Act leader Jamie Whyte says Christine Rankin's entry into the
Epsom election contest will have no impact because her
Conservative party appeals to simple-minded voters, not
educated Epsom voters.
He thinks his party will hold the seat but says the worst
possible outcome would be if Act candidate David Seymour were
the only Act MP elected. That would be the end of the Act
Party and could be worse than if no Act MPs were elected.
"In a way that's the worst possible outcome," he said.
"It might be even better if David didn't get in and we could
If Mr Seymour did not get elected it would be curtains for
the party but if he got in and was alone for three years, and
wasn't leader "it might well be curtains, just a really slow
curtains and that would be painful."
When you were alone and just one person in Parliament, it was
almost impossible to sustain a party.
"David would be effectively an independent member for Epsom."
Dr Whyte made his comments in the latest of the Herald's Hot
Seat video interviews of party leaders by a panel including
NewstalkZB host Rachel Smalley and Herald columnists Fran
O'Sullivan and Toby Manhire.
Dr Whyte said that when the news broke that Christine Rankin
was standing in Epsom "poor David had a moment but he got
over it very rapidly".
Christine Rankin was a name people recognised "but I think
the more people discover, the less she will appeal".
People got the wrong idea about Epsom, thinking it was an
older electorate of "Remuera duchesses".
But it was a very young electorate and Mr Seymour had more
natural appeal to them.
Act shrank to just one MP at the last election - former
Auckland City Mayor and National Cabinet minister John Banks,
who assumed the leadership from Don Brash.
Prime Minister John Key has already give National Party
supporters in Epsom his blessing for them to vote for Mr
Dr Whyte said if the party did not get sufficient party votes
to elect him to Parliament, he would feel a strong urge to
offer his resignation.
He acknowledged in the interview that the electoral
accommodation with National weakened the party's bargaining
But he said it was already weakened because of the certainty
that Act would never support Labour in a confidence and