It’s a bit of a bugger to see Don Brash flagging his interest in becoming a minister in the next goverment.
Or rather, he made public some data which suggest plenty of New Zealanders – around one in four – want him to be a minister.
This level of clamour to have Don become a minister is a bit of a bugger from Alf’s very personal point of view.
If coalition wheeling and dealing resulted in Don becoming a minister, then Alf’s prospects become that much diminished. There are only so many jobs to go around.
Don, of course, was among those who spoke to the Business New Zealand election conference in Wellington yesterday.
He referred to some polling carried out by ACT a few weeks ago which confirmed the party was still struggling at around 2 per cent support.
But according to a Stuff report, there was better news when people were asked wider questions.
Brash said their poll showed:
* 18 per cent backed a National/ACT/Maori Party Government
* 9 per cent supported a purely National and ACT Party Government
* 27 per cent said they wanted ACT involved in some way in the next Government
Oh, yes. And –
The poll had also found 25 per cent wanted him to be a member of the next Government, Brash said.
He conceded ACT was not polling well in the party vote, but said “we’re clearly hoping to change that over the next month”.
There was still a widespread misunderstanding about how MMP worked, he said.
“It’s surprising really. There are people that say, look, I don’t live in the electorate that Don Brash is standing in, therefore I can’t make a difference to that outcome. Of course the reality is that the only vote that matters is the party vote.”
This confusion presumably is an Auckland problem.
People in that region are not too bright, or they would live somewhere else.
More than that, it seems they are apt to become bewildered when given a challenge like working out how best to cast their MMP votes.
In the Tararua region we are blessed. The people on average are remarkably bright.
Moreover this is Holyoake country. This happy mix of history and congenital cleverness means National and Alf are strongly supported.
The bewilderment of Aucklanders has become critical for ACT because the polls suggest it is unlikely to break the five per cent threshold.
Its survival in Parliament accordingly relies on John Banks winning the Epsom seat.
That’s where the bewilderment of voters becomes a problem.
Brash today agreed it was ”quite right” that National’s Epsom candidate Paul Goldsmith had gone ahead of Banks in the electorate on some polls.
There was still a ”very large number of undecided votes” in Epsom, however.
”I think the voters of Epsom can understand the importance of ACT being part of the next Government, particularly as the polls close up.
“If National was polling 55 or 60, you might find the National voters saying well, we don’t need to vote for ACT, but as the National Party vote sinks … National voters will say we can gain insurance for a John Key-led Government by giving their electorate vote to John Banks in Epsom.”
As things stand, Alf stands to benefit from the bewilderment of Auckland voters.
It looks like they will send Goldsmith into Parliament, ACT will be the stuff of history and Alf’s ministerial prospects will be enhanced.
But if for whatever reason ACT does get back and Don is given a ministerial job, Alf would suggest something challenging like Women’s Affairs or Racing.