Free Press – 12/12/16

The Simplest Explanation
John Key’s retirement makes perfect sense for John Key.  Why sit around to experience your own political funeral when you’ve got a life to get on with? For all the speculation about the ‘real reason’ for Key’s resignation, the simplest explanation is usually the best: he had achieved what he wanted being Prime Minister for eight years, and with no further ambitions he decided to move on. David Seymour’s contribution to the snap parliamentary debate on Key’s resignation ishere.

Seismic Shift
As a politician, Key was a phenomenon. Helen Clark was a formidable politician too, but she never broke 42 per cent in the three elections that made her Prime Minister. Bill English is good but will be highly unlikely to break 45 per cent, meaning that the form of the next Government will turn on coalitions. There has never been a greater need and opportunity for ACT to succeed.

A Simple Formula
Approximately every 0.7 per cent of the nationwide party vote translates to a seat in Parliament.  Nobody is questioning that David Seymour will win Epsom, meaning that 0.7 per cent prevents his seat being an overhang. 1.4 per cent brings in two ACT MPs, 2.1 per cent three, 2.8 per cent four, 3.5 per cent five, and so on. Due to the so-called coat tail rule, ACT does not need to break five per cent to elect additional list MPs so long as it wins an electorate seat.

A Base for Doing Well
When ACT has done poorly (in 2005, 2011, and 2014) it has gone into election year with a new leader, sustained negative publicity of some kind, and an uncertain path back to Parliament. When ACT has succeeded (such as in 2002 with nine MPs and 2008 with five) the opposite three conditions have been in place: continuity of leadership, positive coverage of ACT, and confidence of being back in Parliament due to winning a seat or breaking five percent.  2017 has the base for being one of ACT’s good years.

A Base is Not Enough
ACT’s successes have come from the party proposing policies that the Government would not think of or have the support to do itself, but nonetheless can do with ACT’s pressure and support. Partnership Schools are a classic example. In this week’s tete-a-tete with Jacinda Ardern David Seymour outlines what ACT would bring to the table in education, housing, tax, superannuation, crime, welfare, and productivity growth.  A further interview on the role ACT will play in a future Government from Q+A this weekend is here.

Another Anti-Partnership School Bill Bites the Dust
ACT, National, United Future and the Maori Party voted down Labour’s latest political stunt bill designed to smear Partnership Schools last week. This is the third bill of its type Labour have had drawn and voted down this Parliamentary term. The sad thing is the outright lies and misinformation that the Opposition peddle about the schools, which David destroys in this reply speech to the bill.

Changing Kids’ Lives for the Better
The most important question for opponents of Partnership Schools is whether they are truly concerned that eight small schools will ultimately fail and close, or whether they are more likely to grow and multiply to become a major part of the education system that does not require union contracts?  Of course the latter is more likely as the schools continue to achieve outstanding results for their students even in their first few years.

Conference Reminder
ACT’s election year conference has the theme ‘Ideas that Work’, and will carry on the themes in the Sunday Star Times piece (linked earlier) with an outstanding line up of speakers. You can view the full program (and register) here, we hope to see you there.