Don Brash, the man who forced Rodney Hide out of his job
as Act leader, approached him recently to urge him to return to
the party leadership and to run for Act in Epsom.
Dr Brash told the Herald that Mr Hide was not interested at
the time but the approach was made before current leader John
Banks announced he would step down in February and would not
stand at the 2014 election.
Mr Hide has been uncharacteristically silent on the issue,
refusing to rule himself out or say whether he is considering
Dr Brash said there was some irony in him trying to get Mr
Hide back into Act but said: "I didn't push him out in 2011
because I thought he was incompetent. But I thought his
reputation at that point was such that he was unlikely to be
able to hold Epsom and, if he didn't hold Epsom, Act was
Dr Brash said that while there were some negatives around Mr
Hide, there were some important positives.
"He is well known. He has got a profile. Yes, he blotted his
copybook taking his then girlfriend [now wife] on an
international trip. But, of course, that wasn't in breach of
the law and it wasn't even in breach of parliamentary rules.
"He has got the advantage of being a very good communicator.
He writes well. He speaks well and has an existing profile."
Act president John Boscawen said last night there had been
only one nomination so far, that of Jamie Whyte, who has
recently returned from Britain where he was a management
consultant for Oliver Wymann and the Boston Consulting Group.
He is also a former foreign currency trader and a former
philosophy lecturer at Cambridge University.
Dr Brash said that as National leader in 2005 he had tried to
persuade Mr Whyte to stand for National but he had not been
ready to come home.
Dr Brash believed that Act could and should be saved.
"There is no doubt about that. New Zealand needs a party
which believes in the market, believes in smaller government.
It is very hard to see the National Government reflecting
that view at the moment."
Act had achieved some useful policies, such as partnership
schools (also known as charter schools) and the Productivity
Commission. "I think there is a need for a party with those
views and can it be saved? I think the answer is yes but it
requires an able and charismatic leader."
He said the survival of Act would probably be affected if a
new liberal party was launched but he did not know if that
A bid for the seat has been ruled out by Mr Boscawen, former
president Catherine Isaac and former Auckland Central
candidate David Seymour.
- Audrey Young of the NZ Herald