat.
If ACT dumps him, and he spits the dummy to look for perks somewhere else, how many ACT MPs are then likely to be returned to Parliament?
What happens in Epsom at the next election therefore becomes critical not only for ACT but also for a National Party looking for coalition support.
As he points out, without ACT, a National government would be “held hostage” by the Maori Party and Hone Harawira.
Yep. That’s the point where Alf suddenly felt ill and lost interest in his breakfast.
It’s all calculated to have him taking a hard look at the case for bringing back the first-past-the-post voting system.