ACT will not be part of any coalition government this term. Good. ACT New Zealand needs to hit the reset button big time and it will be much easier to do that in opposition. They need to get back to their roots and be loud and proud as the Libertarian/Classical Liberal voice of New Zealand.
Their values are supposedly that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent freedoms and responsibilities; and, the proper purpose of government is to protect such freedoms and not to assumes such responsibilities. I’m not sure what percentage of New Zealanders would share those values, but I suspect it’s (a) not as many as it could or should be, but (b) a good deal more than 0.4%, (the share of the party vote ACT managed this time around).
Whilst the ACT website still seems to talk a good game from a small government/libertarian point of view, the reality of the last 9 years in coalition with National is that ACT has become National’s lap dog. A token bleat here and there to keep the libertarian flag flying but otherwise a neutered irrelevance.
The voters are smarter than they're given credit for. The folk in Epsom understand the MMP game and know that going along with the tea party connivance can result in an extra seat for the National led coalition, should it require it. Voters nationwide, however, are also smart, and know that a cuckolded coalition party isn’t going to achieve anything of note, and increasing their MPs from one to two or five will make no difference. I’m sure at least 10% of NZ voters share the core ACT principles and beliefs, and more could be educated about them, especially if there was a Ron Paul type buzz about the party or its leader. The setup of the last 9 years simply doesn’t encourage or inspire the sort of grassroots activism which will be needed to turn the party around.
I’m hoping David Seymour will see being out of government as a tremendous opportunity. I’d like to hear some barnstorming speeches espousing the principles of real liberty and prosperity. How about questioning the Central Banking system? Some ultra-radical proposals around welfare reform? Championing an overhaul of our self-defence laws? People will be attracted to someone who stands for something.