Before you can paint well you must prepare the surface. The Coalition Government keeps stripping back bad policies ACT campaigned against, with the maddening Natural and Built Environments Act set to go this week, and 90-day trials to be extended to all businesses. Incoming National Governments usually keep what they campaigned against, what we are seeing is Real Change.
TIME TO GIVE THANKS
The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers has had its most successful year since its founding in 1994, and there are many people to thank.
Thanks to a cast of thousands of volunteers, donors, and candidates, ACT achieved its highest ever Party Vote, its most MPs, won a second general electorate the first time a third Party has done so in decades, has five Ministers in Government with a huge policy agenda, and a Deputy Prime Minister to come.
None of this was achieved by any one person. It is extraordinary how many people come together and work to make our democracy possible, often getting little recognition for it.
Parts of New Zealand looked like Mattel was carrying out a guerrilla marketing campaign with pink hoardings erected every few kilometres. These were all erected by volunteers, perhaps because practical people were so sick of living in cocoons of red tape. Ironically the authorities said a few of them ran afoul of some overzealous law or other. We thank all those who got out and painted New Zealand pink.
The left love to attack ACT as the Party of big money. It’s true, many wealthy and successful people do support ACT, even New Zealand’s richest man and some of its most prominent entrepreneurs have supported the party. Only in New Tallpoppyland is that a bad thing.
What they miss is that 13,000-plus people made a financial contribution to ACT since the last election. To put that in perspective, only 13,000 people gave ACT their Party Vote in 2017, let alone donated money. ACT is a movement of people power no matter how much the left deny it.
The funds allowed ACT to reach past the mainstream media and talk directly to voters with its largest ever campaign of public meetings and paid advertising. With the media more hostile than ever, they were essential to the Party’s success.
Tens of thousands of people came out to ACT’s many town hall and street corner meetings. None of them received a cent for their time, sometimes coming out in terrible conditions to hear from politicians directly. They showed that town hall democracy is alive and well. Despite the naysayers, we can talk to each other in a civil conversation.
Over 60 people put their hands up to be candidates for ACT. For most people, giving up privacy and anonymity to stand for office is terrifying. Most knew that they would never be elected, but did it to see the Party represented by a real person in their region.
Some were disappointed to miss out, but when their time comes the experience they’ve gained will be invaluable. Others were sitting MPs who missed out on re-election as new candidates rushed to stand for ACT. These folks remained loyal to ACT’s underlying purpose ahead of their own advancement, and we owe them thanks.
Without formally becoming candidates, tens of thousands became advocates for ACT. They heeded the call that word of mouth is the most powerful method of persuasion known to democracy, and persuaded their friends, family and colleagues to give ACT their Party Vote, their efforts deserve thanks.
We are in awe of David Seymour’s tenacity. Taking over ACT as a business in negative equity, he ground it out to ensure ACT’s dream of a freer society is now becoming reality. Even people who didn’t want to be free are benefitting. Against more hostility than ACT has faced for decades, and two other resurgent parties on the right, he delivered a record result.
We are most thankful for every single New Zealander, and especially Free Press readers who form the backbone of ACT’s support. For the 246,473 who trusted ACT with their Party Vote, the next three years will pay you back and then some.
Free Press will be taking a rest for the next few weeks, back with you when Parliament resumes at the end of January.